With hundreds of new skyscrapers in the pipeline, our capital city is reaching for the sky. When compared to the likes of Shanghai or Dubai, London’s skyline can actually seem a little shy but this is in no way an accident.
Whilst historically documented, very few realise that many of the views of St. Paul’s Cathedral are in fact protected by a statute called the London View Management Framework. This ensures the Cathedral can be viewed from this and 7 other locations, including Primrose Hill and Greenwich Park. But things are a change, many of the finest designs of the next generation of skyscrapers rise above the others not because of their height but because of the intricacy and sophistication of their design.
It has been revealed that a remarkable 236 buildings of more than 20 storeys are currently either in the city’s planning system, recently approved or have started on-site. Whilst it could be argued some applications will fall away, we can also expect a steady stream of new proposals to appear all looking at ways they can achieve right up to the currently permitted maximum of 75 storeys.
It is not just skyscrapers that will be looking to forever change the way London looks; here we pick out a few projects that will no doubt change the face of London.
Construction of a ‘Garden Bridge’ yet to be formally named over the River Thames could start late 2015 after the scheme won the planning permission. The bridge is designed to span the river between Temple station and the South Bank. Construction is due to begin late next year with the plan to open it to the public in 2018. The London Mayor has already offered £30 million through Transport for London with another £30 million due to come from the Treasury.
The remaining £175 million cost will be made up by private donors with £110 million already reportedly pledged.
At 75 storeys, Hertsmere Tower is the highest of any planned buildings in London. Set to become the highest residential building in Western Europe, 700 luxury apartments will have breath-taking views over the capital and it could be finished as early as 2018. At a cost of £1billion, the tower will be 7 metres taller than One Canada Square, the tallest Canary Wharf building at present and only 64m short of The Shard. Incidentally, One St. George Wharf is currently the U.K.’s tallest residential tower at 181 meters. While apartments in London’s Shard skyscraper are higher, the building consists mainly of offices, a hotel and restaurants.
SkyCycle proposes a network of elevated bike paths hoisted aloft above railway lines, allowing keen cyclists to commute completely liberated from congested roads. The project which has the backing of both Network Rail and Transport for London would see over 220km of car-free routes installed above London's suburban rail network. Suspended on pylons above the tracks and accessed at over 200 entrance points, whilst there is significant planning still to be completed, a 6.5km trial route from Stratford to Liverpool Street Station would cost initially around £220 million. Following the path of the Overground line, SkyCycle could become a reality sooner than you think.
The South Quay Plaza development on the Isle of Dogs in East London will be a 73-storey skyscraper. In one of London's major business districts that already houses a cluster of tall buildings in east London, South Quay Plaza is set to become the tallest residential tower in the UK. The development will also feature a 36-storey tower, providing a total of 900 new homes and over 6,000 square metres of public space.
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