Even More Tall Buildings For London

By M@ Last edited 38 months ago
Even More Tall Buildings For London

263 new towers of at least 20 storeys are on the cards for London, an updated study has revealed. The figure includes proposals awaiting review, buildings that have been approved, and towers already under construction. The number has grown from the 236 buildings cited this time last year. Both studies come from New London Architecture and GL Hearn.

How tall is 20 storeys? It varies greatly, depending on the floor-to-ceiling distance for any particular building. Roughly speaking, we're talking 263 new buildings at least as tall as the OXO Tower. That might not seem particularly lofty, but remember that this is the lower limit of the study. Most of the towers will be much taller. The mean of those under construction is somewhere around 30 storeys — more than the South Bank's Shell Centre.

The increase shows a marked uptick in buildings under construction, from 45 last year to 70 this year. The report doesn't list individual projects, but the rise probably includes such high-profile towers as the 163-metre 1 Blackfriars (the Boomerang), 52-54 Lime Street (the Scalpel) and Principal Place in Shoreditch.


Of buildings approved but waiting construction, we await further news on the redesigned (and renamed) Pinnacle, which would have been 288 metres, and the equally long-stalled Riverside South near Canary Wharf, which would be 237 metres tall. A newly proposed project for Greenwich, possibly not picked up by the study, involves a cunning arrangement of reflective surfaces to chase away shadows (see image below).

Image NBBJ.

Of the 70 towers currently under construction, 64 are residential — and largely unaffordable residential. A humming hive of such activity is at Nine Elms, where 18,000 homes are planned or under construction. Come 2020, the riverside quarter will have a skyline to rival the Docklands, and Nine Elms will become Nine Towers. Not to be outdone, Canary Wharf itself is embarking on a major expansion, as the Wood Wharf development begins construction. Croydon and Stratford, too, are hotspots for development.

Wood Wharf.

The full report, including breakdowns per borough and tower height, can be viewed here (PDF).

The increase in tower proposals will reignite debate (not that it ever went away) on the capital's growing skyline. London's population is now higher than at any point in its 2,000 year history. By all estimates, it will continue to rise. Either we grow upwards or we grow outwards, or we do both*. Arguments about the pros and cons of bulking up the skyline with high-end residential blocks are somewhat trivial in the face of that more pressing concern of Londoners: "I don't want a luxury apartment, I just want somewhere affordable to live".

*Or we make like Egypt and plan a whole new capital elsewhere.

Last Updated 17 March 2015


236! That's a lot of tedious names that people have to come up with to compare the buildings too.


Fantastic, good to see density in London finally raising, lets care less about height and more about quality and we'll be progressing. Lets face it - there is no skyline to save so we might as well take the Victorian spirit and build a city to inspire.


I don't think Londoners just want somewhere to live, I think they want a culturally vibrant and engaging city that continues to offer them a rich mix of traditionalism and modernism. The city has too much history for this to go away any time soon. The question is, which from these 263 new developments have been really designed with London's future at heart *and not Russian billionaire shop front in mind*?.

But the truth is you are up against Hong Kong, New York, even Paris. And to continue to occupy the top global standing you have today, you will need to show that you have it in you to move with the times.

And with these development comes a gradual uptick in an area's appeal, this brings with it new commercial activity and new energy. This then creates a further fertile ground for more affordable accommodation. The people who lived there are now employed by the new commercial sites, making more money, and now able to afford a step up in their lives.

That is what urban regeneration is about. Urban gentrification on the other hand, is when the speed of the changes in these areas is so high that the people living there cannot cope and have to move outwards onto the suburbs and eventually out of the city. That is the real concern, because how many of London's 8million would be able to survive harsh gentrification on such a scale.

You end up with a city with fewer residents and the middle class (already pointed out in another article) escapes outwards (forcefully).


Another nickname - the Death Star - for the "cunning arrangement of reflective surfaces" in Greenwich!


R-REITS where bankers and foreign SIICs making gentrification worse problem expensive why. Manchester,Kent and Liverpool become new era, development "Britain same tactics displacing those not of net worth buyers. Holders of profits...not ambiguous sudden immediate riches properties U.K yes, funding pension,hedge funds and asset management shall continue new urban planning for "overprice London" yes paradise those. Flipping for highest amount: eventually Asian markets overtake merry olde Londontown build fair housing.

James Calbraith

None of these towers will do anything for the overpopulation of London.