St Mary Axe

Tally Sticks & Trading Tokens
Improving air quality and creating pedestrian priority to afford a walkable City through public realm improvements.

The team at Realm were appointed by the City of London to develop a scheme of public realm improvements for the northern section of St Mary Axe. The proposals sought to balance the requirements of The City and the aspirations of the developer of 70 St Mary Axe, to introduce urban greening and pedestrian priority to a key route through the heart of the Eastern Cluster. The scheme will be a catalyst for future public realm improvements along the length of St Mary Axe.

The proposals take reference from the section of London Wall which traverses underneath the street, and items found during the excavation works such as 'Trading Tokens' of pressed circular pieces of leather which were used for monetary trades across the different City companies and were often redeemed in the 'new' influx of fashionable coffee houses in 16th/17th Century.
The proposals were also inspired by the historical tally sticks and stocks, which were carved sticks made from willow harvested from the banks of The Thames. They were used to record and sell debts, physically trading the willow ‘stock’ to signify transfer of shares. This gave rise to the current term of ‘stocks and shares’.
The site had a series of challenging conditions with existing subterranean services and utilities limiting in ground tree planting, so raised planters for small ornamental trees and biodiverse planting were proposed. The relatively shady microclimate informed the tree selection and planting species needed to withstand these conditions.
A new art installation by Elisa Artesero ‘You’ve Gone Touching Leaves in the Moonlight’ complements the public realm design concept, to introduce urban greening, safe, legible and accessible spaces to afford a tranquil corner within the City.

St Mary Axe, City of London


City of London


0.2 Hectares


Concept to Detailed Design.


Architect: Foggo Associates