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Sky-High Skyline Planned for London

Thursday, March 10, 2016

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Construction activity in London is forecast to reach new heights, with more than 400 tall buildings currently in the pipeline, a new report reveals.

There have been 119 new skyscrapers planned for England’s capital since last year alone, New London Architecture and GLHearn reported Wednesday (March 9).

London skyline
© / peresanz

London's skyline will change dramatically with the addition of 436 new projects.

The new figure takes the total number of tall buildings in the works to 436—89 are under construction, 233 have approval but work has not begun, and 114 are at the planning or pre-application stage, according to the report. Conducted annually, the research covers buildings of 20 floors or more.

Despite the large number of projects in the pipeline, a relatively small proportion is currently being delivered. The report notes that only 19 tall buildings were completed over the last year, up from 6 the year earlier.

A Contested Trend

Still, London’s trend toward tall construction has sparked fierce debate among historians, city officials and others.

“London’s skyline is unique, iconic and loved,” Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, recently told The Guardian. “It has to be managed sensitively and with proper planning.

“Tall buildings can be exciting and useful, but if they are poorly designed, or in the wrong place, they can really harm our cities,” continued Wilson. In January, he and others successfully fought to have architect Renzo Piano’s controversial “Paddington Pole” project withdrawn.

NLA report
New London Architecture report

Planning officials have approved 43 new projects and refused 3 in 2016, according to the report.

Many believe designing and delivering tall buildings in the city is necessary in light of a population boom.

“London is in the middle of a population boom that shows no sign of slowing down and it’s important we look at a range of options to achieve both the housing and work space needed,” Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor of Planning, said in a statement.

The report found that 73 percent of all tall buildings proposed are intended for residential use, suggesting the trend continues unabated.

Peter Murray, the chairman of NLA, also noted the importance of involving the public in the planning and development of the city.

“We continue to press for the Mayor to prepare a three-dimensional computer model of the whole of London to better assess the impact of these buildings. The 436 tall buildings in the pipeline is a significant number,” he said in response to the report.

Booming Boroughs

For three years in a row, the Tower Hamlets borough has emerged as the tall building hotbed, according to the report. A total of 93 buildings are proposed for the booming borough.

Greenwich takes second place, with 67 projects in planning or pre-application stages.

The area known as “City Cluster” will also reportedly see an increase in new tall buildings as well.

A recently proposed project called “1 Undershaft” set for the iconic area is said to become the tallest in the city, soaring 73 stories, and matching The Shard in height.

NLA is described as an “independent forum for discussion, debate and information about architecture, planning, development and construction in the capital.” GL Hearn, part of Capita Real Estate, is a leading property and planning consultancy in London and the rest of the UK.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Building codes; Construction; Design; Good Technical Practice; Market; North America; Urban Planning

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