That’s the subject up for discussion tonight at a debate organised by New London Architecture and the London School of Economics as part of the London Festival of Architecture.
There are now proposals for over 230 new tall buildings to be built in London over the next decade. Headlines tend to focus on the skyscrapers being built for commercial use, such as the ‘Cheesegrater’ (the Leadenhall Building) or the ‘Walkie Talkie’ (20 Fenchurch Street). Yet, as we reported on this blog, the construction of tall buildings in the City of London is likely to slow over the coming years and, in fact, 80% of the proposals are for residential buildings.
There’s a fascinating panel assembled to debate the issue, including Julia Barfield of Mark Barfield Associates, perhaps best known for their work on the London Eye, as well as Sarah Gaventa, an associate at RSH+P, the architects responsible for the Leadenhall Building. They’re joined by Nicholas Boys Smith, director of Create Streets, who argue for the building of streets and homes over multi-storey estates; Nicky Gavron, chair of the Planning Committee at the London Assembly, who is well-regarded for her environmental expertise; Rowan Moore, architecture critic for the Observer, Tony Travers, director of LSE London and Paul Finch, programme director of the World Architectural Festival.
But perhaps the meeting we’re most looking forward to is between Simon Jenkins of the National Trust, who has been a vocal critic of the lack of planning surrounding high rise developments in the capital and Sir Edward Lister, who as deputy mayor for planning and policy at the Greater London Authority has responsibility for the ‘London Plan’, which supports the development of tall buildings within Central London.
Tickets for the event are sold out but the event will be live webcast on the LSE site, and should be available as a podcast later this week. You can follow the debate on Twitter, as we will be using the hashtag #londonskyline.