The expansion of the London skyline has sparked serious debate, weighing up the value of the city’s heritage and classic scenery with the importance of development and moving with the times. With news that more than 230 towers are soon to hit the capital, scrutiny over new buildings has never been more intense – but not all the structures springing up will be scraping the skies. We’ve taken a look at two very different buildings that are new for 2014: the loud and proud Leadenhall Building, and the quietly revolutionary refurbishment on Barnes Avenue.

The Leadenhall Building

Leadenhall Building Image credit: RSHP

Nicknamed The Cheesegrater for its distinct silhouette, The Leadenhall Building has been the talk of London Town this year. A joint venture of Real Estate Investment Trusts and Oxford Properties, it’s seen the attention of over 200 designers, each meticulously adding their piece to the puzzle.

From the exterior, the building looks to be sloped: respecting the planning requirements that protect views from London landmarks – specifically Saint Paul’s. Leaning away from the iconic dome, it achieves sky-scraping heights without spoiling the skyline.

The finished structure will serve as both an office and public space. Its spacious reception area leads into tall escalators directly into the building, and the tapered structure means there’s space for offices of varying shapes and sizes – a key factor in the client’s brief.

The real talking point of this building, though, is the triple-layer glass. With an outer layer separated from the inner double-glazed layer with a cavity of blinds that respond to the sun’s movement, this cleverly-constructed case ensures the space stays cool and comfortable throughout the day, while allowing air to flow freely. This means that there’s less need for artificial heat and air conditioning – often the highest energy usage in an office.

Style Council

Style Council is a project by KSKa Architects, and exemplifies the old-into-new trend that’s been dominating not just architecture but interior design, fashion and art.

A former council house from the years before World War One has been given a modern-day update. Not only has the building been revamped, new features and a green vision propel it straight into the future with an energy-efficient design.

Embracing its new eco-friendly status, it’s been expanded and kitted out with peek-a-boo bay windows and big, open spaces that allow light to flow through the house. Bamboo sliding screens and a private courtyard channel the natural theme, while a suspended staircase keeps the interior light and airy.

Style Council{image via KSKA}

Two very different structures with important things in common: they’re breaking the mould when it comes to modern day architecture, and they’re both aware of the importance of sustainability in creating long-lasting designs. While the Leadenhall Building is hitting the headlines, the innovation seen in the development of the Style Council is sure to have an impact on architects of the future.

If you want to find out more about sustainable architecture, modern architecture or going green in London, check out our selection of tours. We can even come up with your own bespoke programme to cover the bits you’re most interested in!