New London Architecture

London's Tall Buildings Survey 2020

Member Download Preview
This NLA Research Paper was published by New London Architecture (NLA) in April 2020. 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.

Excerpt from the foreword

We saw a record level of tall building completions in 2019, underlining the realisation that London can no longer be described as a low rise city. Even if there is a drop in levels of construction as we face an uncertain economic future because of Brexit and Covid 19, the skyline has been forever changed in accommodating the significant growth that the capital has experienced over recent decades.

I was recently looking out across London from the tenth floor boardroom of Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration delivery company, in east London. The horizon is sawtoothed with tall buildings: viewed from a distance clusters of towers overlap to form a regimented line; closer to, they break up into their local groups—Canary Wharf, the South Bank, Nine Elms, City of London, City Road, Stratford.

Nowhere illustrates the distribution of towers better than the NLA’s model of London. Largely located in Opportunity Areas as set out in the London Plan they form mountainous clusters set among the foothills of more traditional housing. This form of development is likely to continue—more higher-density homes around areas of good public transport with large swathes of lower density homes left untouched, bar the view from their bedroom windows.

Other aspects are changing—the post-Grenfell fall out will alter the way towers are designed, built and maintained; the lack of skilled workers and the demand for numbers will mean more buildings will use modern methods of construction while the new London Plan expects buildings to show greater respect for local character. Decisions on their location will be taken by the boroughs rather than City Hall.


By Peter Murray, Curator-in-chief, New London Architecture

Executive summary infographics

Pipeline Analysis
Key trends and overview
Locations of tall buildings. London sub-regions and borough analysis
– Ealing
– Greenwich
– Haringey
Planning, constructions and completions analysis

Policy & Regulation: A new landscape in London
Fire safety: Grenfell changes everything
Planning: Power to the boroughs
Design quality: It’s more than just good looks
Better neighbours: Social and environmental responsibility
Net zero: There’s a new agenda

Project Showcase




Published April 2020
109 Pages

Member Download Preview

Tall Buildings


Programme Supporters

GL Hearn


Access the entire NLA library, exclusive webinars, free conference tickets and more, when you join NLA as a member

NLA offer thousands of hours of CPD points per year

Personal membership starts from £5-20 a month
Become a member


What’s driven our changing skyline?


What’s driven our changing skyline?

Ahead of our 'London’s Growing Up! A decade of building tall’ report launch, Brian Smith of AECOM discusses the evolutio...

Contrasting styles


Contrasting styles

Karen Cook of PLP Architecture led the design team for 22 Bishopsgate – the tallest tower in the Square Mile – and is de...

Watch video
The City denies it will be converting offices to Resi


The City denies it will be converting offices to Resi

In this interview, Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness tells Peter Murray that recent press headlines on stories about the...

Watch video

Stay in touch

Upgrade your plan

Choose the right membership for your business

Billing type:
All prices exclude VAT
View options for Personal membership