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Consulting Engineers

627 + 455 = a big change

The London skyline is changing.

With my office being based in Twickenham, of course I take an interest in what’s happening in central London.

And anyone who spends even the smallest amount of time in the capital cannot fail to have noticed the changes to the skyline.

There are 627 tall buildings (higher than 12 storeys) in London, according to City Hall. A substantial number – twenty-six of them – were built in 2016 (there were only 10 completed in 2015).

Many of them are now famous, in London and beyond.

The Shard was completed in 2012 and opened to the public in 2013. Sticking out of the skyline like a glass and steel church spire, it stands at nearly 310m tall, making it (briefly) the tallest building in Europe, before the Mercury City Tower was completed in Moscow. It is still the tallest building in London.

The 225m wedge-shaped building known as “The Cheesegrater” opened in 2014 at 122 Leadenhall Street.

Another 2014 completion was ‘The Walkie-Talkie” building (20 Fenchurch Street), with 34-stories and standing at 160m tall. It was scaled down from almost 200m, to reduce its visual impact on St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. That’s the building that famously reflected light in such a way that it melted cars.

All three of these buildings have had an impact on the look and feel of the areas they are in, and the skyline as a whole.

There are 455 towers at various stages in the planning system. If they all go up that will take the total number of towers in in London to well over 1000.

And that is going to have a big impact on the London skyline. Historically London planners have, generally, worked hard to make sure that old and new architecture works well together. But it would be foolish to think that building towers at this rate won’t change the look of the city quite dramatically.

One famous development in the pipeline is “The Trellis” – a skyscraper that will be only slightly smaller than The Shard. It was set to be a similar height to the current tallest building, but the height was cut by 4.7m to avoid endangering planes at City airport. It will be the tallest building in the Square Mile.

I’m interested to know what you think about these developments. Should we be building towers at this rate?

I’m always keen to hear what my colleagues in the industry are thinking.

And if you need our assistance on a project, tall or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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