Cranes In The Sky

Skyscraper construction in the Square Mile is booming and as more cranes continuously pop up along the London skyline, we take a look at what our city is set to look like in 2026.

Despite all of the Brexageddon talk that London’s economy would suffer blows, London’s skyline continues to rise. The Square Mile is set for 13 new skyscrapers which have either begun construction or are set to start this year. By 2026 the block of land between Golden Lane Estate, Fleet Street and Aldgate will look very different.

“It is unprecedented to see such a scale of development taking place at one time in the Square Mile…There are now more cranes in the City sky than in recent decades”, stated Chris Hayward, the chair of the planning committee at the City of London Corporation.

Square Mile by 2022 - Cranes In the Sky

Square Mile by 2022 – Cranes In the Sky

The four main buildings that we associate with the skyline of the Square Mile are the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin, the Heron Tower and Tower 42.

The Walky-Talky building is the slightly unwelcome addition to this area best known for melting cars.

The Gherkin is probably the most recognisable of the bunch. The bullet-like structure stands at 180 metres and is also relatively new, being finished in 2003. The creation of Foster + Partners and Arup Engineers, this building is symbolic of London’s more contemporary architecture.

The Gherkin - Cranes In The Sky

The Gherkin – Cranes In The Sky

The Leadenhall Building, or the Cheesegrater as it’s often called, was finished in 2013 by Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners and stands at 225 metres making it the fourth tallest building in London.

The Heron Tower is the third highest at 230 metres. Officially known as 110 Bishopsgate, it can be spotted by it’s distinctive mast popping out at the top. The engineer behind it again was Arup Engineers and the architect was Kohn Pedersen Fox.

Tower 42 is the oldest building, being completed in 1980 and it is often called the Natwest building. The building is host to a mixture of things with some offices, restaurant facilities and a sky-high bar at the top which HEKKTA visited just a few weeks ago! The views are really quite impressive.

So what new constructions are set to intrude on these four towers?

The Trellis

1 Undershaft will be the City of London’s tallest skyscraper and has been designed by Eric Parry Architects. The building has a rather simple design with crossbrace-patterned facades, which some may say is boring. However, HEKKTA likes it’s simplicity as it sits right amongst it’s neighbours in the sky. A good addition we say!

The Trellis - HEKKTA - Cranes In The Sky

The Trellis – HEKKTA – Cranes In The Sky


22 Bishopsgate has adopted Twentytwo as it’s nickname for now and is one of the tallest ongoing projects. The original design was a little taller and, in our opinion, a little bit better but the designers gave it a three storey haircut so now it is set to stand at 278 metres. Designed by PLP Architecture, they have created it with the worker in mind but also your average joe with the plan to include a free public viewing platform at the top. It has the desire to become the city’s first vertical village. Click here to watch a short video on the building philosophy.

22 Bishopsgate - HEKKTA - Cranes In The Sky

22 Bishopsgate – HEKKTA – Cranes In The Sky

The Scalpel

Following along the lines of the Shard, Kohn Pedersen Fox are set to build a 206-metre tall skyscraper on Lime Street. The sharp edges and glass exterior make for a striking design, but one we feel would look good amongst the more box-shaped buildings currently in construction. It will be home to the European headquarters for insurance company W. R. Berkley Corporation.

The Scalpel - HEKKTA - Cranes In The Sky

The Scalpel – HEKKTA – Cranes In The Sky

6-8 Bishopsgate

This intriguing shaped building by WilkinsonEyre¬†will stand at 185 metres and has put sustainability at the heart of it’s design and functionality, with two small mid-rise gardens incorporated into the building aswell as several low energy features. The staggered blocks were designed in such a way so that the new build responded to it’s urban context.

6-8 Bishopsgate - HEKKTA - Cranes In The Sky

6-8 Bishopsgate – HEKKTA – Cranes In The Sky

70 St Mary Axe

This one we’re not too sure on. The plan to build this ‘Can of Ham’ was halted for six years because of financial troubles during the global financial crisis but it is back on! The design leaves a lot to be desired it must be said and it sticks out like a sore thumb (actaully looks a bit like one too) next to the sharp, more modern feel of it’s neighbours.

Designed by Foggo Associates, the studio established by former Arup Associates partner Peter Foggo, the arched profile of the tower was designed in order to respect existing views through the City of London. Whilst we’re not sold, it will be interesting to see how the building takes shape.

Can of Ham - HEKKTA - Cranes In The Sky

Can of Ham – HEKKTA – Cranes In The Sky

Make Architecture are also pretty busy with two new builds for the City of London in the 182.7-metre 1 Leadenhall Street and also an 170-metre tall cluster building at 40 Leadenhall Street.

Others include:

100 Bishopsgate Tower by Allies and Morrison standing at 181 metres.

2-3 Finsbury Avenue scheme by Arup Engineers

150 Bishopsgate by MSMR Architects

130 Fenchurch Street by Farshid Moussavi Architecture

10 Fenchurch Street by Eric Parry Architects

80 Fenchurch Street by TP Bennett

“The City’s occupier base is becoming more dynamic, with SMEs and media companies choosing the Square Mile as their home,” said Hayward. “I am particularly proud that we are able to make available economically inclusive spaces with free public viewing galleries in City skyscrapers.”

“Over the next 30 years I expect that we will need to deliver office space for up to 100,000 extra City workers,” he added.

“Therefore iconic buildings such as TwentyTwo will lead the way in ensuring the City remains competitive as a leading financial centre.”

Future certainly looks bright for London’s financial district.

London 2026 Skyline from Waterloo Bridge

London 2026 Skyline from Waterloo Bridge