New London Architecture

NLA is 15 from the team: Catherine Staniland, Director

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Catherine Staniland

Catherine Staniland

Director. NLA

When NLA’s London’s Growing Up! launched in 2014 there was one figure that grabbed everyone’s attention - 236 tall buildings were planned for London. It was the first time anyone had any idea of how many tall buildings were in the pipeline - even the GLA at the time - and it sparked a massive amount of debate and discussion, across London and the globe. 

This was a key moment to me that really put NLA on the map.
 
We had originally been planning a public exhibition to showcase the new clusters of tall buildings rising up across the city when a conversation with our partners at GL Hearn sparked the idea of coming to a figure - how many tall buildings were being planned to join London’s skyline? Together, our teams brought together a mass of data available through the planning portals of local authorities, together with published and unpublished future plans for developments. At least 236 tall buildings, which we defined as 20 storeys or more, were being designed, going through the planning system or in construction across London.
We opened the exhibition in April 2014 in our galleries at The Building Centre, showcasing models, plans and images of London’s new tall buildings - I remember the whole team chipping in to get everything ready in the final hours and minutes before we opened, as they have done on many occasions over the years! On launch day we had reporters from around the world lining up to interview Peter Murray and the team on the new wave of towers planned for London; while over the three months of the exhibition, we were visited by politicians, councillors, professionals, Londoners, tourists, international delegations, universities, and school groups. In my now 11 years at NLA (beginning in 2009 as an intern, spending much time dusting the London model!) this was one of the most popular exhibitions we hosted. A huge public debate with LSE and Centre for London, chaired by Sarah Gaventa and including Julia Barfield, Paul Finch, Simon Jenkins, Rowan Moore and Nicky Gavron, had 1,000 people in the room to debate ‘Does London need more tall buildings?’. The debate captured the imagination of so many.
 
Our London Tall Buildings Survey is now an annual part of the calendar, and today that figure stands at 525 buildings over 20 storeys in the pipeline. The number no longer seems to shock people - tall buildings are a much more common part of the London skyline - and our analysis has broadened to look at the locations, uses, and integration of those tall towers into their neighbourhoods, as well as the impact that the disaster at Grenfell will have on tall buildings of the future.
As with all our best work at NLA, London’s Growing Up! was a product of collaboration with our members, and we still work with all those companies and individuals today - including Shaun Andrews at GL Hearn, who now at Nexus Planning is working with us to develop our Wellbeing programme, and Stuart Baillie, who in his new role at Knight Frank has worked with us to develop our research in its most recent iteration, and chairs our NLA Expert Panel on Tall Buildings. Caro Communications, who supported the PR on the exhibition, are long time collaborators and friends.
 
Peter Murray and NLA are often put in the pro tall buildings camp during TV debates, but our aim has always been to provide the forum for an open and informed debate. Our position has always been that quality towers, respectful of their context, have their place in the city - and we have long called for greater 3D digital modelling to provide greater clarity to all in decision making.

I’m very proud of the role that NLA plays in providing a forum for that debate, the way our whole team pulls together to make anything happen, and our part in capturing the imagination of all those who care about London.

London Tall Buildings Survey 2020

You can download the most recent London Tall Buildings Survey here


Catherine Staniland

Catherine Staniland

Director. NLA


Tall Buildings

#NLATallBuildings

Programme Champion

Knight Frank

Programme Supporters


Recent

Thank you to our Awards Expert Assessors & International Jury

News

Thank you to our Awards Expert Assessors & International Jury

Teams of expert assessors from across the industry, review hundreds of submitted projects on behalf of the New London Aw...

Five minutes with… Robert Gordon Clark, chairman and partner, London Communications Agency

News

Five minutes with… Robert Gordon Clark, chairman and partner, London Communications Agency

David Taylor catches up with London Communications Agency’s Robert Gordon Clark to talk about the state of London, elect...

Urbanist Platform x NLA: Interview with Assistant Director Alexander Smith

News

Urbanist Platform x NLA: Interview with Assistant Director Alexander Smith

To conclude our Black History Month campaign, we are pleased to share the thoughts of Assistant Director at Deloitte UK,...

Stay in touch

Upgrade your plan

Choose the right membership for your business

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