Getting High: The Fantabulous Skyscrapers Coming To London

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
10th April 2019

Skyscrapers are to London as ukuleles are to Mumford & Sons, however much you flipping hate them, they really are an essential ingredient. The last decade has seen the unprecedented rise and high-rise of the skyscraper, as London transforms from a low-rise city where the views are dictated by an archaic rule about how easy it is to see St Paul’s from Richmond Park (really, it’s a thing, the view from King Henry VIII’s Mound in Richmond Park to St Paul’s Cathedral is, for some reason), to a modern metropolis where towers loom together like conspiring giants.

So what megalithic monsters do we have to look forward to? Here are some of the towers headed out way…

The Can Of Ham

Yep, real name. But that’s hardly surprising when we’ve had the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater. And, true to form, the new 24 storey tower does resemble a tin of spam. At least, if you sort of squint your eyes a little bit. The shape is intended to protect views, with the rounded top making it easier for neighbours to see past the curved buildings.

Chelsea Waterfront

Development is well underway at Chelsea Waterfront, with the longer of the two towers already open while the stumpier one is continuing to rise beside the old power station. Flats have been flying off the shelves, priced from just £2.5m. The 25 and 37 storey buildings are nearing completion, so expect sky high dinner parties to be a feature in Fulham reality show Made In Chelsea.

One Nine Elms

One Nine Elms (not 19 Elms) is due to complete in 2020 and is presumably the reason they keep shutting the Wandsworth Road, sending me on crazy diversions of an evening. The 58 floor tower will include some of the tallest residential properties in town, as well as offices and a hotel and adds to the influx of South London skyscrapers.

Due to complete in 2019

Landmark Pinnacle

Anyone labouring under the impression that the last thing Canary Wharf needs is more towers would be sorely wrong, it’s clearly exactly what it needs, and Landmark Pinnacle is here to help. The 75 storey building will house around 1,000 flats, perfectly placed for all the bankers to take a lift journey nearly as long as their walk to work.

The Cucumber

Said to resemble a cucumber, though it could equally be described as one of those ribbed condoms, though that might not work as well for the marketing, One Merchant Square has received approval and is awaiting a completion date. If and when finished (ambitious statements suggested this year) it’ll be Westminster’s tallest building. Ooh, and it promises to have a sky bar too.

The Stage, Shoreditch

“To be or not to be?”, not the planning application for The Stage but a call-back to the site’s historical significance as the home of Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre. Now being transformed into a 37 storey complex including flats and offices, it also, rather pleasingly full-circle-y, features a theatre.

The Stratford Hotel & Lofts

First Holborn attempted to re-brand itself as as ‘Midtown’ with all the success of anyone who ever tries to re-invent their own nickname, and now New York has again provided the inspiration for what we hope isn’t a Stratford re-brand, Manhattan Loft Gardens. Positioned with CrossRail clearly in mind so allowing a quick escape from Manha-I-mean-Stratford, the 42 storey tower is nearly complete and due to open this year.

Update: We were right! They’ve just changed the name to The Stratford Hotel & Lofts, farewell Manhattan!!

One Park Drive

It might sound like a deadly boring address in suburbia, but One Park Drive is actually a residential 58 storey Isle of Dogs tower. Looking a little like it’s constructed from stickle bricks (are they still on?), the cylindrical tower will house 468 flats and is set to complete in 2019.

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