The Bigger They Come, The Longer They Stall

By M@ Last edited 152 months ago
The Bigger They Come, The Longer They Stall

Where are all those tall buildings they promised us? Good question. We’re glad you asked it, because we’ve been wondering too. So we thought that it’s time for a round-up of who’s building what, when, and with whom. For comparison, London’s tallest building, 1 Canada Square, is 235 m high.

Name: Bishopsgate Tower

Nickname: To be decided, but we reckon ‘The corkscrew’ would be a good bet.

Height: 307 m, and London’s tallest.

Architect: Kohn Pederson Fox

Where?: Well, Bishopsgate, towards the Southern end, opposite Threadneedle Street.

Status: Planning application has been submitted. Approval expected in February 2006. But this one’s far too impressive to ever get built.

Name: London Bridge Tower

Nickname: Shard of Glass

Height: 306 m

Architect: Renzo Piano

Where: Practically next door to the grotesque Guy’s Hospital tower in Southwark, on the site of the current PWC brown and silver tower.

Status: Fully approved in 2003. Demolition of current building to begin in summer 2006. This will take a year, before building can begin in 2007. Some tenants have already been secured.

Name: Columbus Tower

Nickname: To be decided. We coin ‘The Fountain Pen’.

Height: 237 m, tallest on the Isle of Dogs.

Architect: DMWR

Where?: West India Quay, next to the Museum In Docklands..

Status: Fully approved, but things have gone eerily quiet. The plans were conspicuous in there absence at the recent ‘Changing Face of London’ exhibition.

Name: 122 Leadenhall

Nickname: The Cheesegrater, by popular consent.

Height: 225 m.

Architect: Richard Rogers

Where?: Pretty much bang opposite the Gherkin and next to the Lloyds building.

Status: Approved in 2004. However, the lease on the current site (a really, really ugly 1960’s office block) expires in 2008, so delays will ensue.

Name: Minerva Building

Nickname: To be decided. We coin ‘The Razor”.

Height: 217 m.

Architect: Nicholas Grimshaw

Where?: Aldgate, next to St Boltoph's Church.

Status: Fully approved. Demolition on the current site is due to start soon.

Name: 110 Bishopsgate

Nickname: Heron Tower

Height: 207.7 m (231.5 m with spire).

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Where?: Yet another for Bishopsgate.

Status: Fully approved in original form, but four extra floors have recently been added and await approval. Building will hopefully start in 2006.

That's just a small selection of erections; there are plans for many more towers in and around London over the coming years. Londonist will keep you up to date as projects change and emerge.

We thank the truly superb and particularly their associated forum for providing many of the facts and figures.

Last Updated 13 September 2005


Is it old news that the Gherkin is more-or-less empty because it's structurally unsound and the glass will break? Woops.


And there is the Beetham Tower which is also having troubles...

The problem I think with the Gherkin (which I was lucky enough to visit last year during Open House) is that it makes you sea sick. For some reason, it is perpetually moving and although you are not really aware of it, it gives you an unpleasant feeling.

You can view some my pictures inside the Gherkin HERE.


Huh...they all look the same - glassy, spires, sleek. Boring! I can't wait until the next movement of skyscraper architecture to breathe some life into things.

Peter Eyres

Well not quite accurate. Minerva is to the West of Aldgate station, north of St Boltophs (the church, ripper murder scene)

Columbus, well the Arab oil rich investor has died, so it is on hold. Millharbour is under construction, otherwise know as the Pan Penisula tower. 139m High. Along with Ontario Tower is well under way (blackwall)

Heron Tower, yep 4 floors are being added. And if ya go down to the current site, work has already started on the demolition of the current building. Heron should start to rise late next year.

Lime Street next to Llyods and opposite Swiss Re is well underway at 125m, with the main core just about to shoot up.

Broadgate tower at 164m is likely to start soonish.

Minerva is doubtfull. But the company has been selling an awful lot of its property portfolio. Minerva will contain ALOT of floor space, so it makes sense. Hopefully, fingers crossed, the money is going towards Minerva, cause its a fab design.

The office market is expecting a sharp upturn in 07. That will be the golden age of the british skyscraper :)


Nice additions and corrections, Peter. You're right, of course, that Minerva is not on Bishopsgate, but next to St Boltoph's - I'll fix the post.

I like Minerva too, though from the released images (especially the one used in this post) it looks about a foot wide, with NO floorspace at all.


The Shard of Glass is being built by Multiplex (who my boyfriend works for) and if Wembley is anything to go by, it won't be finished on time!

Peter Eyres

Well from my understanding the floorspace in Minerva makes up the groundscraper part of it. As in, it will have a smaller building attached to it. Minerva is a strange shape, sort of like a folded book. The renederings released at the moment are indeed, very confusing.

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