London’s buildings: Up, up and away

In the last months, a lot has been said about how tall buildings are getting in London, and how it could change, also in a negative way, its historic and outstanding landscape.

Should London become a town full of skyscrapers, comparable to Dubai, New York or Sao Paulo? Passionate about London say no; economy says yes.

The modern Gherkin (left)  in contrast to the Tower of London (first built in 1078). Photo: Captain Roger Fenton - https://www.flickr.com/photos/762_photo/

The modern Gherkin (left) in contrast to the Tower of London (first built in 1078). Photo: Captain Roger Fenton – https://www.flickr.com/photos/762_photo/

There are pressures for more dwelling units due to the very high prices in this area. Towers would help fund huge regeneration schemes. Today, the Europe’s tallest residential tower is in Vauxhall: The 594ft One St George’s Wharf.

In March, there were almost 250 tall towers proposed, approved or already under construction as announced by The Guardian. The New London Architecture (NLA) think tank says that 236 buildings will have more than 20 storeys.

London skyline chart: Big Ben is the shortest one

2012 London skyline chart: Big Ben is the shortest one

But critics say these “monster towers,” as they have been called, could destroy London’s skyline. The Guardian published this interactive guide to show how it is going to change – just click on each picture and find it out – and it is pretty astonishing!

The view east from Waterloo Bridge, as published on The Guardian: 1) Doon Street; 2) 20 Blackfriars; 3) Kings Reach; 4) One Blackfriars; 5) Ludgate & Sampson House; 6) 40 Leadenhall; 7) 52 Lime Street; 8) Pinnacle; 9) 100 Bishopsgate; 10) The Hotel at Heron Tower; 11) One Crown Place. Image: Hayes Davidson

The view east from Waterloo Bridge, as published on The Guardian: 1) Doon Street; 2) 20 Blackfriars; 3) Kings Reach; 4) One Blackfriars; 5) Ludgate & Sampson House; 6) 40 Leadenhall; 7) 52 Lime Street; 8) Pinnacle; 9) 100 Bishopsgate; 10) The Hotel at Heron Tower; 11) One Crown Place. Image: Hayes Davidson

They also defend there are already too many towers with silly shapes, and condemn the fact there is no planning on it.

At the end of April, the Guardian listed the 10 worst London skyscrapers – new towers, built and imminent – with Oliver Wainwright asking: Will the new tower frenzy spoil London’s skyline which is so full of history?

The Strata, the fourth worst skyscraper, according to the Guardian.  Photo: R28B - http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:R28B&action=edit&redlink=1

The Strata, the fourth worst skyscraper, according to the Guardian. Photo: R28B – http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:R28B&action=edit&redlink=1

David Edwards, architect, took all the plans for skyscrapers and created a vision of the future skyline. Londontopia published his concept designs.

 

  • NLA study

Knowing 250 towers were on the way, NLA developed an Insight Study into tall buildings in London, examining the impact this growth will have on the capital. A Project Showcase is also available, presenting a selection of tall building projects being delivered by or for NLA Partners across the capital.

 

NLA study logo

NLA study logo

 

  • The mayor’s rulebook

The London Plan is the mayor’s rulebook for development across the capital. It supports tall buildings where they “create attractive landmarks enhancing London’s character, help to provide a coherent location for economic clusters of related activities and/or act as a catalyst for regeneration and where they are also acceptable

 

  • History

Changing is part of the time passing process, isn’t it? Londontopia published a beautiful gallery of pictures that illustrate how London’s skyline has changed since the 1600′s.

 

  • Festival of Architecture

Open until June 30 in several places, The London Festival of Architecture consists of a program delivered by partner organisations – leading cultural and academic institutions – alongside associated projects and open studios by architects, engineers, designers, artists, and curators. In 2014, the festival takes ‘Capital’ as its central theme, and explores its various manifestations; from London’s place as the UK’s seat of government and finance, its flows of social and intellectual capital, the politics of regeneration and its impact on the city and its position as a world capital of architecture, through its practices and its built environment.

 

  • Modern architecture in the City of London

A video by The City of London shows its modern architecture from street level to 230m into the skyline:

A fresh market for the pioneering Lower Marsh St

Lower Marsh is one of London’s oldest market streets, full of shops and stalls and extremely easy to get: it is a five-minute walk from Waterloo tube station, and an eight-minute from the London Eye.

From March 1st, it will hold the new Lower Marsh Saturday Market, from 10am to 3pm. It is a initiative by Waterloo Quarter BID (Business Improvement District), an organization comprised of local businesses to boost the area, economically and culturally.

They are promising the market will provide “an exciting variety of stalls selling fresh and quality produce and specialty ingredients”. It is expected to sell biodynamic fruit and vegetable, meat, charcuteries, bread, cake and desserts. To celebrate the latest market, independent local shops will offer promotions, festive menus and tastings.

In fact, recession has hit the street recently. Last year, it is known some shops, as a restaurant and a bookshop, closed down. BID seems to be working hard to negotiate with popular and good quality brands, in order to bring distinguished products to the market and make people spend time and money around there. The idea is to attract London’s best produce traders.

Lower Marsh 2

A little bit of history

The plate at the beginning of Lower Marsh says:

“So named because it lies on the site of the ancient Lambeth Marsh which first appeared in historical records in 1377. This historic street has operated as a street market and centre for local shopping since the mid-nineteenth century. In 1984 Lambeth council designated Lower Marsh and its immediate surroundings a conservation area in recognition of its special character.”

The www.lower-marsh.co.uk website says the street pre-dates all the buildings now present. In 1690, it was a lane lined with cottages; it helped to characterize south bank as a leisure area in the early 19th century; the opening of Waterloo Bridge (1817) brought development, expansion and, later, wharves and shops.

 

  • The Lower Marsh Saturday Market is on Twitter and Facebook. You can also read news about Waterloo on www.WeAreWaterloo.co.uk, a community website financed by local businesses and written and photographed by a group of Waterloo enthusiasts. Sign up to their newsletter and grab a free coffee at Greensmiths!