Can you name these London buildings?
Historically, Londoners have been resistant towards the idea of skyscrapers. However, the past decade has seen this resistance towards large buildings fade as city developers come to embrace more post-modern high rise structures.
Now ten years on since the completion of the iconic Gherkin, a few more quintessentially London buildings have joined it in altering the skyline for the foreseeable future. Love them or hate them, the Shard, the Cheesegrater, the Walkie-Talkie and the Lipstick, are here to stay.
Get to know your London skyline:
The Gherkin – Perhaps one of the most recognizable buildings in the City of London, The Gherkin at 30 St. Mary Axe has graced the skyline for a decade. Standing at 180 meters, the building was the vision of renown British firm Foster + Partners and was a design by Ken Shuttleworth, the man behind the Millennium Bridge and City Hall. Like many newer London buildings, The Gherkin received a lot flak from critics and was called everything from “Bullet,” to “pine cone,” and even less pleasant comparisons to phallic symbols. Despite the initial controversy, the Gherkin has become one of the most loved towers in the entire city.
The Shard – Completed last year, ‘The Shard of Glass’ towers over everything around it. Standing at 309.6 meters or more than 1000 ft, it is the tallest building in the European Union. It was designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano, and is covered by some 11,000 glass panels. Additionally, the building is said to be constructed mainly of recycled materials. There is also a privately run observation deck, The View from the Shard, which allows visitors to view London from its 68, 69 and 72 floors. However, it may not hold the record for very long once the planned Hermitage Plaza by Norman Foster is completed in Paris in two years time.
The Cheesegrater – Standing next to the Gherkin, the so called “Cheesegrater” at 122 Leadenhall Street is one of London’s newest buildings. The wedge shaped structure which is due to be completed next month dwarfs the nearby Gherkin at 255 meters in height. The building was designed by British architect Richard Rogers, who is known for his hi-tech and functionalist aesthetic. One the best known examples of Rogers’s work is the innovative Lloyd’s Building, an inside-out building that is a London landmark in itself.
The Walkie-Talkie – With its distinct wide shape, the Walkie-Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street is difficult to miss. Designed by award winning Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, it is the latest addition to the London skyline and will feature a public viewing garden on its uppermost decks. Reaching 160 m in height, it is the fifth tallest structure in the City of London.
Strata SE1 – Once referred to as “the Lipstick” by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Strata is a relatively recent addition to Elephant & Castle. It stands an impressive 148 meters and was designed by Andy Spencer in a nod to ‘Revolutionary urban living.’ Completed in 2010, sustainability was a major focus of its developers and the building was the one of the first in the world to incorporate wind turbines into its structure. While it the actual functionality of the turbines is left to debate (locals say the turbines rarely rotate due to the loud noise they create and the high costs of maintenance), Strata still represents a positive step towards greener and more self-sustaining buildings.