The Tallest Skyscrapers in London

European countries seems not very active in respect of construction of skyscrapers, high-rise buildings above 200 meters can be hardly found in most of European cities, with the exception of Frankfurt, La Defense, Moscow, Istanbul, Madrid, Milan, and London, these cities each has more than 2 buildings above 200 meters, not all of these cities keep constructing buildings though. London is the forerunner city of Europe in this respect, the city has 7 skyscrapers taller than 200 meters built as of 2016, only after Moscow, aside from those completed skyscrapers the city also has 12 projects with heights in the same range being built or proposed.

As to supertall skyscrapers which is the focus of this post, London temporally has 1 supertall completed, and another one is approved. All 2 supertalls are built or to be built in City Center district, while the majority of skyscrapers located in Canary Wharf, a district also called Isle of Dogs.

It seems strange for such a renowned city to has only one supertall built, but it does has many reasons behind this, the main obstructions for construction of skyscrapers in London comes from these factors:

First is preserving protected views, London has some famed places of interest like St Paul Cathedral, Towers of London, new skyscrapers built may block the views of these old buildings at some corners in the city.

Second, the citizen are mainly NIMBYs, they generally don't like modern style buildings, and they will complain that those skyscrapers blocking the sunshine.

Last and the most annoying one is the limitations set by Civil Aviation Authority, an authority similar with notorious Federal Aviation Authority in America, every skyscrapers to be built in London must comply with the requirements set by them.

Completed building:

The Shard

Standard height: 306 meters

Observation deck: 244 meters

Floor Count: 73 floors

Uses: Office, Observation, Residential, Hotel

Year completed: 2013

Location: Southwark

Architect: Renzo Piano

Developers: Sellar Property Group

The Shard was formerly known as London Bridge Tower as it situated in proximity to London Bridge, built in 2013, this pyramidal tower has become the new international symbol of London after Big Ben and London Eye. Standing at 306m, it is the 5th tallest building in Europe.

There's an open-air observation deck on 72th floor at a height of 245 meters.

 Proposed buildings:

1 Undershaft

Standard height: 290 meters

Height above sea level: 303 meters

Floor Count: 73 floors

Uses: Office, Observation, Museum

Estimated top out year: 2022

Location: City of London

Architect: Eric Parry Architects

Developers: Aroland Holdings

The tower was proposed in 2014, and approved in 2016 after the height reduction.

The tower was set to be 304 meters tall when first proposed, then it went though a few times of height cut due to the flight issue, finally reduced to 290 meters.

With an architectural height of 290 meters it is actually not a supertall building, but the plot where it will be standing at is 13 meters above sea level, with the help of this the peak of the tower is in fact only 4 meters lower than The Shard, additionally its highest occupied floor is higher than The Shard.

It's worth to mention that there will be a free observation deck set on its top floor, and it's higher than the one on The Shard.

Construction is set to begin in 2018, it may take 6 years to complete this building.

Oakwood Tower

Standard height: 300 meters

Roof height: 300 meters

Floor Count: 80 floors

Uses: Residential

Architect: PLP Architecture

Developers: University of Cambridge

This is a vision project proposed by PLP Architecture, but was widely reported by medias around the world in 2016, for its innovative conception.

Using timber as the material to build the building could save construction times and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Timber has been proved to be structurally viable and fire resistant, the architects believe timber could create a more relaxed and pleasing environment for urban spaces.

The vision had been presented to the Mayor, maybe one day London will really get something similar built.

Skyscrapers below 300 meters mark:

Since supertall towers are in the minority in London, what defined skyline of London are those shorter skyscrapers with heights of between 150m to 300m, and also London does see construction boom these years, so it's a must to mention some buildings above 200 meters here.

One Canada Square

One Canada Square with HSBC Tower
One Canada Square with HSBC Tower

Standard height: 235 meters

Total height: 235 meters

Built year: 1991

Location: Canary Wharf

Architect: César Pelli

Developer: Olympia & York

Prior to the completion of The Shard, One Canada Square had always been the tallest building in United Kingdom since 1991. The building was designed by Cesar Pelli, who best known for his work of Petronas Towers. One Canada Square is visually similar with World Finance Center in New York City partially for they were all designed by Cesar Pelli.

The tower is seen as a landmark of London, one reason is it had been owning the title of the tallest building in United Kingdom for more than two decades, another reason is that it has been featured in some high-profile films such as Harry Potter and Mission Impossible.

Heron Tower

London Heron Tower
London Heron Tower

Standard height: 230 meters

Roof height: 202 meters

Built year: 2011

Location: City of London

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox

Developer: Heron International

The tower officially known as 110 Bishopgate, the name Heron Tower is originated from the name of its owner Heron International, however this name is not favored by Salesforce, an anchor tenant of the building, so they set the official name to be 110 Bishopgate.

The tower stands 230 meters in total, for this it is 3rd tallest building in London, only after The Shard and One Canadian Square. But this height includes the 28m of a skinny spire, its roof height is only 202 meters.









122 Leadenhall Street

The Leadenhall Building
The Leadenhall Building

Standard height: 225 meters

Roof height: 225 meters

Built year: 2013

Location: City of London

Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Developer: The British Land Company; Oxford Properties

Also known as The Leadenhall Building and is nicknamed Cheesegrater for its distinctive wedge shape.

Completed in 2013, currently(2017) the building is still the most recently completed skyscraper building in London.

8 Canada Square

8 Canada Square
8 Canada Square

Standard height: 200 meters

Roof height: 200 meters

Built year: 2002

Location: Canary Wharf

Architect: Foster and Partners

Developer: HSBC

This building is located right beside the One Canada Square, the second tallest building in London, so it always appears in the picture of One Canada Square, like the one showed above. The building also known as HSBC Tower as it was developed and owned by HSBC, and the name logo is attached upon the uppermost section of the building.

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