As demand for space increases in London, increasingly architects are building towers as the capital’s sprawling metropolis gets higher and higher. But what is the impact of these rising towers in the capital?
If you call a building The Pinnacle, you’re inevitably going to be the butt of a few jokes. A 63 storey skyscraper at Brookfield, abandoned by developers at the height (no pun intended) of the recession it’s been left just seven storeys’ high.
Now the tower is back on the drawing board. The newly names 22 Bishopsgate will have space for over 12, 000 people, 1.3m sq ft of office space along with thousands of sq ft for restaurants, bars, shops and a viewing gallery. It will be, the developers promise, a “vertical city”.
It isn’t the only one. Skyscrapers, once the preserve of American cities, are increasingly becoming the norm in London. From The Shard to the Walkie Talkie new schemes are being embarked on as demand for new office space is rising. Construction activity has jumped by 24% as demand for office space reaches its highest level for 15 years.
The problem is that, at ground level at least, space is at a premium in London. There are enough challenges in terms of housing as supply fails to meet demand. A similar challenge is faced by multinationals looking to expand their office space as the economic mood brightens. The problem is, where do they go?
Up, appears to be the answer. The Leadenhall Building, Heron Tower, One Canada Square, each are part of a corporate culture that’s seeing offices go up, and up, and up.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Chicago based Council for Tall Buildings and the Urban Habitat, which keeps an eye on the world’s tallest buildings, just opened an office in London.
The group isn’t simply there to celebrate tall buildings in isolation. Instead they reflect on how well the designs fit in with urban environment surrounding them. Architecturally and socio-economically. One factor they have raised is the damage that can be done in the capital by just building apartment blocks with fancy pads bought by rich people. High rise buildings, should, they argue, be built for offices as that promotes a filtering and strengthens a hyperlocal economy; office workers and employees spend money in their local economy on food, drink and entertainment. You can also balance the development with public space, so the building feels as though it is for everyone.
Demand for space in London is always going to be high. With almost a generation of experience working with those relating and operating in the capital’s business world, Clarendon Serviced Apartments has watched the growth of the capital and rising demand centralised on this explosion in new offices with those looking for new office space as high as those looking for apartments. As Crossrail reaches its conclusion demand will rise even further, meaning even more office space will be needed for those who want to work in a central location.