London has always been at the forefront of new ideas, and that – of course – includes architecture. In our capital city we have some of the most beautiful and renowned buildings in the world; people come from thousands of miles away just to enjoy them. We also have some of the tallest buildings. The incredible feats of design and construction are a sight to behold; here are some of the best.
Not only is The Shard the tallest building in London, but it’s the tallest structure in the UK too (and the fifth tallest in Europe), which is impressive to say the least. With 87 floors (and 95 storeys) and rising 310 metres (1,016 feet) into the sky, it shouldn’t – and cannot – be missed.
The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano, an Italian architect, and it replaced the much smaller (24 storey) office block, Southwark Towers, which had been built in 1975. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in 2012, with the viewing deck on the 72nd floor opening to the public in 2013.
One Canada Square
One Canada Square is often called Canary Wharf, and this might be how you know it, but Canary Wharf is in fact the district in which this impressive structure stands, although the two names have become interchangeable; it is such a familiar sight that everyone will know what you mean if you talk about Canary Wharf in relation to the building itself.
One Canada Square is 236 metres (771 feet) high with 50 floors. It was designed by Cesar Pelli of Adamson Associates and Frederick Gibberd Coombes, and was built in 1991. They based their design on much older buildings including Elizabeth Tower and Brookfield Place, but the pyramid sitting atop is what makes this structure stand out, especially since it has a flashing aircraft warning light on it – this is rare for UK buildings.
110 Bishopsgate is the tallest building in the City of London itself. The building rises to 202 metres (756 feet), but with a 28 metre (92 feet) mast on the top, it really becomes a sight to see.
Once known as Heron Tower until a dispute with the tenant caused a ruling that changed this, 110 Bishopsgate was completed in 2011. It was designed by architects Kohn Pederson Fox and did attract some controversy due to its height and its proximity to Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
122 Leadenhall Street
Nicknamed ‘The Cheese Grater’, 122 Leadenhall Street is easily recognisable. It is 225 metres (738 feet) tall. Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, 122 Leadenhall Street was opened in 2014.
The design is certainly a unique one, and does indeed bear a striking resemblance to a cheese grater, but it was also designed to be a modern, dynamic working building, and this it has achieved whether the design is to your taste or not.
Newfoundland Quay is a new (2019) residential building on the Isle of Dogs, and it is now one of the tallest structures in London, rising 220 metres (722 feet). The building is 58 storeys tall and is mostly for residential use, although there are some business premises within it – mainly retail – and car parking too.
Crystal Palace Transmitter
At 219 metres (720 feet), this transmitter can be seen for miles around. It was built in the 1950s and was the tallest structure in London until 1991 and the building of One Canada Square. It was built in the ruins of Crystal Palace.
8 Canada Square
We head back to the Canary Wharf district for this entry into the list. 8 Canada Square is a 200 metre (655 feet) structure with 42 floors, and is recognised as the joint sixth tallest structure in the UK. You might know it is the HSBC Tower and that’s how many people refer to it; around 8,000 HSBC staff work there.
It was designed by Sir Norman Foster’s team of architects and took from January 1999 to 2002 to be built.
25 Canada Square
Matching its neighbour 8 Canada Square, 25 Canada Square is also 200 metres (655 feet) tall. This might be more recognisable as the CitiGroup Centre 2 (CitiGroup Centre 1 is at 33 Canada Square). It was designed by Cesar Pelli and Associates and is 45 storeys high. Work began in 1998 and was completed in 2001.