Skyscraper

Skyscrapers have become a defining feature of London’s skies. Iconic buildings like the Shard and One Canada Square have become staples of the city, signifying its status as one of the world’s most impressive economic centres.

“Come to London!” they seem to announce. “The sky’s the limit!”

When it comes to architecture, and with skyscrapers particularly, there are always new heights to reach. It seems that every year more and more skyscrapers are announced throughout London, from the dominating company towers of Canary Wharf to the regeneration projects of areas like Paddington. Boroughs throughout the capital each have their own towers, and it looks like there will always be room for more.

Here are some of the upcoming London skyscrapers that we are most looking forward to!

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On Park Drive - To be completed 2017

One Park Drive, London’s first residential tower by global architectural giant Herzog & de Meuron, is set to be the heart of an urban development on the eastern end of Canary Wharf.

“The new tower will be both a symbol and the heart of a new urban quarter, an extension of a dynamic global community and the start of a new vibrant neighbourhood,” claims Ascan Mergenthaler, a senior partner at Herzog & de Meuron. 

The cylindrical shape of the skyscraper is somewhat of a red herring, with the stacked levels making the building seem almost like a jagged Jenga tower up close. The 468 new homes that it will provide will consist of studio as well as one, two and three bedroom apartments.

What really sticks out about this tower is how it will fit into what will be a bustling community. The mixed use development of which the tower is a part will eventually create new parks, amenities and entertainment, as well as over 100 shops. With the businesses and jobs of Canary Wharf so close by, the tower could become a perfect place for professionals and their families.

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Manhattan Loft Gardens - To be completed 2018

Despite its close proximity to Stratford International, ‘Manhattan Loft Gardens’ is set to be far more than a business stop or touristy hotel. In fact, its website describes it as “Europe’s most ambitious residential tower.”

At only 135m high, this skyscraper might not seem as “ambitious” as other entries on this list, but there’s more to a tower’s design than its height! 

The spaces that seem to be carved out of the tower will serve an important community function. Each open section will contain its own “sky garden”, an open green space which residents will be able to “enjoy throughout the four seasons.”

The 248 apartments that will be available at Manhattan Loft Gardens are designed to be “cutting-edge”, with the tower’s glass facade filling the interior with warm light. Both single storey and loft apartments will be available, with 13 designs to choose from.

Something truly “ambitious” about this tower is how it markets Stratford. The website boasts of the regeneration that has happened in the area since the 2012 Olympics and promises a “burgeoning fashion and arts scene” to prospective residents.

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One Undershaft - To be completed 2020's

It really says something about a building when it will literally tower over the competition. The 300m high skyscraper known as ‘the Trellis’ will rise over its shorter neighbours, which include the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater. 

Though not as tall as the Shard, the Trellis will still have more than enough to be distinctive. Its nickname is based on the criss-crossing pattern of the exterior. This was not merely an aesthetic choice: to make room for the many public spaces inside the tower, which will include a free public viewing gallery, the ‘core’ of the tower will have to be attached to the outside, necessitating the bronze cross-bracing on the exterior. 

The Trellis is set to provide 2000 square meters of retail space right in the heart of London, as well as 130,000 square meters of office space.

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One Merchant Square - To be completed 2018/2020

Move over Gherkin, there’s a new pickle coming to town!

At 150m, the Cucumber will not be as tall as its fellow veggie-themed-skyscraper, but it will be just as distinctive. The sharp vertical fins of the exterior seem to be holding in the rounded body of the building, prompting the Guardian to comment that it looked like it was “bursting out of its corset”.

Unlike some of the other skyscrapers on this list, the Cucumber is actually being built as part of a major redevelopment scheme. Once finished, it will be the tallest building in Westminster and will offer a sky bar, a boutique hotel and over 222 residential units.

“Each of the homes at 1 Merchant Square will be intelligently designed for contemporary living, from cleverly designed storage spaces to the latest lighting-control technology,” reads the Merchant Square Developments website. “Built to the highest specification, the apartments will be perfectly proportioned to create a sense of space and light throughout, finished using the finest quality materials from beautiful porcelain tiles to engineered timber flooring.”

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One Blackfriars - To be completed 2017

Nicknamed ‘the Vase’, this luxurious Bankside residential skyscraper has raised quite a few eyebrows. Once the building is finished, prices will start at £1.15m… for a one bedroom studio apartment!

The name and shape of this particular skyscraper were supposedly inspired by a Scandinavian vase in the private collection of the building’s architect. With absolutely zero straight lines or edges, the Vase sharply contrasts its more traditional looking neighbours.

One of the best things about the Vase is how well it uses its location. It sits just on the most northerly bend of the River Thames, in one of the busiest parts of Central London. The glass exterior of the building, which is made up of 5476 panels, will utilise this wonderfully, with the constant motion of the site literally reflected in the structure to make it look almost organic. The tower’s image will even alter throughout the day, with sunset giving the building a red glow and clear skies providing a beautiful tint of blue.

Unfortunately, apartments in the Vase will not come cheap. The illustrious ‘Kensington suite’ will be priced at an incredible £23m! 

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