We rated the nicknames so you don’t have to!
This is the Leadenhall Building, standing 225 metres tall in central London. The chief planning officer for the project saw a model of the building and told architect Richard Rogers (who designed the building) that he could “imagine his wife using it to grate parmesan cheese”.
We’re not sure that this is much of compliment but the name stuck and there’s no denying its wedge-shaped design looks quite like a kitchen tool.
Here’s a cheese grater in real-life:
Cheese grater factor: 7/10, like a mature cheddar
But wait, it’s not the only building that claims the title “cheese grater”.
The Charles Street car park in Sheffield city centre is also known as the cheese grater. Looks pretty jagged.
Cheese grater factor: 5/10
As is Australia’s SAHMRI building (short for South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute).
It looks like a giant alien spaceship but apparently the triangular metallic window bits “move to respond to sunlight, heat and wind”, while “maintaining views and daylight”.
Cheese grater factor: 5/10
Otherwise known as 30 St Mary Axe, it’s 180 metres tall and home to financial companies in the City of London.
Gherkin factor: We think it looks like a big futuristic pickled cucumber. Shame it’s not green. 8/10
"The Big Pants"
This is the China Central Television Building, aka the Big Pants. It was designed by famous architect Rem Koolhaas with Ole Scheeren. Arup met the engineering challenge of putting it together.
From this angle it does look like a big pair of trousers or pants, although quite a square pair.
Big pants factor: A saddle-sore 6/10
This is City Hall, where Mayor of London Boris Johnson works. It was designed by British architect Norman Foster and made real by engineers from Arup. It’s been described as looking like various things including Darth Vader’s helmet, a mis-shapen egg, a woodlouse and a motorcycle helmet. It’s often called “the armadillo” as well.
An armadillo is a South American mammal and its name is Spanish for “little armoured one”, which refers to the bony plates covering and protecting its back, head, legs and tail.
ARMADILLO FACT: Not all armadillos can curl themselves into a ball. More importantly though, does it look like a building?
Armadillo factor: 4/10. It has a hint of armadillo. We think it looks more like a Tunnock’s Tea Cake, which tastes nice with a cup of tea.
BUT WAIT! It’s not the only armadillo in the UK! The Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow is also known as the armadillo. It seems that Norman Foster is inspired by armadillos, as this building was designed by his company Foster + Partners.
Armadillo factor: 9/10
Aah, the Olympic Velodrome - the scene of Team GB’s seven cycling gold medal triumphs during the London 2012 Olympics. Glory days. It was designed so that there would be a great crowd atmosphere for cyclists all the way round the track.
It looks very much like a Pringle, the highly addictive potato and wheat-based crisp.
Pringle factor: 10/10. We popped and we couldn’t stop.
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Image credits: The Cheese Grater Building, Leadenhall by Martin Pettitt (Flick: Creative Commons), Cheese grater (Wikimedia Commons), Sheffield Cheesegrater by Duncan (Flickr: Creative Commons), SAHMRI building by Xaragmata (1) and Morganiseit (2) (Flickr: Creative Commons).
The Gherkin by Shemsu Hor (Flickr: Creative Commons), Gherkins and tomatoes by CBertel (Flickr: Creative Commons)
China Central Television HQ by Pete Watters (Flickr: Creative Commons), trousers by Nic (Flickr: Creative Commons)
City Hall London (Wikimedia Commons), Armadillo by Hunter Desportes (Flickr: Creative Commons), Tunnock by Phil Parker (Flickr: Creative Commons), Clyde Auditorium (Commons Wikimedia)
The Velodrome by Martin Pettitt (Flick: Creative Commons), Pringle white plate (Flickr: Creative Commons)