Before-and-after images show how the city will change if every planned tower gets built.

A grand total of 436 new skyscrapers could be heading for London soon. Of this tally, 114 are at the pre-planning stage, 233 have received approval prior to construction, and 89 are actually being built. Now, thanks to a new set of extremely detailed renderings, we have an idea what this high-rise future for London may actually look like.

This is what you currently see when look eastwards from the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral:

The current view eastwards from St. Paul’s Cathedral. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)

And here is the same view eastwards after all currently approved construction has taken place:

The same if all towers currently approved are built. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)

The predictive renderings reveal a spikier London where high towers should be visible from almost every corner of the city center. So scattered are London’s tallest buildings, in fact, that the renderings don’t even show them all clearly. One major cluster is located further east, in the redeveloped docklands of Canary Wharf. If you go look for the tower on the furthest right of the picture—the notorious Walkie-Talkie, aka London’s Worst Building—you can spot it rising in the far distance.

Despite this liberal scattering of towers, the predictive renderings nonetheless show a London skyline starting to take a little more shape. In the near future, London’s center looks set to develop two relatively contained concentrations of towers: one in the City of London, and the other south of the river along Blackfriars Road. The recent decision to cancel plans for a tall, Renzo Piano-designed tower much farther west in Paddington suggests that it may get tougher to secure planning permission for skyscrapers outside this zone.

The current view southwards from St. Paul's Cathedral. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)

But will this new high-rise London really come about? There’s a clear imbalance between the number of towers still in the planning pipeline and the number actually under construction, suggesting the possibility that not all developers will necessarily act on the plans they have submitted. Towers that have provisional approval can face legal challenges further down the line.

The view southwards from St. Paul’s if all approved tower construction is completed. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)

This is already happening to 22 Bishopsgate, the tallest tower visible in this post’s second picture, which may face legal challenges blocking its construction. The 295-meter (968-foot) high tower may be halted by neighbors using “right-to-light” rules to ensure their properties are not too overshadowed. In an amusing twist, it seems that among the chief objectors are, in fact, other skyscrapers, as the area’s other sunlight-hoggers get a taste of their own medicine.

London as it looks from St. Paul’s now. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)
London from St. Paul’s as it may look after new tower construction. (Visualhouse and Dan Lowe)

But while the exact number and location of London’s future skyscrapers may not yet have been carved in stone, the ongoing transformation of the city’s skyline is all but guaranteed. London’s future will clearly be higher and more instantly eye-catching. Will it be better? We shall have to wait and see.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. an aerial view of Los Angeles shows the complex of freeways, new construction, familiar landmarks, and smog in 1962.
    Transportation

    The Problem With Amazon’s Cheap Gas Stunt

    The company promoted its TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with a day of throwback 1959-style prices in Los Angeles. What could go wrong?

  2. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. a photo of the L.A. Metro Expo Line extension
    Life

    Why Can’t I Take Public Transit to the Beach?

    In the U.S., getting to the beach usually means driving. But some sandy shores can still be reached by train, subway, and bus.

  5. A photo of a Lyft ride-hailing vehicle.
    Transportation

    How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?

    A new analysis by the ride-hailing giants sheds some light on a long-asked question about their congestion impacts on U.S. cities.

×