Skyscraper Boom Over

The boom era for skyscrapers in London is over, according to at least one architect. Ken Shuttleworth, the architect in charge of the design team behind the Gherkin office building, says that “The age of bling is over” and that in future office space will be built in a much smaller form.”Money now drives everything, so if you can build something for half the price, you will,” he claims, adding that “austere and efficient ‘groundscrapers'” are now more on the agenda than skyscrapers. “The tall glass box is dead,” he insists.

Despite Shuttleworth’s claims, however, others in the industry most assuredly do not agree with his assessment, which looks somewhat dubious given the recent opening of the Heron Tower and several other towers, such as the Pinnacle, also under construction as the price for offices to rent in London reaches epic proportions due to high demand and lack of availability.”You need tall buildings not only for sustainability reasons, but because the population is increasing,” says the lead structural engineer on the Shard, WSP Cantor Seinuk’s head of structural engineering Kamran Moazami. Construction information service Emap Glanigan also points out that there are many more tower projects on the way for London, with more than 49 currently in development.

The planning officer for the city of London, Peter Rees, also doubts the veracity of Shuttleworth’s claims.”I doubt we have seen the last application to build a tall building in the city,” he notes, while admitting that lower developments have become somewhat more popular of late.

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