The award-winning Swiss Re building is a dramatic addition to London's skyline. Some people hate it but most people admire it. The design was by Foster Associates and, as with much of the firm's work, the surrounding landscape was thought of much as a sculptor conceives a pedestal. The 'plaza' is scarcely a place. It is a plain expanse of slabs on which aluminum chairs and tables have been scattered to make a cafe. The microclimate is bad and the odd patches of reflected sunlight are disturbing, rather as though one were on a stage without an audience. A possible solution could be to extend the Guardian's metaphor and set the cafe a soft jungle of 'pubic planting': ferns, tall grasses, gentle flowers.
Tip of the "The Erotic Gherkin" (a nickname coined by the Guardian newspaper)
The desert below the Gherkin
Soft gentle planting (by Tom Stuart Smith at Chelsea 2006)