• 5th December 2018

London’s rapidly changing skyline

London could be described as fairly flat in comparison to other capital cities around the world.

According to the Skyscraper Centre, London is ranked joint 56th with Seattle for the number of buildings which are 150m+ tall. The UK’s capital has 18 buildings taller than 150m compared to Hong Kong with 353, Dubai with 189 and Tokyo with 147. This has historically been to preserve views of St Pauls Cathedral (once the tallest building in the world) from specific areas of the city.

This is all set to change with approximately 510 tall towers (20 stories or more) planned or due to be completed in the next 10 years.

Here are 7 new developments that have been completed or are due to be completed in the next 3 years.

1 Manhattan Loft Gardens

Location: Stratford
Height: 143m
Architect: SOM
Status: Completed 2018
Awards: Best feature building – LEAF Awards

The Manhattan Loft Gardens is a multi-use space that houses lost apartments, a designer hotel and 3 flourishing gardens. The 42-storey cantilevered building has 248 private flats, apartments, lofts and penthouses.

The Manhattan Loft Corporation’s CEO, Harry Handelsman, is passionate about loft living and believes Stratford is the right place for it. “I believe the future of London is high-rise living and what Manhattan Loft Corporation will do is introduce the concept of loft living in a 42-storey tower”.

The concept of loft living in a high-rise tower is successfully achieved by single and double height apartments connected with each other throughout the residential area of the building.


The Scalpel

Location: The Financial District
Height: 190m
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Status: Under construction, due 2018

The commercial skyscraper is located on Lime Street and has 38 floors. It is set to be the new European headquarters for insurance company W.R. Berkley who plan to use 25% of the 45,000 sqm of commercial space. Axis and BPL have also pre-leased office space in the building on levels 2, 3 and 12. The building slopes away from the street to protect views of St Pauls Cathedral from other areas of the capital.

One Blackfriars

Location: Bankside
Height: 163m
Architect: Simpson Haugh and Partners
Status: Under construction, due 2018
Awards: 2015 World Architecture Festival, Residential (future project) – Shortlisted, 2013 Bentley Be Inspired Award – Shortlisted

To follow the pattern of nick-naming buildings in the capital, One Blackfriars is informally known as the Vase because of its shape. Originally the building was planned to have 68 storeys and stand 225m tall. However, it was scaled down to 52 storeys after concerns on its impact on the rest of London.

The full complex includes a residential tower with leisure facilities, hotel, restaurants and shops across two smaller buildings around a new public plaza.


One Nine Elms

Location: Nine Elms
Height: 199m
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Status: Under construction, due 2019

Another mixed-use development designed by Kohn Pederson Fox is the One Nine Elms project. The 50 and 43 storey buildings are part of the Nine Elms regeneration project; largest of its kind in Europe. The project is set to transform 3km of London’s riverside into a highly sought after residential area. The completed project will house a 187 room luxury hotel, and create around 500 jobs.


The Spire

Location: West India Quay
Height: 236m
Architect: HOK
Status: Under construction, due 2020

The Spire is replacing the already demolished Hertsmere House and is set to be Europe’s tallest residential building when it is completed in 2020. The 67 storey skyscraper will have a whole floor dedicated to leisure activities for residents, including a gym, spa and cinema.

The design includes prow and bow shapes to honour the docks where it is set to be built, it is also based on the petals of an orchid, earning the nickname the flower tower.


22 Bishopsgate

Location: Financial District
Height: 278m
Architect: PLP Architects
Status: Under construction, due 2019

The 22 Bishopsgate project replaces an earlier plan for a tower called the Pinnacle, on which construction started in 2008 but was suspended in 2012. On completion the building will be Europe’s second tallest building after the Shard. The office building is designed to integrate working and social areas to create a highly effective business community.


1 Undershaft

Location: Financial District
Height: 290m
Architect: Eric Parry Architects
Status: Due for completion 2020

The tower, nicknamed The Trellis (because of its external cross bracing), is set to replace St Helen’s tower and upon completion will overtake 22 Bishopsgate and become London’s second tallest skyscraper. The tower is designed to be 10.5 m off the ground in order to create public space underneath the building. The top of the building will have London’s highest free public viewing gallery.


Changing skyline

While London has a small number of skyscrapers in comparison to other major cities around the world, the 18 that it does have, are exceptionally designed. The 7 developments above support that London’s skyscraper ethos is definitely quality over quantity. The number of developments both under construction and in the planning phrase means that London’s skyline is set to change forever.


Controversial designs – The Tulip

Another key structure in planning permission is ‘The Tulip’. The City of London Corporation will decide whether or not to give the proposed 305m tourist viewing tower the go-ahead in Spring next year. The project is set to include external glass gondolas, an education centre offering 20,000 free places a year to local state schools and a rooftop garden.



We use cookies to improve your experience on our site find out more