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Environment / Climate change

5 oddly-shaped skyscrapers planned for London

Skyscrapers have trends, just like everything else. Of course, they move a little more slowly than fashion or food – it takes a lot longer to produce a Burj Khalifa than a ceviche or a peplum – but they’re just as pervasive. In Asia, for example, the big trends are towards “skinny” skyscrapers, or towers covered in plants.

But in London, it appears that architects have landed on “oddly-shaped buildings somewhat reminiscent of everyday objects” as their style of choice.There was the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, the Lady Shave, and the Walkie-Talkie. Now, after some post-crisis stalling, plans for a proposed building shaped like a can of ham seem to be back on track:

Image: Foggo Associates.

We’re not kidding. Look:

Construction will apparently begin later this year.

The Can isn’t the only oddly-shaped tower on the cards for London, however. There’s also One Merchant Square, near Paddington, which looks like one of those wire head massagers:

Left-hand image: European Land.

And One Blackfriars Road, which looks like a sail. Also, like it’s about to fall over. (Note for lawyers: it definitely isn’t.)

This one’s due to be completed at the end of 2017. Here it is, surrounded by some normal-looking buildings: 

It’s second to the – oh, you know which one it is. Image: Ian Simpson Architects.

“The Pinnacle”, which was to be the tallest building in the City, was another victim of the economic recession, and has been on hold since 2008. It might also have been a victim of the fact that it looks like a giant,  rolled-up newspaper:

Image: KPF.

If it does go ahead, there’s a chance the original designs will be changed, so keep your fingers crossed. 

The similarly-named “Quill” in Southwark was approved in 2010, and will be used as student accommodation when it’s finished (we don’t envy whoever lives in the roooms surrounded by spikes):

Image: Spparc Architecture.

We’ve no idea what this one looks like – answers to the usual address.

There’s an explanation for London’s enthusiasm for ugly-but-distinctive buildings. The city has a relatively low skyline, and anything extremely tall is unlikely to get planning permission. To combat that, architects attempt to ensure their proposed buildings will make interesting additions to the skyline.

So, we’ve ended up with a collection of squat towers with unexpected curves or bits jutting off them. Yay.
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