London to expand upwards not outwards

London is set to join other skyscraper cities in the future by building upwards, with many taller buildings now planned.

In the general scale of things, London isn’t viewed as a ‘skyscraper city’ like Chicago or New York, but things seem to be changing for the taller. The City of London may have a few tall buildings, but its tallest, One Canada Square only measures a third of the height of the world’s tallest – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

London now has a genuine hunger for tall, towering buildings with unusual and beautiful architecture. Plans so far include the ‘Shard London Bridge’ to be 310m high, and also the ‘Pinnacle’, planned to be 53m taller than One Canada Square. Both buildings are to be completed by 2012.

The main reason for such vertical expansion is no different to any other city. Space is becoming tighter and prices for land are increasing with the high demand. So it makes sense to build vertically rather than outwards and pay for more space on the ground. This trend is true both for commercial premises and residential, we all need somewhere to live as well as work.

However some say London is not the ideal city to build skyscrapers on, the capital sits on a type of soil which is wet and clay-like. This is not the idea material to support large, tall buildings. Areas of New York have the same type of soil, and there are limits to building height in those areas.

The new tall buildings are to be more eco-friendly too, a selling point for those looking for environmentally sustainable premises. The less horizontal space a building takes means more room for green spaces in between, and as the requirements for buildings and responsibility change, this will become more apparent in new developments.

The plans certainly show an exciting future for London, and will prove that sustainable and economical use of space is the way forward for commercial property.