Future London Skylines Revealed In New Tall Buildings Report

By M@

Last Updated 09 May 2024

Future London Skylines Revealed In New Tall Buildings Report
A comparison of the skyline from Greenwich Hill 1998 and around 2030
Top image: Matt Brown. Lower image: Hayes Davidson

London is growing up. Still. A new report looks at the recent past and future of skyscraper trends in the capital.

Look at these views from Greenwich Hill. The top image dates from August 1998, when only the pyramid-topped One Canada Square poked into the sky. The second shows the modern skyline, but with upcoming additions shown in grey. This could be the view in 2030.

According to a report from New London Architecture (NLA), London's love affair with tall buildings shows no signs of letting up. The report marks 10 years of NLA's Tall Buildings Survey, using the opportunity to look back on a decade of change, as well as considering the future of tall buildings. The document, itself a behemoth at over a gigabyte, comes with many juicy insights. For example, in the last 10 years...

  • London has seen the completion of 270 tall buildings (20 storeys or above)
  • The average height of these buildings is 29 storeys.
  • Tower Hamlets leads the pack with 71 of these — unsurprising, really, as this is the borough of Canary Wharf.
  • Around 58,000 new homes are in these 270 tall buildings, and residential buildings are much more common than commercial towers. The rate has slowed in recent years, however.
City of London in the near future
The City cluster in the near future. Oddly, the tallest future tower (One Undershaft) is shown with its cross-bracing — a design feature that was dropped in its latest planning application. Image: Hayes Davidson

Attitudes towards tall buildings are shifting, too. The report found that 37% of Londoners would be happy to live in a tall building, versus 27% in 2014. However, exactly half of survey responders think there are now too many tall buildings in London, compared to 32% a decade ago.

Love them or loathe them, they just keep coming. According to NLA, 2023 saw planning applications for another 68 tall buildings. 88% of these are residential-led, while 12% are solely commercial.

Croydon future skyline
Croydon is another hub for tall buildings. This image shows the future skyline if current proposals go ahead. Image: Hayes Davidson

This is just a snapshot of the 139-page report, which goes into some detail about the pros and cons of building tall, how such buildings affect the wider community, and how new buildings are increasingly designed with sustainability and low-carbon lifetimes in mind. The final section presents a rogue's gallery of upcoming towers, many of which are likely to be unfamiliar.

London’s Growing Up: A Decade of Building Tall will be published by NLA, sponsored by Multiplex and Hayes Davidson, researched and written by Denise Chevin MBE. We'll add a link here once it's publicly available.