The London skyline is one of the most magnificent sights in the UK. Since the first tower of the Tower of London was built in 1078, the ancient streets of London have seen remarkable changes and events, spanning over ten centuries. The Square Mile skyline has now incorporated iconic architecture such as 30 St. Mary Axe, also known as the Gherkin, and 20 Fenchurch, less affectionately known as the walkie-talkie building (most because it infamously reflected the sun’s hot rays onto cars causing damage).
We take a close look at the newest buildings in the city and how their architecture caters to modern London.
At 912 feet tall with 62 storeys, 22 Bishopsgate has had a rather rocky start, with initial plans being scuppered by various events including the recession, and concerns that the initial height would interfere with flight plans over the city. For years, it was little more than just a concrete base.
In 2015 it was bought by new owners and faced an entire redesign by PLP Architects which now makes 22 Bishopsgate the tallest building in London’s financial district. Their aim was to create a vertical village with a sense of strong community values. The building features four office zones creating space for up to 12,000 people as well as an artisan food market, gym, conference and event spaces, a spa, and a bike zone with London’s biggest cycle park, bike hire, showers and maintenance.
Shining like a modernist Deco structure, the building has three raised floors that sit above one another, creating sharp linear forms in the sky. The office zones allow natural light to flood in making the workspace healthier for employees. Like most skyscrapers in London, the top floor of 22 Bishopsgate will specifically be used as a gallery, giving incredible views over East London with a restaurant and public bar, making it the perfect place for tourists and locals alike.
Just a short walk away is 100 Bishopsgate. At 181 metres high with 37 floors of offices, as well as retail spaces, a health and fitness centre, and cycle hire, 100 Bishopsgate sits amongst some of London’s historic streets, with the 6th century St. Ethelburga-the-Virgin church just moments away.
Its geometric form almost looks like a geode jumping out from the bustling streets, with a parallelogram shape at the base of the building meeting to a rectangle at the top, giving the effect of a constant twisting motion. The entire building is glazed bringing in plenty of natural light, making workers happier, healthy and more alert.
100 Bishopsgate will open its gallery floors to the public, providing jaw-dropping views of the city and the restaurant gives a luxe-metropolitan vibe for everything from business meetings, to family dinners, to dates.
The Scalpel is located at 52 Lime Street. The buildings sharp and clinical structure is juxtaposed with the ancient surroundings – The Bank of England, built in 1694, is just moments away.
Architects, Kohn Pederson Fox, added some key design features which embrace technological innovation to create a space that functions for its users and the city in general. Incorporating special lift technology means two lift cars use a double-decker system and can operate at once, making the building more efficient and saving users valuable time. They’ve also invested in energy reduction measures such as the solar power cells located on the roof.
The rich medieval history of Lime Street is preserved in some form with the architects creating a new public square, standing where the original once stood and was lost in the 1940s. As well as being respectful to the heritage of the location, this creates a comfortable outdoor space for zoning out the city.
In the heart of Canary Wharf South Dock, Landmark Pinnacle will be one of London’s tallest residential buildings.
Landmark Pinnacle sits adjacent to The Landmark building with a waterfront pedestrian walkway connecting the two together. Both buildings are unified by their architecture with clean, linear forms finished with glazed facades. With the emphasis on the benefits of green spaces, the interior winter gardens will give residents the feeling of being in nature even in the midst of the city. At the top of the building, the double height roof terraces provide incredible views of the skyline but also illuminates the building at night.
The building’s architects, Squire and Partners collaborated with Chalegrove Properties and developers JRL Group, to create a multi-use building that not only sits with the iconic London skyline, but one that also provides a sense of community for its residents, with a whole host of amenities including a private cinema, a play area for children, social lounges, library, gym and exercise studios, and private dining rooms. For the architects, the interior design is just as important as the exterior, with them focusing on three main principles for the building: space and light, pure form, and sense of place. This helps to create a consistently beautiful building that is as intelligent as it is luxurious.
Providing even more housing to this busy area, Newfoundland Quay in the Isle of Dogs will provide the busy area with even more housing. Created by architects Horden Cherry Lee, Newfoundland Quay will feature over 60 storeys and around 560 luxury apartments.
The building will be visually spectacular, with a curved tower and glazed windows which provide panoramic views of the city. Earning its nickname as ‘The diamond’, the smart design also features X-shaped solid steel beams and cladding that repeats throughout the facade, creating a diamond effect, which not only functions beautifully to support the tall building but also creates a unique look among the tower blocks of London.
This building is still currently under construction but when it’s complete there will be a variety of amenities including shops and a health club.
Another building that’s already earned itself a nickname is One Blackfriars, affectionately being referred to as The Vase. This nickname wasn’t handed to the building by the press or by disgruntled locals, however, but by its own architect. Sitting like a shining glossy vessel for flowers, it was inspired by a Scandinavian vase from the 1950s from the architect’s private collection.
One Blackfriars, created by architects SimpsonHaugh Architects for Berkley Homes, will feature 274 luxury apartments as well as a boutique hotel, landscaped piazza, and various residential amenities to attract investment.
Located in artistic Southbank, it’s of no surprise that the culturally rich location provided further inspiration for this building: the curved shape of glass facade means that the light changes the colour of the building throughout the day, reflecting with the elements, weather and atmosphere.
As London evolves, so will the skyline. With further buildings planned for the city, we’ll be keeping an eye on the new innovations in architecture and technology.
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