An army of tall buildings that have transformed London’s skyline over the past decade – from the Heron Tower, completed in 2011, to the Shard, which opened in 2012 near the former site of City A.M.’s very first offices, New Bridge House.
And there are many more to come in the next few years, with a total of 263 buildings over 20 storeys proposed, approved or under construction in Greater London. The vast majority of these (80 per cent) are residential-led schemes – another dramatic change on 10 years ago – fuelled by overseas investment in high-end homes.
While tall buildings have sprouted, public spaces have also been transformed at ground-level – from the new Olympic Park to the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square and the 67-acre regeneration of King’s Cross.
Change – particularly the unprecedented number of towers being added to London’s skyline – inevitably causes controversy. Only last week, the City’s Walkie Talkie – 20 Fenchurch Street – was declared the winner of the Carbuncle Cup, the unenviable annual award for Britain’s ugliest building.
It also raises the question as to how we choose which tall buildings are allowed to be built and where? What is their impact on the character of the city and are these vertical villages the solution to London’s housing crisis, when prices are often as lofty as the views they command?
With 263 buildings in the pipeline, it is important that these issues are addressed and balanced with the need to deliver economic growth.
1. HERON TOWER (110 BISHOPSGATE)
Completed in 2011, the 46-storey building has been unofficially renamed the Salesforce Tower, thanks to its biggest tenant
2. THE CHEESEGRATER (122 LEADENHALL STREET)
Standing at 47 storeys tall, the Leadenhall Building owes its distinctive tapering design to a protected view of St Paul's Cathedral.
3. THE WALKIE TALKIE (20 FENCHURCH STREET)
With an unusual top-heavy design, the Walkie Talkie is home to the Sky Garden, London’s “highest green space”. This year it was awarded the “Carbuncle Cup” - the award for the UK's ugliest building.
4. THE SHARD (32 LONDON BRIDGE STREET)
At 1,017ft, the Shard is Europe’s tallest tower. It hosts Al Jazeera and Tiffany&Co.