The New London Architecture (NLA) – London’s centre for the built environment – will explore the rapidly changing skyline of London through an innovative exhibition titled London’s Growing… Up. Using images, videos, models, computer-generated graphics and visitor interactions, the exhibition will present a past, present and futuristic view of London’s skyline as builders focus on expanding the city upward rather than outward.
Since the emergence of skyscrapers in London in the 1960s, the city skyline has undergone huge alterations. And currently there is a plan to build more than 200 high-rise buildings in the coming years to meet the growing population of the capital. As a result, there will be a massive change in London’s skyline, which has already become a subject of much debate within the country.
The exhibition, which will display over 100 different schemes revolving around the topic, is a collaboration between the NLA and many famous architects, developers, engineers and policy-makers. The exhibition will sit alongside a major publication exploring the history and future of tall buildings in the capital, a public study into Londoners’ true thoughts about skyscrapers and an extensive talk program.
Visitors will explore the history of London’s high-rise architecture and witness how iconic structures such as the Barbican and Centre Point set a precedent for the future of the city skyline. Other famous structures including Canary Wharf, ‘the Gherkin’ (30 St Mary Axe) and the Shard will be examined in the exhibition in terms of the context, economic raison d’être and impact on the city structure.
The exhibition will also explore the significant growth in high-rise residential development. Once limited to council estates and corporate leasing, high-rise development including glass skyscrapers has become the current trend of a majority of new developments in the capital. An exploration into areas such as Nine Elms, Waterloo and White City will explain why these places are attracting high-rise development, and how luxury and affordable residential dwellings can coincide in London’s new vertical city.
According to Peter Murray, chairman of NLA and curator of London’s Growing… Up, “As London’s population gets bigger and bigger and new development for London takes place within the constraints of the Green Belt, we have to increase the density of the city. This results in our buildings getting taller. The huge number of towers in the pipeline will have a significant impact on the look of London. The exhibition will look at the current controls and planning processes to see whether they are fit for purpose and how they can cope with this upsurge in construction.”
Furthermore, the visitors will be able to voice their opinion on which buildings should or shouldn’t be in the London skyline. Touch screen exhibits will enable guests to rewind time and fast-forward into the future to see how London has, and will be, developed. Visitors will also have the opportunity to create their personalised view of the city skyline by removing or changing the location of buildings and even adding buildings from other cities; these creations will be later posted on the NLA’s Twitter feed.
The exhibition will remain open from 3 April to 12 June.
Opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sponsors: GL Hearn, Ian Simpson Architects, Jones Lang LaSalle, M3 Consulting, Montagu Evans, Turner & Townsend
Supporters: British Land, Canary Wharf Group, European Land, Henderson Global Investors
Associate sponsor: AECOM
Visual sponsor: Hayes Davidson