The Rise of the London SkyscraperJuly 17, 2015
With a city operating on the size and scale of London – a bustling metropolis that is struggling to contain the growth it has to accommodate each year – it’s surprising how many new builds are getting the green light.
However, the reason for this could be that these new structures are not expanding into the preciously scarce space remaining at ground level in the crowded boroughs and commercial districts of Central London and the City; they are in fact rising upwards into the great real estate space in the sky.
London’s New Skyscrapers
The numbers surrounding London’s latest building proposals are staggering: 263 skyscrapers are currently in the planning stage, and this figure is rising as quickly as the monoliths invading the city’s sky.
With critics claiming that London’s new giants are doing nothing to relieve the housing shortage in the capital – not to mention the supposed “eyesore” they will create on the city’s skyline – backers of the various expansions have pointed out that the majority of the new skyscrapers will be predominantly residential in makeup, at odds with the previously constructed business centres that dominate Canary Wharf and the rest.
So with London quite literally on the rise, what will these new generation of giants look like? Here are a few of the tallest of the proposed builds…
The Canary Wharf location of Hertsmere House, a colossal residential development in the middle of the financial capital, might instill a bit of a size inferiority complex in its neighbours. Nailed on to be Western Europe’s highest residential building upon completion, it will be home to 700 luxury apartments, each with a great view of Central London. During the course of the build, the development site was acquired by Chinese State property developers Greenland Group for a measly fee of around £600 million.
Finished height: 242m
Named after the beloved former Isle of Dogs pub it is replacing, City Pride will take pride of place in the Docklands area. Another residential apartment structure, the building will fall only marginally short of Hertsmere House’s claim for the biggest in that particular category. As part of the approval of the planning application, it was agreed that £4,069,361 would be paid to the borough of Tower Hamlets, with over half of this earmarked for educational facilities.
Finished height: 233m
Rising from the ashes (not literally) of the Pinnacle skyscraper – a proposed 288m giant whose construction was halted in 2012 due to the recession – 22 Bishopsgate will grow to a rather more modest height of 262m upon completion. The twisted exterior that granted its predecessor the nickname of the ‘helter skelter’ will be retained, and the 62 stories will contain millions of square feet of office space, restaurants, shops and galleries. Residents of 20 and 24 Bishopsgate may have to get used to craning their necks somewhat…
Finished height: 262m
South Quay Plaza
Another of the residential builds on this list, South Quay Plaza is the brainchild of Foster & Partners, the group behind such luminary London landmarks as the Gherkin, City Hall and even the Millennium Bridge. Despite having approximately 900 apartments spread across its two towers, South Quay Plaza will not be providing accommodation to the everyday Londoner looking for a home in the city – these will be among the most prestigious residencies in the country, likely to be out of the price range of all but a few of the highest flyers.
Finished height: 220m
Those familiar with the Gherkin may recognise the diamond-like design on the exterior of the proposed Newfoundland Tower, yet another of Canary Wharf’s new residential complexes. The new inhabitants of this 58 floor project will also have access to in-house retail areas as well as pretty extensive car parking facilities, which, along with its location, might make Newfoundland Tower a little too expensive for those looking to rent in the capital.
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