This London Tall Buildings Survey was published by New London Architecture (NLA) in April 2022. It is an annual publication, developed with research partner Knight Frank, delivering up-to-date figures and analysis of the London tall buildings pipeline and is part of the year-round NLA Tall Buildings programme, bringing together industry experts and the public to discuss one of the capital’s most debated topics.
By Peter Murray OBE, Curator-in-Chief, New London Architecture
This report was launched in the NLA’s temporary gallery in Stratford, one of a series of stops that the New London Model will make as it tours different parts of the capital while the city is in post-Covid recovery mode.
We chose Stratford because this year Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games which accelerated development and regeneration in the area. When the 2012 Olympics were awarded to London the site consisted of old railway lands, low rise sheds and giant heaps of scrap.
Today, it is a thriving and dense mixed-use neighbourhood with a cluster of tall buildings which announces its success far and wide on the local skyline. This reflects not only Games-driven growth but also the policies of the London Plan and the densification of Opportunity Areas right across the capital.
These areas are easily picked out on the NLA’s model: groups of taller buildings in White City, Elephant and Castle, Greenwich Peninsula and in the City of London reflect a sea change in the shape of the city.
The tall buildings policy in the latter part of the 20th century was to scatter them across the landscape—sometimes as urban markers but often randomly as sites became available.More recently they have been clustered around areas with good transport connections, creating a series of peaks across the otherwise low-rise city.
Whether or not we are going to see a reduction in the number of new towers in the future, the face of London has already changed irreversibly over the past two decades, and with a further 500 or so to come those changes will be even further reinforced.