Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Tuesday, 22 May 2018

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LONDON - NBBJ’s London Studio hosted a CTBUH United Kingdom Chapter event discussing the insightful and topical subject of, “Are London’s Viewing Corridors Protecting or Prohibiting our City’s Growth?”

The evening began with drinks and welcome speech by CTBUH UK Future Leaders Committee Programs Manager James Pinkerton, NBBJ Architect and event organizer. New London Architecture (NLA) Chairman and Wordsearch Life President Peter Murray opened and mediated the discussion with an insightful talk on the ways in which tall buildings can be incorporated contextually within the historic fabric of London.

The opening speaker for the evening, Annie Hampson OBE, Chief Planning Officer and Development Director at The City of London, began with a focus on the history and development of tall buildings within the Square Mile. Hampson highlighted various examples of buildings that have responded to and been physically shaped by London’s viewing corridors, such as 122 and 100 Leadenhall. She also presented a video demonstrating the powerful use of technology in visualizing the existing lines of sight, enabling the audience to see London from each of the 12 viewing corridor perspectives, and to get an idea of how future developments within the city will sit within the current context and fabric of the area.

CTBUH UK Future Leaders Committee Programs Manager James Pinkerton, Architect, NBBJ, delivers the welcoming speech for the evening (left); David Lewis, Partner, NBBJ, presents a design study of the impact of London’s planning restrictions.

The second speaker of the evening, David Lewis, Partner at NBBJ, discussed how computational design tools developed by the practice can be used to analyze data, in order to design tall buildings within London’s constraints. Lewis presented a number of design studies showing how NBBJ has used London’s planning restrictions, such as viewing corridors, to positively influence design processes. Along with this, Lewis presented NBBJ’s own 3D London model, showing how newly designed buildings in London can respond effectively to their surroundings, successfully fitting within the constraints of viewing corridors, and even seeing the restrictions of the corridors as opportunities for innovation.

Stuart Baillie, Head of London Planning at GL Hearn, finished the evening’s presentations with a discussion on the practice’s research into the current and future status of tall buildings within London. A number of significant figures where shared, including the fact that there are 510 tall buildings (defined by the report as having 20 or more stories) in London’s development pipeline, of which 267 have been granted planning permission, 115 are under construction, 70 currently in planning process and 58 at the pre-planning stage. By sector, 458 of the 510 towers are for residential use.

The event ended in a lively open floor discussion, led by Peter Murray, on the future of tall buildings within London.

Special thanks are due to each of the speakers for their insightful presentations, and to Peter Murray for chairing the evening.

Left to right: Peter Murray, Chairman, New London Architecture & Life President, Wordsearch; Annie Hampson OBE, Chief Planning Officer and Development Director, The City of London; Stuart Baillie, Head of London Planning, GL Hearn (left); Participants in the event were spurred into lively conversation after the presentations concluded (right).