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Your Guide to London Skyscrapers

15 June 2018
Default Author image
AUTHOR
Eugene Kim

a brief guide


by Extension Architecture

composition of the Shard, the Gherkin and Canary Wharf Tower for guide to London SkyscrapersLondon Skyscrapers: new and old favourites, including London skyline at night, showing the Canary Wharf Tower

 

public affection

painting of battersea power station for guide to London Skyscrapers

Battersea Power Station (113m) – 1933 – has become a public icon for Britain.

The national public tend to have iconic preferences in British Architecture. Think: Bat-tersea Power Station, which featured on the vinyl record sleeve for the album: Animals, by rock giants: Pink Floyd, as well as various other settings in the 70s to 90s.

photo of BT Tower for guide to London Skyscrapers

The BT Tower (190m, 36 storeys) has been part of British culture. It took 3 years to build and although it was the UK’s tallest tower, it is now the 10th tallest.**

Some former British favorites are high towers, for example the BT Tower. Thought to be dated and partly out of use, its current image seems to be a technical museum with a historical legacy, yet it continues to be fundamental to most of our TV channels, especially sports broadcasts.

 

London skyscrapers


points of interest

1. Our skyline is comforting and ‘part of the furniture, although developments can be alarming if unwanted, unexpected or too rapid. See also our piece on the changing shape of the London skyline.

2. The Shell Centre has a distinctive retro Art Nouveau look with its Portland Stone cladding and bronzed windows which was apparently much criticized by Modernists at the time of building.

3. How boldly competitive and typical of developers to have a great tower right next door to another great tower! 99 and 100 Bishopsgate really could not get any closer.

4. 20 Fenchurch was to be 200m but the height was revised at 160m due to its proximity to St Pauls, which is has been a protected view from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park since 1710. Henry VIII liked the view and issued an edict that nothing was to be built in between the 2 points, or within a dome’s width to either side. With all the eager developers trying to build in the City, the king’s edict has proved increasingly difficult to preserve.

5. The BT Tower, on the other hand, was going to be 111m high but is actually 190m. Completed in 1964, it was well ahead of its time with the engineering phenomenon i.e. the revolving restaurant (now closed), and viewing galleries.

interior of Tate Modern for guide to London skyscrapers

Vast, cathedral-like hall in the recommissioned industrial building on the South bank of the Thames.

6. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott – one of the architects of Battersea Power Station – also designed the Bankside Power Station, which is now the home of the Tate Modern (99m).

7. Battersea Power Station had some cancelled proposals for use as Chelsea Football Club‘s HQ, and then HQ for tech giant: Apple. It will now be for up to 800 residential homes over 5 storeys and around the site; including flats to rent from £450-£700 per week, and for sale @ £0.7-8.15 million!

 

our pick


of London skyscrapers

graphic of skyline for guide to London SkyscrapersYou can bring your watercolours or sketchbook to the river.

table of towers

The Shard – 306m
(310m tip)
Storeys: 95

photo of The Shard for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
Renzo Piano
Construction:
2009-2013
Tallest building in
London?
**
tallest in UK
Use: Hotel, restaurants, offices, flats, viewing gallery

22 Bishopsgate
278m
Storeys: 62

render of 22 Bishopsgate for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
GMW Architects
Construction:
2008-2019 (under construction)
Tallest building in London?**
2nd tallest in UK
Use: Commercial

Canary Wharf
Tower
– 236m
Storeys
: 50

night photo of Canary Wharf for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
César Pelli
Construction:
1988-1991
Tallest building in
London?
**
3rd tallest in UK
Use: offices, retail

Heron Tower
230m
Storeys: 46

render of Heron Tower for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
Paul Simovic, Gene Kohn,
Dennis Hill
Construction:
2008-2011
Tallest building in
London?
**
4th tallest in UK
Use: Commercial, offices

The Gherkin
180m
Storeys: 41

image of the Gherkin for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
Foster & Partners
Construction:
2008-2011
Tallest building in
London?
**
9th tallest in UK
Use: Commercial, offices

The Scalpel
190m
Storeys: 38

image of the Scalpel for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
Kohn Pedersen Fox
Construction:
2015-(under construction)
Tallest building in London?**
7th tallest in UK
Use: Offices, retail

The Electric Razor
148m
Storeys: 43

image of the Razor for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
BFLS
Construction:
2007-2010
Tallest building in
London?
**
21st tallest in UK
Use: 408 residential flats

The Cheesegrater – 225m
Storeys: 52

image of the Cheesegrater for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:* Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners
Construction:
2010-2014
Tallest building in
London?
**
5th tallest in UK
Use: Offices

99 Bishopsgate
104m
Storeys: 26

image of 99 Bishopsgate for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
GMW Architects
Construction:
1973-1976
Tallest building in
London?
**
48th tallest in UK
Use: Offices, right of way,
plant floors

100 Bishopsgate
101m
Storeys: 40

image of 100 Bishopsgate for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
Allies and Morrison
Construction:
2008-2019 (under construction)
Tallest building in
London?
**
11th tallest in UK
Use: Mixed use

The Walkie-Talkie
160m
Storeys: 38

image of walkie talkie for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
Rafael Viñoly
Construction:
2010-2014
Tallest building in
London?
**
13th tallest in UK
Use: Offices, viewing deck, bars, restaurants

Citigroup Centre
200m
Storeys: 45

image of citi group centre for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
William B Tabler
Construction:
1998-2001
Tallest building in
London?
**
6th tallest in UK
Use: Building complex,
HQ for Citigroup

Centrepoint
117m
Storeys: 35

image of centrepoint for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
George Marsh
Construction:
1963-1966
Tallest building in
London?
**
37th tallest in UK
Use: bed spaces for young, homeless people

Shell Centre
107m
Storeys: 26

image of Shell Centre for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
Howard Robertson
Construction:
1957-1962
Tallest building in
London?
**
52nd tallest in UK
Use: one of Shell’s 2
central offices

Tate Modern,
Bankside –
99m

image of Tate Modern for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Construction:
1949-1952
Tallest building in
London?
**
72nd tallest in UK
Use: decommissioned
power station (1981) /
art museum (2000)

Battersea Power Station – 113m
Storeys: 5

Battersea Power Station

Architect:*
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Frank Gehry, Rafael Viñoly. Construction: 1929-1933
Tallest building in London?**
48th tallest in UK
Use: decommissioned
power station

BT Tower – 190m Storeys: 36

photo of BT Tower for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
Eric Bedford
Construction:
1961-1964
Tallest building in
London?
**
10th tallest in UK
Use: broadcasting facility

Hilton – 101m
Storeys: 28

photo of London Hilton, Park Lane for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect:*
William B Tabler
Construction:
1960-1963
Tallest building in
London?
**
50th tallest in UK
Use: 5 Star Hotel,
Michelin restaurant

Big Ben, Clock
Tower – 96m

image of Big Ben for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect*:
Augustus Pugin
Construction:
1825-1859
Tallest building in
London?
**
72nd circa 75th tallest
in UK. Use: bell tower in the
Houses of Parliament

London Eye – 135m,
40 cars
image of London Eye for guide to London Skyscrapers

Architect***:
Construction:
1998-1999
Tallest building in
London?
**
circa 27th tallest in UK
Use: leisure, 40 car viewing ‘tower’ ferris wheel

 

Notes


heights guide

1. **Heights, in terms of tallest rank is literally an ever-changing landscape, especially during a boom time for development and construction. See table for guidance by entering the height you are looking at against the list, if your building is not listed. The rank will be roughly the same as similar heights which you see on the table.

 

London architects

2. *Some of these prominent architects may not be based in London, but if you would like to meet architects in London, give us a call on 0203 409 4215, or look online at the list of London architects.
***Julia Barfield, Mark Sparrowhawk, Nic Bailey, Malcolm Cook, Frank Anatole, Steve Chilton, David Marks

 

making visits

3. To visit some of these ‘tall boys’, you can do some London sightseeing to enjoy some of the architecture in London, or contribute to London tourism by going on one of the London tours.

 

see more

4. Further viewing: you can see more London skyscrapers here.

 

get in touch

5. If you would like to speak to a London architect about a small or large, short or tall development, send your details via the contact button below, or call us on 0203 409 4215. Extension Architecture loves to network with developers and investors regarding upcoming plots and support services such as commissioning Feasibility Reports, Economic Statements or Design & Access Statements to help you realise your proposal.

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Default Author image

AUTHOR

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim, Founder and Managing Director of Extension Architecture, has led the firm for over 14 years, consistently delivering quality solutions. His dedication has been key to the company's growth and success.
Default Author image

AUTHOR

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim, Founder and Managing Director of Extension Architecture, has led the firm for over 14 years, consistently delivering quality solutions. His dedication has been key to the company's growth and success.

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