“Skyscrapers back on the horizon” – a piece in the London Evening Standard on April 30th about the revival of skyscrapers on the London skyline caught our eye.
Developers, it seems, are pushing forward with schemes worth a total of more than 9 billion because of a shortage of office space and a growing demand for residential space.
We asked our resident Conran & Partners postcard writer Paul Zara for his take on the sudden resurgence of the skyscraper:
The suggested resurgence of towers on the London skyline is as surprising as it is amazing. Just when we all thought the new Towers of London were shelved forever (or at least for a decade or two) while we crawled our way out of recession, they have reared their heads again, so soon after the world collapsed.
The London skyline has changed so much over the last century, and not always for the better, but, as any architect working in this city knows, it’s now so hard to get a big proposal approved that by the time a scheme gets the green light we should have no concerns about the level of scrutiny it has experienced. What other city has three planning authorities to satisfy? Tall Buildings have to go through the local planning authority, (whichever London Borough they sit in), plus CABE and the GLA. (If you don’t know what these initials stand for try Google).
CABE and English Heritage have guidelines on how to assess tall buildings and Boris has his own views (less supportive than Ken’s of these huge erections). And we have a choice. Say yes to them as long as they demonstrate their appropriateness and quality, or say no and stagnate. And stagnate we surely will if we reject change. London does not have to be a leading financial centre, but it ought to be. We can compete, and with buildings of the highest quality by the best architects we show the world that design matters. At Conran this is a core belief in our business, and the London skyline can be part of that. This silhouette of London now contains the London Eye and the Gherkin (It’s nothing like the shape of a gherkin). Let’s keep that change happening and demonstrate to the world that London truly is its design capital.
Conran Columns: Tips for a great London Weekend
Can you believe it? Tate Modern is 10! Head down there this weekend for a fun-packed few days of family fun and art events for all!