By Ruben Martinez

On a global scale, the United Kingdom simply doesn’t compete with having any significantly tall buildings. In fact, the UK’s tallest building is not even a third as high as the world’s tallest man made structure (Burj Khalifa – Dubai).

However, The City of London is planning to expand vertically into the skyline with a collection of brand new buildings with some very interesting architecture. The largest of which is known as ‘Shard London Bridge’, which is estimated to be completed by 2012 and be 310m high.

Following this will be the ‘Pinnacle’, which can clearly be seen as the tallest building in the artist’s impression of 2012 London above. Pinnacle is expected to be 288m high, which Is 53 metres taller than the current tallest London building – One Canada Square.

The ten tallest buildings in the UK:

  • One Canada Square, London – 235m
  • Crystal Palace Transmitter, London – 219m
  • Citigroup Centre London – 200m
  • HSBC HQ, London – 200m
  • BT Tower, London – 191m
  • Tower 42, London – 183m
  • Gherkin, London – 181m
  • Broadgate Tower, London – 161m
  • One Churchill Place, London – 156m
  • 25 Bank St. London – 153m

The main reason behind London’s interest in vertical expansion is to counter act the bid rent theory, which suggests that land value increases as you move towards the centre of a city, it is therefore more economical to build taller buildings to maximise the volume of office or residential space whilst keeping land coverage to a minimum.

It will be interesting to see how far London can carry on expanding vertically into its skyline as the majority of London is situated on wet and clay soils which are not ideal for building sky scrapers on, in fact if you look at a profile of New Yorks skyline you can see a dip in the height of sky scrapers between the two main metropolitan districts – this is due to a change from hard rock to a wet clay lithology, which limits the maximum height of buildings.

One of the positive outcomes of these developments are the focus on creating the buildings to be environmentally friendly, which may be an extremely appealing factor for anyone looking for guilt free residence or office space. Although most of these new builds plan to be commercial based, it is thought that at least one skyscraper will be dedicated as part residential to accommodate the increasing population growth, this kind of accommodation will likely be more affordable than traditional City of London housing as a result of the maximisation of space and minimisation of bid rent that a skyscraper has.