The first large-scale private development plan, the Canary Wharf Project, was launched in the mid-1980s. The Canadian developer Olympia & York bought the project and started construction in 1988 of what would become the heart of the Docklands redevelopment. The first office tower, Canary Wharf Tower (now One Canada Square), was built in 1990. At 800ft (243m) the pyramid-topped steel tower was the tallest building in Europe until the completion of the Messeturm in Frankfurt, Germany that same year. Many more office towers were planned but British corporations were reluctant to relocate to the remote site. Despite a promise by the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, there was The Docklands, a large area along no underground connection and the The property market revived and the the Thames riverfront on the eastern site lacked shopping areas and restaudevelopment project was bought by an edge of London, was once home to the rants. international consortium backed by world’s busiest port. the former owners of Olympia & York. To make matters worse, in 1992 a reIn the 1960s, after the construction cession caused the property market And finally in 1999 the underground Jubiof the Thames Barrier - a storm surge to collapse. The developer went into lee line was extended to the Millennium barrier - and a modern container port bankruptcy and the whole project Dome, with a stop at Canary Wharf. in Tilbury, activity in the area came to a seemed to be an enormous failure. Now only thirty minutes from the halt. The many wharves and warehousheart of London, Canary Wharf startes fell into decay. In 1981 the British gov- The tide turned during the second half ed to attract more and more tenants, ernment founded the London Dockof the 1990s. The property market remostly financial institutions. lands Development Corporation. Its vived and the development project was Construction frenzy in the Docklands purpose was the revitalisation of some bought by an international consorConstruction frenzy in the Docklands 2100 hectares of docks (8 sq. mi). tium backed by the former owners of The working population in the area Olympia & York. There’s more to see in rose to over 30,000. Canary Wharf than just modern highrise buildings. The area is home to a couple of unique monuments and there’s even a museum.
The proposal to site a large power station on the south bank of the River Thames at Battersea in 1927 caused a storm of protest that raged for years. Questions were raised in Parliament about pollution which might harm the paintings in the nearby Tate Gallery and the parks and “noble buildings of London”.
In the UK during the 1920s electricity was supplied by numerous private companies who built small power stations for individual industries with some of the surplus power generated going to the public supply. There was a bewildering variety of incompatible systems, high cost and jealous competition between the numerous companies. This chaotic situation caused Parliament to decree that electricity generation should be a single unified system under public ownership.It was to be another 30 years before the electricity supply was nationalised.
Now Battersea Power Station is one of the best loved landmarks after serving London with electricity for 50 years. Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River In the interim the formation of the LonThames. don Power Company was a response by private owners to delay the imposition of public ownership. Set up in 1925 it took up Parliaments recommendation that electricity generation should be in fewer, larger power stations. This led directly to the building of the first super station, to produce 400,000 kilowatts, in Battersea.
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was commissioned to design the building. His other buildings include Liverpool Cathedral, Bankside Power Station, Waterloo Bridge and the classic red telephone box. In effect Battersea is two power stations and the familiar silhouette of four chimneys did not appear until 1953 and for the first 20 years the building had a long rather than four-square appearance, with a chimney at each end. But even this appearance caused positive comments, described as a temple of power and to rank as a London landmark equal with St. Paul’s Cathedral. In 1939 a survey of celebrities voted it their 2nd favourite building when canvassed by the Architects Journal. The building is in fact a steel girder frame and Sir Giles designed the exterior brick cladding and the tower-like bases of the four chimneys. It is the largest brick building in Europe. Throughout the whole of its life Battersea has been a symbol of the electricity industry to the media and the general public alike.
The Shard will become Western Europe’s tallest building when completed in May 2012. Designed by world renowned architect Renzo Piano, and standing at an inspiring 310 meters (1,016 feet), it will be an iconic and positive addition to the London skyline and a truly landmark project. Inspired by the spires of London’s churches and the top sails of the ships that used to moor on the Thames, the Shard is an elegant slim glass spire with individual ‘‘shards’’ that make up the outer skin. The use of sophisticated glazing and angled panes reflect the light as the sun moves, creating an elegant presence on the skyline. Located at London Bridge Quarter, replacing the 28 year old Southwark Tower, the scheme has been conceived by Renzo Piano as a mixed use ‘‘vertical city’’ that includes a public piazza, world class office space, an exclusive collection of residential apartments which will be the highest in the UK, the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel with spa and pool and international restaurants and viewing galleries offering unprecedented 360 degree views of London. Unlike other skyscrapers in London the Shard has a mix of elements to encourage public interaction, combining both public and private space in one energetic community. It is expected to become a new focal point in the capital and to be adopted enthusiastically by Londoners.
The Place, also designed by Renzo Piano, sits alongside the Shard and benefits from a stunning roof terrace. At 17 floors, it offers an impressive 600,000 sq ft of office space making it a perfect corporate headquarters. London Bridge Quarter integrates these two landmark buildings into one master planned project that will transform and upgrade London Bridge station to the highest standards of transport design, connecting seamlessly to new public realm to transform the public space outside London Bridge Station into a dynamic commercial and mixed use area. London Bridge Quarter is a development by Sellar on behalf of LBQ Ltd, a joint venture between Sellar Property Group and the State of Qatar. In the photograph you can see it slightly undressed. Unusually for a tall building in London many of the floors will be open to the public. These include the viewing galleries and of couse the restaurants. Each use of the tower hotel, restuarants, appartments, viewing galleries and offices - will have its own separate entrance. The entrance to the viewing galleries is on Joiner Street.
The building was formally opened on 5 July 2012 and a spectacular laser display was advertised to mark the event. Unfortunately this proved to be a bit of a damp squib - if bands like Yes in the 1980s could light up the entire hemisphere of the visible sky with amazing matrixes of laser light, why could this multi-million pound development only illuminate a few Victorian streets in Southwark with a zap or two? The Shard London Bridge was originally known as London Bridge Tower, however its detractors (which included English Heritage) shot themselves in the foot - they dismissed it as a “shard of glass” and the name stuck.