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Tall buildings

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Thursday 8 February 2007 7.24pm
Thinking about this proposed new building at 1-10 Blackfriars Road, I'm wondering what other significantly tall buildings (say, above 10 storeys) are planned for the SE1 area or nearby - other than Potters Field, which I know about from threads in this forum.

Because I'm new to the area I am not familiar with existing plans and building sites, and I am interested to get a sense of how the landscape and skyline are going to be altered over the next few years.

What is there that is actually under construction, and what else is planned?
Thursday 8 February 2007 9.15pm
Please see my thread on, for a comprehensive rundown of London projects (regularly updated) -

As you will see, the most significant projects for SE1 are as follows:

London Bridge Tower / Shard of Glass (310m)
20 Blackfriars Road (200m)
1 Blackfriars Road / Beetham Tower (175m)
Doon Street Tower (168m)
Multiplex Tower (147m)
First Base Tower (147m)
Kings Reach Tower redevelopment (127m)
New London Bridge House redevelopment (80m)

There are several "midrise" towers planned for Waterloo as well. Details are a bit sketchy but they include a redevelopment of Elizabeth House next to the station.

A panorama of the (possible) future skyline can be seen on the homepage of my personal website -

Hope that helps!
Thursday 8 February 2007 10.36pm
Even after the human race has colonised Mars, and the Martian fameless visit earth for there summer holiday to
See the quaint old planet they originated from.

The Nat West Tower will still look like crap.
Thursday 8 February 2007 10.59pm
I'm pretty amazed at how much development is planned. It will completely change the area. Good in terms of energizing local business, but potentially damaging to the existing culture of SE1, I'd have thought.
Thursday 8 February 2007 11.22pm
longlaner wrote:
potentially damaging to the existing culture of SE1, I'd have thought.

Why? Just because they are tall?
Friday 9 February 2007 8.44am
Not exactly. My impression, based on experience of living in New York and Chicago among other things, is that tall buildings generate extra street traffic, create shading problems and downdraughts, increase the nocturnal light levels, create problems of social sustainability, tend to fall foul of planning guidance, are constructed without proper regard for the needs of existing residents, compromise the built heritage and historic fabric of the city (in London's case, sites like St Paul's, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge), and are obvious targets for terrorism.

Moreover, they are often built for reasons of status rather than with much regard for architectural quality and development efficiency. The aesthetic of many tall buildings is corporate and brutalist; today's aesthetic preference may be tomorrow's aesthetic nightmare. Expensive tall buildings also have a marked impact on the demographic of an area.

I am aware of the many cogent reasons for constructing tall buildings, especially in brownfield dockland sites, and can see above all that they are likely to achieve urban regeneration. However, I think the regulatory process has become increasingly skewed to commercial interests, with scant understanding of the real social impact of such structures.
Friday 9 February 2007 9.42am
Bravo, longlaner. An unassailable argument. By 'downdraughts' do you mean the gales you have to try and walk against in New York?
Friday 9 February 2007 11.37am've summed it all up perfectly, some tall buildings are undeniably beautiful, i even like the shard...but not where they want to put it. And Palestra house has grown on me, lets keep some of old se1 otherwise no one will want to live here.
Friday 9 February 2007 1.03pm
Palestra is a good illustraton of Longlaner's points.
The Rochester estate is now in permanent shadow for four months a year (have a look at SE1 0XQ on Google Earth) and there is no TV reception - which is pretty harsh for the many people who can't afford cable/satellite. In the meantime two floors of offices are occupied and the developers were allowed to turn the 'community amenity' we were promised in the pod at the bottom (cafe/shop) into a reception.

Friday 9 February 2007 1.06pm
To add to what I said earlier: I'm slightly concerned by the economic optimism that informs so many of these projects. Remember the early history of Canary Wharf? It's all seen as a big success story now, but it was a white elephant for a long time - built in the flush of boomtime, then underoccupied when the recession hit.

Where are we right now in the economic cycle? What happens if there's an economic downturn before these new structures are completed? Clearly the construction of these buildings supports the economy, but I just wonder whether they are a fit response to London's housing and commercial needs, or whether they are a belated attempt to assert London's status as a "global city". This status is something that is self-evident already, and I think that some of these buildings threaten to make London more like other large cities rather than more individual and attractive. The Shard may be innovative and distinctive, but some of the other structures that are under construction or have been proposed don't seem to contribute anything positive to London's cultural identity, and their medium-to-long-term economic contribution is open to question too.
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