London, the charming capital of the United Kingdom, possesses a glorious history. It truly depicts the inherent strengths of the British culture in the architecture. The city was a low-rise city till the last century. One or two-storied buildings with intricate carving and huge domes decorated the skyline in an elegant way. The situation changed in the last century when commercial towers and complexes emerged on the horizon. However, it was a soothing change in the overall appearance.
Today, it is a city of skyscrapers that keep on regularly sprouting in the central part and the outskirts. Earlier, it was a rare sight to spot a 100 meters building. Today, there are some tall buildings (some are even 200 meters high or more) that can be spotted very easily. Undoubtedly, it is a basic change in the skyline of this great city.
Experts believe that the trend of skyscrapers would increase further in the coming years. Unavailability of space, commercial needs and changing lifestyle force the developers to construct high-rise architectural masterpieces that transform the face of London forever.
Why is there a craze for sky-high towers?
The scarcity of place is one of the prominent reasons for tall buildings in London. Being the capital city and an important business center of the UK, business houses prefer establishing the corporate office in here. There is equally increasing pressure for residential properties due to the population increase. Expanding the limits of the city could be a solution. However, there are practical difficulties in implementing it. Government norms, land restrictions, and green belt regulations make the task tough. Hence, there isn’t any other feasible solution than rising high in the sky.
There is a preference for tall buildings by entrepreneurs today. The air is clean, and there is bright light on the upper floors. It provides a nice working environment to the employees resulting in a high productivity. Good working conditions improve the employee performance. Companies save significantly on the energy bill as well.
There is one more dimension of it. London is a preferred place for investing money in the real estate. Experts say that there are several opportunity areas in the city where investors will reap huge profits in the long run. Increasing demand for residential property forces builders to erect towers and mansions instead of row houses or independent bungalows.
It is a fact that the authorized London Plan doesn’t allow indiscriminate erection of huge buildings because it may destroy the beauty and charm of the city. Even, there are specific norms about protecting the view of the world-famous St Paul’s Cathedral and the Westminster Palace. They should be visible from a specific distance. Construction of buildings shouldn’t block the view.
According to the sociologists, it is important to protect the fragile social ecology of London by giving permissions for high-rise buildings with stringent environmental and aesthetic norms. The city of London has a distinct place in the world history. It is important to preserve the inherent character of it. Certainly, it isn’t possible to avoid modernization today. Transforming into a cosmopolitan society is the need of the day. However, it is critical for maintaining the identity of London.
Success story of skyscrapers in London
If we think about just three decades ago, then the word ‘high-rise’ had entirely different meaning associated in the context of London. They were buildings of moderate height with a limited number of apartments and there were no lifts. Today, London offers the best quality skyscrapers with well-furnished flats and state-of-the-art lifts. Builders offer luxurious towers and villas with ultra-modern amenities. Even if they are costly, the facilities set off the cost. Population growth puts a tremendous pressure on the availability of the real estate, and there is no other solution than building humongous properties.
There is an unbelievable increase of more than 50 percent if we compare the number of tall buildings constructed this year and the last year. The data has been verified from different sources like the Mayor’s office, other approving authorities and the revenue analysis department.
The lobby of builders and developers supporting the construction of high-rise buildings claim that the humongous buildings add a great value to the face of the city. It is a sign of prosperity and wealth. However, it is greatly important that the buildings are at the right place and fulfill the needs of the residents. Also, the architecture must gel well with the surrounding.
There are alarming signs as well
Some experts feel that there are big risks to the city if there is an unplanned development in chaotic manner. Tall buildings put a great pressure on the ecology. Hence, the permission shouldn’t be granted. Especially, construction of modern buildings in the South Bank area near Waterloo causes a great harm to the beauty of the city.
According to the town planning experts, London requires a special attention because it is a place with a special distinction. A single authority can’t have full rights to decide the fate of the city. It is necessary to construct high-rise buildings so that the increasing demand for space can be fulfilled; on the other side it is important that it doesn’t hamper the heritage and culture. The changes in the skyline are happening quite fast than expected. It becomes critical to look at it seriously so that necessary measures can be taken.
Though multi-storied buildings have followed the rules and regulations so far, and there isn’t a single case of violation. Even if there are twenty, thirty or even forty storied building are being constructed, enough focus is there on the quality of the design. Authorities say that the same trend will continue in the coming years. In spite of a phenomenal increase in the number, there will not be any damage to the face of London. If the city expands vertically in such a planned manner, then it is possible to manage the ever-increasing demand without disturbing the cultural balance. It is a good sign for both the investors and the builders.