Shard is Londoners' second-favourite skyscraper

The Shard may be the capital's tallest building but it holds second place in the affections of Londoners to the Gherkin across the river in the City.

Shard is Londoners' second-favourite skyscraper

To coincide with the exhibition London's Growing… Up! The rise and rise of London's tall buildings, urbanism think tank New London Architecture (NLA) has conducted an in-depth poll in conjunction with Ipsos MORI to establish how Londoners feel about the increasing number of tall buildings planned for their capital.

The Norman Foster-designed 30 St Mary Axe, better known as the Gherkin, was chosen as Londoners' favourite building with 36 per cent from a selection of 13 tall towers

The Shard came second in the poll with the Strata SE1 tower achieving fifth place after The Leadenhall Building and One Canada Square.

When asked to consider the number of tall buildings in the capital relative to the 23 built in the past five years, 45 per cent felt that tall buildings had improved the London skyline.

"With London facing a 'housing crisis' and keen to grow economically, the onus tends to be on the quantity of new building," said Ben Marshall, research director at Ipsos MORI.

"Tall towers offer promise, but our new poll for New London Architecture underlines the importance the London public place on quality and design. Opinion is mixed – Londoners might like looking at tall towers, but they are less sure about living in them."

Peter Murray, chairman of NLA, added: "I am pleased to see that more people these days are in favour of tall buildings than against – well designed towers in the right place can enhance the skyline. Equally bad ones do the opposite. We must be vigilant.

"The quantity of buildings coming through the system is such that we need to make sure the right controls are in place, that is why we are calling for the Mayor to set up a London Skyline Commission to ensure that only best quality buildings get through the net."

The poll found that 37 per cent of Londoners would like fewer tall buildings built over the next 5 years than the last. 26 per cent would like to see more and 33 per cent feel the same number should be built.

When asked to consider the number of tall buildings in the capital relative to the 23 built in the past five years, 45 per cent felt that tall buildings had improved the London skyline. 40 per cent disagreed that there are too many tall buildings in London.

Most Londoners don't aspire to live in tall buildings. Young men proved the most likely to want to live in towers but were still heavily outnumbered by those not wanting to move upward. The figures also showed that seven out of ten over-34s were unwilling to live in high-rise towers.

London's Growing... Up! is a free exhibition and is on show at NLA's galleries at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT from 3 April to 12 June.

• Ipsos MORI interviewed 500 members of the public aged 16-64.

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