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LUKE WHTAKER

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT


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THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT DATUM LINE GREENWICH PARK

A MANIFESTO BY LUKE WHITAKER

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CONTENTS// 01 Preface

05

02 Introduction

07

A Dynamic Skyline

08

03 Toward a Democratic Skyline

14

Reaching for the Sky Global City, Big Buildings A Privatised Skyline The Heritage of a Nation A Didactic Skyline A Skyline for All Make a Place with a Virtual Space

16 25 29 35 38 43 47

04 The Skyline Parliament

52

The Skyline Parliament The Founding Principles A Pan-City Approach E-Democracy: The App

53 54 56 62

05 Datum Line: Greenwich park

64

An Introduction Finding the Site Topography as Uniqueness The Datum Line Cementing the Topography Design Principles An Expression of Extreme Horizontality Parliament as a Process

66 68 75 78 80 83 84 86

06 Conclusion

104

07 References

106

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01

PREFACE //


23 .9m

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PREFACE//

B

efore reading this manifesto it must be

so intrinsic to the parks unique quality provides a

understood that the Skyline Parliament wasn’t

prospect with which generations for millennia have

the result of a predetermined critical endeavour

witnessed the phenomena of civilisation. Greenwich

to challenge the morphology of the London’s skyline,

Park, it seemed to me, is London’s spatio-temporal

but an accidental finding revealed from the culmination

datum line.

of technical research and speculative enquiry into the

It wasn’t until I was challenged to critically place

essence of Greenwich Park. Initially challenged to

Greenwich Park within the wider context of the

examine Greenwich Park through the lens of external

design of cities, landscapes and territories that my

political influences both past and present, it was the

initial conviction that the park should remain neutral

park’s spatial perpetuity and topographic uniqueness

begin to shift. Initially convinced that the park only

that spoke to me. A topography that looks upon the

needed subtle interventions to sensitively curate this

metropolis of London, set upon an escarpment walked

juxtaposition between old and new, my thinking began

by man for millennia, conjured a wonderful image in

to change. Could it be that she lies asleep no more. As

the mind’s eye. How many generations have looked

an onlooker to one of the most evocative panoramas

upon this view? Who before me has stood on this

in the world - the London Skyline - could Greenwich

grassy bank and taken in this panorama of London? If

Park be awoken and become an active instrument of

only these hills could talk.

change? Could the geological form of landscape serve

Spawn out of the political landscape of the 16th and

as a democratic platform upon which it’s inhabitants

17th centuries, Greenwich Park’s development is

practice their citizenship and play an active role in the

inextricably linked to the political sphere of which it

shaping of their city? It was through the consideration

was formed. Turbulent in its conception the park has

of these questions alongside a theoretic examination

matured and loosened but resisted large scale change.

into the semiotics of the skyline that the necessity

As the metropolis of London morphs with the dynamic

for democratic shaping of London’s silhouette was

tide of past, present and the future political trajectories,

emboldened and the idea of the London Skyline

the banks of Greenwich Park lay still, patient,

Parliament was born.

contemplative and neutral. A dynamic yet preserved

It’s been almost a year since I first set foot in Greenwich

public landscape the park openly reveals past histories

Park and I truly hope you enjoy reading about my

and provides a geo-temporal permanence set within

journey as much as I have enjoyed walking it.

the context of a rapidly changing city. The topography

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

PREFACE

5


6


02

INTRODUCTION //

7


A DYNAMIC SKYLINE//

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United Kingdom

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ondon’s Skyline is dynamic, ever changing,

to that of neoliberal capitalist speculation (Appert

and unfinished. For over two millennia the

and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013). Now, with over 250

drawing of London’s skyline has been in a state

tall buildings either in planning, approved or under

of continued flux, expanding and altering in response

construction it is irrefutable that London is growing

to the competing political and social trajectories of

skyward, a symptom emblematic of a city that has

the metropolis below. The past 15 years, however,

embraced urban marketing strategies to re-brand itself

have seen this urban metamorphosis shift from one

as a de-contextualised global economic nexus.

of relative low-rise outward creep, to one of extreme

The redrawing of London’s skyline is, however, a

verticality (Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013).

highly contentious issue, and to understand the

Positioning itself as an international city within an

tensions between advocates and objectors to this

increasingly competitive globalised economic stage, it

verticalisation we must first understand the skyline as

was the completion of 30 St Mary’s Axe (The Gherkin)

a visual representation of a city’s plurality. A skyline is

in 2004 that signified the global re-imaging of the

not merely the silhouette of an urban arrangement but

London skyline from one of conservatist preservation

a symbol of the collective trajectories of the city that it

8

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

INTRODUCTION//

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE


Tottenham Hampstead Heath

Stratford

St Paul’s Cathedral The City The Palace Of Westminster

The Tower Of London

Tower Bridge

Buckingham Palace

Canary Wharf

Elephant and Castle Greenwich

Wimbledon

Bromley Croydon

Central London

traces. Appert and Montes (2015) establish the skyline

that inhabit it. As a 3D representation of the collective

as more than a simple line traced upon the horizon, but

public, the skyline provides a physical representative

as the 3D embodiment and symbolisation of the local

sphere for both acceptance and objection by the

geopolitical order, revealing the contested political,

contesting trajectories of the demos who must identify

commercial and social organisations of the city’s urban

with it.

actors, past and present.

The London Skyline serves not only as a visual

A landscape arrangement which can only be obtained

representation of the city but as an internationally

from a vantage point the city skyline provides an

political one too. Inherent with their mass and

abstract depiction of the urban collective (Attoe,

height, when viewed from a vantage point, it is the

1981; Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013; Kostof,

Skyscrapers which act as the modern day dominant

1991). Appert and Montes (2015) continue to identify

visual occupant, topping the spatial hierarchy of

the skyline as a city portrait which provides a self-

a cities silhouette. Towering above the metropolis

reifying physical and spiritual marker of the changing

below, Appert and Montes (2015) assert the modern

trajectories, powers and values of the various groups

day skyscraper, particularly in European cities, as the

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

INTRODUCTION//

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE

9


London’s topography is dictated by the underlying geology . The London Basin is a sedimentary basin approximately 250 kilometres long which underlies London and a the surrounding landscape. Due to London’s low lying proximity to the River Thames, views of the city are obtainable from the gently rising hills which encompass the metropolis.

unelected successor to the religious spires, spiritual

edifices, it becomes apparent that the redrawn London

centres, and civic edifices that once punctuated

skyline is designed to represent the interests of capital

a city’s skyline. Gassner (2013) suggests a skyline,

accumulation and pseudo-cultural progress, and not

particularly in the instance of national capital cities,

the immediate abstract essence of London’s collective

can transcend the boundaries of their own polis and

polis (Zukin, 1995; Minton, 2006).

assume the representation of nationhood. Through

It will then go on to propose a democratically centred

their images, skylines of capitals have a national

system, combining topography with new E-democratic

and global recognition, conveying ideas of national

systems (Vinod Kumar, 2017) and augmented reality

identity, language and culture to both insiders and

technologies to allow the people of the city to

outsiders of the urban community. A skyline then

actively engage in the shaping of its skyline. It must

has been transformed from a line on the horizon to a

be noted that this Skyline Parliament Manifesto does

representational image of both city and nationhood.

not concern itself with the detail of proposed towers,

This Skyline Parliament Manifesto will firstly provide

but with the scale, form and impact they have on the

a theoretical investigation into the cultural, social

expansion of the skyline, taking a holistic and distant

and political impacts of placing tall buildings upon

view of London’s development. Acknowledging that

London’s Skyline. Finding that the current planning

the skyline is an abstract representation of a cities

system endorses the decontextualised privatisation

collective, The Skyline Parliament provides a platform

of the skyline by the staging of monumental capitalist

for a democratically consented city image.

10

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

INTRODUCTION//

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE


Hanger Hill 65m

Richmond Gate 45m

r ve ur

b Ty

r te un

BT Tower 191m

Batersea Power Station 113m

Victoria Tower 102m

n

k

e re ’s C

Co

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT // Croombe Hill 54m

Primrose Hill 64m

Parliament Hill 98m

Ri

Castlebar Hill 51m

Horsenden Hill 85m

Dollis Hill 78m

Highgate Hill 136m

aR

Eff r

ive

INTRODUCTION// Addington Hills 146m

Crystal Palace Transmitter 219m

One Tree Hill 91m

Greenwich Park 45m

One Canada Square 235m

s ven r Ra

Beaulieu Heights 116m

Herne Hill 43m

Strata Tower 147m

The Shard 310m

122 Leadenhall Street 225m Heron Tower 230m RIVER THAM ES

St Paul’s Cathedral 111m

River Lea

Rive bou rne

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE

11

Shooters Hill 123m


Over 250 tall buildings are planned to be constructed over the next 4 years in the capital. The true effect upon the skyline is yet to be determined.

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THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

INTRODUCTION//

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE


THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

INTRODUCTION//

A DYNAMIC SKYLINE

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14


03

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE //

15


REACHING FOR THE SKY //

A

cknowledging that London is growing

signifier of both the climax and the conclusion of the

skyward, and understanding the skyline’s

still young process of tall buildings in central London.

importance as an emblem of a collective, it is

The tower, whilst over a kilometre away from St Paul’s

now important to scrutinise and critique the historic

Cathedral, dwarfed the silhouette of London’s most

and current political, economic and social powers

treasured building from several panoramic views and

within which this verticalisation of the city’s skyline

confidence was lost in a confused legislative process for

has occurred. Traditionally a low-rise city, London’s

tall building development. Tall building did however

central enclaves have historically resisted large scale

continue; stimulated by Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal

tall building development. Appert and Montes (2015)

deregulation of financial markets, commercial tall

identify the current legislation as the end of a long

building development found a new home and moved

iterative process which has been evolving since the

to a derelict area in East London, Canary Wharf. The

late 19th century. With 1894 Building Act’s right to light

early 21st century has signified the current period of

underpinning early regulation for tall development, it

upward growth for London’s skyline and it is largely

was the protection and preservation of the silhouette of

accepted that the shackles restraining London’s

St Paul’s Cathedral that emerged as the 20th century’s

verticalisation were removed with the appointment of

primary concern against constructing tall edifices in the

ken Livingstone as London’s first elected Mayor in 2000

immediate area. Appert and Montes (2015) point to an

(Appert and Montes, 2015; Charney, 2007; Gassner,

accidental skyline born from a legislative vagueness

2013).

which saw tall building applications approved and

Ken Livingstone was a vocal proponent of tall building

refused amid a confused dialectical battle between the

development and strongly opposed any cap on

post war need for rebuilding and a desire to preserve

proposed building height within the capital. Setting

the visual heritage of London’s horizon line.

up a consultation on ‘tall buildings within the capital’

This sporadic, bit-part period of legislation is affirmed

as part of the London Plan, Livingstone appointed the

by Gunter Gassner who, in his enquiry into history,

services of world renowned British architect Richard

power, profit and the skyline, states that it was the

Rogers, the then chair of the Urban Task Force (UTF) as

1970’s that signified London’s most obvious upward

his chief advisor on architecture and urbanism. With

shift (Gassner, 2013). Gassner (2013) points to the

towers central to the debate on urban regeneration

construction of the 183 metre tall Nat-West Tower as the

several reports prepared by stakeholders including the

16

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REACHING FOR THE SKY


UTF, the Chartered Association of Building Engineers

development must be in general coherence (Garmory

(CABE), and English Heritage (EH) concluded that

et al, 2016). The London Plan is a regional level paper

towers were not essential in satisfying targets for urban

published by the GLA that sets out guidance for the

densification and represented only one model of

preparation of all local development plans within the

building for density.

boundary of Greater London (Mayor of London, 2016).

CABE and EH vocalised further objections to tall

The London Plan endeavours to ensure that a city-

buildings, citing concerns over the potential for major

wide, coordinated spatial strategy is in place, and

impact upon the London skyline and the character of

provides guidance on wider planning challenges such

world heritage sites whilst the privatisation and over

as transport, economic development, housing, culture,

intensification of the River Thames was highlighted

social issues such as inequality, and environmental

as a key cause for alarm (Charney, 2007; Short, 2012).

issues such as air quality and noise pollution (The

Despite tensions between the pro tall building parties

Mayor of London, 2016). Where high rise development

such as the London Mayor, Greater London Authority

is concerned the London Plan is supplemented by

(GLA) and real estate investors, and more cautiously

the London View Management Framework (LVMF),

conservative mandated public organisations such

which highlights strategic panoramic views across

as CABE and EH, the London Plan was drawn up

the city which are to be protected. The LVMF largely

legitimising the process of privately re-drawing a de-

centres on safeguarding city wide perspectives of St

contextualised global urban city landscape.

Paul’s Cathedral whilst providing a spatial and material

To understand how the London Plan endorses the

strategy for the continuation and enhancement of the

proliferation of towers upon the London Skyline it

character of the River Thames (Mayor of London, 2016).

is important that the framework outlined within the

Whilst the LMVF is the only supplementary document

plan is examined. The current London Plan outlines

to deal explicitly with the London skyline, economic,

the current planning system which presides over the

densification, and regeneration strategies outlined

implementation of tall building development in the

in the London Plan can be seen to underpin the then

inner and outer boroughs of the city (The Mayor of

Mayor’s desire for tall building development.

London 2004). The only regional Planning legislation

Furthermore, placing the lens over the context of

to outlast the 2011 the Localism Act, the London Plan

application for buildings higher than 30 storeys, the

provides guidance at a strategic level to which all

London Plan mandates explicit development and

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

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REACHING FOR THE SKY

17


Primrose Hill Regents Park 64m

BT Tower 191m

Heron Tower 230m

St Paul’s Cathedral 111m

Centre Point

The Shard 310m

Westminster Palace

Strata Tower 147m

A Drawing showing the current distribution of tall buildings across London. The majority of tall buildings across the capital are located in the City of London or Canary Wharf.

18

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122 Leadenhall Street 225m

Tower Bridge One Canada Square 235m

Greenwich Park 45m

5 - 25m

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

25 - 50m

50 - 100m

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100 - 150m

REACHING FOR THE SKY

150 - 200m

250m +

19


Alexandra Palace 90m

The LVMF is provided as a supplementary planning document to the London Plan. The LVMF identifies 13 strategic panoramas that are to be protected placing focus on retaining views of the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Kenwood House Hampstead Heath 112m

Parliament Hill Hampstead Heath 98m

Primrose Hill Regents Park 64m

122 Leadenhall Street 225m

BT Tower 191m St Paul’s Cathedral 111m

Heron Tower 230m

R

Tower Bridge ER IV

E AM TH

The Shard 310m Westminster Palace

One Canada Square 235m

Strata Tower 147m

Blackheath Point 52m

Croombes Hill Richmond Park 45m

planning powers to the office of the Mayor (Charney,

considered to wield a ‘significant impact upon the

2007). Written into the London Plan is the right to

implementation of the London Plan’ or a development

referral to the London Mayor for all projects that

may have impacts across more than one borough, the

have potential strategic importance (PSI) (The Mayor

Mayor has the right to intervene in the planning process

of London, 2016). The London Plan identifies PSI’s

and appoint her or himself as the local authority for a

as developments of 150 residential units or more,

planning application (The Mayor of London, 2016). The

developments over 30 metres in height (outside the

Mayor, then, has the political authority to directly affect

City of London), and development on Green Belt

and imprint a political, social and economic agenda

or Metropolitan Open Land. When development is

upon the city’s spatial development strategy.

20

S

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A spatial comparison of the LVMF and the existing distribution of tall buildings shows that tall building construction within the viewing corridors has been resisted.

Greenwich Park 45m

When overlaying future planned tall buildings however, it becomes clear that areas unrestricted by the planning document enjoy far less scrutiny. The LVMF therefore protects only a small percentage of the overall skyline.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

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22

Ealing (Elg)

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

Harrow (Hrw)

Hillingdon (Hln)

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

Redbridge (Red)

Sutton (Stn)

REACHING FOR THE SKY

Waltham (Wlt)

0

Tower Hamlets (TwH)

2

Southwark (Swk)

0

Richmond (Rmd)

1

Merton (Mer)

32

Newham (New)

23

Lewisham (Lew)

3

Kingston (Kng)

3

Lambeth (Lam)

1 0 0

Islington (Isl)

8

Kensington (Ken)

5

Hounslow (Hsw)

1

Havering (Hvg)

4

Haringey (Hgy)

16

Hammersmith (Ham)

18

Hackney (Hky)

Greenwich (Grn)

9

Enfield (Enf )

20

Croyden (Crd)

12

City of Westminster (CoW)

City of London (CoL)

4

Camden (Cam)

Brent (Brt)

0

Bromley (Brm)

0

0

Bexley (Bxy)

Barnet (Brt)

Barking (Bkg)

100 93

80

67

60

40

32 26 24

21

14

10

6

1

Many London Boroughs have permitted the staging of tall buildings. Tower Hamlets and Greenwich will see the most tall buildings constructed under their stewardship.


29

38

12

5

44 235

31

90

1

East London

Inner London

Central London

Outer London

South London The location of planned tall buildings across London .

West London North London

93

67

32 23 A visual representation of the number and location of planned tall buildings across London .

2

1 5

12 1

4

6 10 14 3

8

4

16 9

26 32

21

24 18

3 1

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

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1.0 m 40 .0 m 38 .3 m

Lo ve rs' 33 .8m

44 .1m

44 .7m

24

W alk


GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS //

T

o first understand how the argument for tall

pro-tall building Mayorship we can understand how

buildings prevailed, it is important that we

tall buildings become endorsed by the London Plan.

contextualise the benefits of tall buildings

Through the plan’s foci on economic improvement and

within the compass of a highly competitive inter-city

demand for high quality, high density, internationally

globalised economy. Globalisation and competition

distinctive architecture the proliferation of tall building

between cities has accelerated corporate and

construction was legitimised (Charney, 2007). In his

political efforts to gain a competitive edge to draw

paper ‘The politics of design: architecture, tall buildings

international capital by packaging and presenting

and the skyline of central London’ Igal Charney (2007)

a visually seductive image of the city (Zukin, 1995;

points towards Livingstone’s arguments for the socio-

Minton, 2006). Cities have become under increasing

economic benefits of redrawing a visually spectacular,

pressure to project the image of economic and cultural

re-imagining of London’s skyline as a key contributor in

confidence and architecture has played a key role in

the city’s adoption of tall buildings.

this entrepreneurial urbanism (Sklair, 2005; Charney,

Understanding innovative and distinctive architecture

2007; Gassner, 2013). Sklair (2005) claims that the

as a magnet for investment and symbol of economic

process of globalising cities is centred on the search

confidence Livingstone pushed the focus of city

for iconic and distinctive architectures; the delivery of

development toward tall buildings. Believing EH

simple standardised buildings is no longer enough.

and CABE stood to undermine the city’s economic

Charney (2007) draws on examples of such global

confidence and block London’s ambitions as a world

urbanism highlighting Sydney, Dubai, Shanghai

city, Livingstone ran his campaign on two fronts; good

and Kuala Lumpur as cities that have spectacularly

quality aesthetics and the economy. Backed by global

redrawn and commodified the image of the city into

architects commissioned to design tall buildings, and

an internationally recognisable destination for global

leaning on the report prepared by the UTF, Livingstone

capital. Iconic, recognisable architecture, then, is a

used striking architectural designs to seduce opponents

prerequisite for a global city.

of tall buildings. With spectacular architecture a

Considering this and returning to Ken Livingstone’s

precondition for a modern global city, the deployment

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GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS

25


Iconic Global Architecture

Cities seeking global recognition use iconic architectures to render a memorable city image. Tall buildings have become a signifier of a city’s economic self confidence. Burj Khalifa, Dubai

One World Trade Centre, New York

Shanghai World Finance Centre, Shanghai

Taipei 101, Taipei

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

of internationally recognised architects helped to

2007; Gassner, 2013). Through private investment

publicly legitimise tall buildings as needed symbols of

Livingstone could also utilise the social benefits of

global power, re-framing the debate from not ‘if’ but

tall buildings citing job creation and the stipulation

‘how’ (Charney, 2007; Appert and Montes, 2015).

for social housing alongside planned tall buildings

On the second front, Livingstone courted the private

as public benefits of private investment. Placing the

sector. With Livingstone’s conviction that London

debate of tall buildings within the context of neo-liberal

needed to be re-branded to remain as the pre-

politics, global city branding, and stressing London’s

eminent financial services centre of Europe, distinctive

weakness within the global city hierarchy, Livingstone

tall buildings were needed to house state of the

accrued the support of both high profile architects and

art office space. Limited public financial resources

influential real estate actors to intertwine the city’s

led Livingstone, a socialist opposed to unrestricted

economic agenda with its development programme.

capitalism, to adopt a pro-business approach and to

In order to retain its global city status, London needed

recruit the influence of the private sector (Charney,

tall buildings.

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GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS


Height

Completed 2017

The Pinnicle

70 St Mary’s Axe

One Creechurch Place

The Scalple

The Atlas Building

Principle Tower

Newfoundland

The Stage

Height

Completed 2018

Carrara Tower

1 Park Place

6-8 Bishopsgate

100 Bishopsgate

Appold Street

Pan Pacific Hotel

One Blackwall Reach

Infinity Tower

The Maddison

Height

Completed 2019

40 Leadenhall

22 Bishopsgate

One Undershaft

The Spire

The Wardian

South Quay Plaza

Marsh Wall

Height

In Planning

One Crown Plaza

Finsbury Avenue Square

Bishopsgate Goodsyard

201 Shoreditch Highstreet

Wood Wharf

Glengall Tower

One Bank Street

10 Bank Street

Alfa Square

An oblique cross section of proposed and planned tall buildings in London. A brief analysis of the proposed building’s form and height reveals a varied architectural language.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

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GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS

27


GREAT CROSS AVENUE

28

47 .0m


A PRIVATISED SKYLINE //

T

he

verticalisation

of

London’s

skyline

concerns that high-rise development is threatening

however, isn’t without controversy. This

the internationally significant historic character of

upright redrawing of the skyline is often

London’s built fabric (Short, 2012).

against the wishes of residents, heritage groups and

More explicitly, the London Plan’s economy-centric

visitors. Initial opposition to the development of

approach to urbanism is criticised by Appert and

tall buildings in London was led by English Heritage

Montes (2015) who claim that the London Plan

and the Commission for Architecture and the Built

framework supports the proliferation of tall buildings

Environment (CABE) (Appert and Montes, 2015). More

within the city to satisfy its call for densification and

recently the Skyline Campaign, backed by over 80 high

economic growth. Whilst the need for densification

profile public figures, experts, and community groups

within London can’t be ignored, it is possible that

has led the debate on tall building development whilst

tall buildings are approved hastily by the politically

the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural

and economically powerful, with insufficient regard

Organisation (UNESCO) has organised a task group over

for the potential impact on the historic fabric of the

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A PRIVATISED SKYLINE

29


place. Appert and Montes (2015) continue to claim

upon the re-imagining of cities through large scale

that despite the London Plan’s 2007 introduction

international investments and by the commodification

of regulations to protect historically significant

of monumental architectures and landscapes within

perspective views within the city, tensions between

mainly cosmopolitan inner city centres. Within the

proponents and detractors have not eased, and the

context of globally competing cities, the re-drawing

staging of skyscrapers upon the skyline continues to

of a dramatised, global skyline acts as an instrument

impact the standing of london’s built heritage.

for further international investment by which the

Placed within the context of neo-liberal globalisation,

TCC can reproduce and consolidate themselves as

it is possible that the London Plan facilitates the

the internationally powerful. This commodification of

surreptitious territorialisation of the London skyline by

the skyline is reinforced by Appert and Montes (2015)

the politically and economically powerful in return for

who claim that the urban landscape, under the foci of

an internationally marketable image of the city. Appert

capital accumulation, is appropriated as a resource by

and Montes (2015) turn to the empirical research into

real estate actors, investors and political authorities

the processes of globalisation by Leslie Sklair (2001) who

who re-draw the built form of the city and thus execute

coins the term Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC). Sklair

a territorialisation of the skyline.

(2001) establishes the TCC as the segment of the global

This privatised territorialisation of the London skyline

bourgeoisie that controls transnational capital. Global

not only favours the economically and politically

corporations and international political structures are

powerful, but promotes a global, de-contextualised

influenced and controlled by this global economic

architectural language. Gassner (2013) points to the

stratum which operates within its own interests, often

spatial framework set out within the London Plan’s

freely, without state imposed boundaries or regulation.

supplementary LVMF as a contributor in allowing

A collaboration of bureaucrats, global corporations,

standardised architectural forms to persist. Through

professionals and media actors, the TCC acts as the

protecting cherished viewing corridors of historic

global ruling class, a class which often imperceptibly

buildings, the staging of globalised architectural

controls the processes of globalisation (Sklair, 2001).

edifices is legitimised in large enclaves of the city.

Sklair (2001) claims that the powerful actors forming the

Areas outside of these panoramas provide a stage for

TCC exert their political, economic and cultural influence

the TCC to redraw a decontextualized, internationally

30

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS


1

3

77

A breakdown of proposed tall building uses. Private residential buildings are the most prevalent reflecting the current London housing boom.

7 18

10

32

0

Residential

Hotel

Mixed Use

Student Accommodation

Commercial

University

Office

6

21

37

A breakdown of the heights of tall buildings planned and proposed for London. 20 - 29 floors is the preferred height.

118

273

20 - 29 Storeys

50 - 59 Storeys

30 - 39 Storeys

60 Storeys +

40 - 49 Storeys

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

GLOBAL CITY, BIG BUILDINGS

31


-2.4

316,666

-3.2

300,000

Average house Price

333,333

2016 Q3

-1.6

2015 Q1

350,000

2013 Q3

-0.8

2002 Q1

366,666

2010 Q3

0

2009 Q1

383,333

2007 Q3

0.8

2006 Q1

400,000

2004 Q3

Economic Growth

1.6

seductive image of the city. In a competitive world

Fenchurch Street is known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’.

where globally renowned architectures are required to

This territorialisation of the skyline is not only due to

project the confidence and uniqueness of a city an often

capital flows and investing corporations but the result

standardised, decontextualized and dehumanised

of the actions of planners, politicians and architects

language is employed (Appert and Montes, 2007).

who, pushing their own global agendas, act as

Furthermore, global architecture is less concerned

accomplices, at differing scales, in the production and

with blending in with its immediate context than it

staging of tall capitalist edifices within the city (Appert

is standing out as a recognisable, distinctive emblem

and Montes, 2015; Charney, 2007). Appert and Montes

- a trend often reinforced by the use of memorable

(2015) identify the towers as distinctive landscape

monikers to reassert a globally recognised identity

markers not only of the corporations who occupy

(Charney, 2007). This trend made manifest when

them, but for the politicians who sanction them.

recent skyscrapers in London are examined; Richard

Furthermore, mediation of the planning process,

Rogers Partnership delivered the Leadenhall Building,

reinforced by community based legislation such as the

nicknamed the ‘Cheese Grater’ whilst Rafael Vinoly’s 20

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106

32

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A PRIVATISED SKYLINE


Number of Tall Building Applications

40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

0

Comparisons between the London economy and the number of tall building applications reveal a striking correlation. Tall buildings allow investors to maximise capital returns during a housing boom.

agreements, consents the GLA to satisfy affordable

doesn’t only support, but profits from the staging of

housing

improvements

monumental and dramatized privately funded tall

and economic and social regeneration aspirations

buildings upon the London Skyline (Appert and Montes,

outlined in the London Plan. Whilst this facilitates

2015; Charney, 2007; Gassner, 2013). It can be assumed

the accumulation of public funding from private real

then, that the TCC’s territorialisation transforming the

estate speculation, it hands leverage to the investing

London skyline is a form of landscape control by both

corporation’s whose economic strength is used as a

transnational economic investors, real estate actors,

bargaining chip.

and domestic political stakeholders. Considering

Appert and Montes (2015) go further, suggesting

this, it is apparent that the London skyline, under the

that the GLA’s regulations drawn within the London

legislative regulation of the London Plan, is becoming

Plan are intentionally vague, legitimising a brand

a privatised commodity not for the collective many but

of entrepreneurial public governance which is

for the powerful few.

targets,

infrastructure

centred upon the foci of global urbanism and capital accumulation. It is evident then, that the GLA

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A PRIVATISED SKYLINE

33


23 .9m

28 .6m

rs'

35 .3m

34

Lo ve alk

W


THE HERITAGE OF A NATION //

1078-1672

1672 - 1711

1711 - 1933

1933 - 1961

1961- 1991

1991- 2013

2013 - present

The Tower of London

St Bride’s Church

St Paul’s cathedral

Battersea Power Station

The BT Tower

One Canada Square

The Shard

A review of the buildings which once stood as the tallest buildings in london reveals the dominant social power of the time. The tower of london reveals a time of oppression dictated by the monarchy, church spires and the dome of St Pauls signify christianity’s dominance in society, whilst recent tall buildings represent society’s transition to a capitalist economy.

I

t is now important to return our attention to the

built heritage has been appropriated by the TCC to

spatial hierarchy contested between tall corporate

act as a contextually unique décor for the staging of

symbols of power, and historic edifices of heritage

internationally standardised corporate edifices. Recent

and culture. Remembering the skyline as a self-reifying

buildings staged upon the London skyline such as

physical marker of the competing trajectories and

the ‘Walkie Talkie’, the ‘Shard’, and the ‘Cheesegrater’

values of a city or nation, it is evident that the recent

spatially compete with internationally significant

proliferation of tall capitalist edifices upon the skyline is

buildings of heritage such as St Paul’s Cathedral,

impinging upon the prominence of important spiritual

Westminster Palace and the Tower of London to the

emblems of heritage and nationhood (Attoe, 1981;

demise of the city’s collective sense of identity.

Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013; Kostof, 1991).

To recognize how skyscraper’s spatial and visual

Appert and Montes (2015), continue to claim that the

obfuscation of spiritual and symbolically significant

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

THE HERITAGE OF A NATION

35


Europe’s tallest building and one of London’s most iconic new architectures, The Shard, competes with the dome of St Paul’s cathedral when viewed from Primrose Hill, a corridor protected in the LVMF.

buildings threatens a polis or nation’s understanding

Cathedral stood as London’s tallest building from 1710

of itself we must turn to Tim Edensor’s examination

– 1939 it is quite possible to see how the modern day

of national identity. Edensor (2012) highlights ‘iconic

skyscraper’s appropriation and territorialisation of the

sites’ which provide a moral and cultural compass of a

symbolic role of nationally spiritual structures could

nation’s evolved cultural trajectories; the Eiffel Tower

challenge a city’s collective memory and threaten

anchors French identities as St Paul’s Cathedral serves

it’s understanding of its shared identity (Appert and

as an emblem of ‘Englishness’. Objects upon the skyline,

Montes, 2015; Edensor, 2002; Gassner, 2013).

then, often steeped in spiritual and historic symbolism,

The

serve to reveal a nations unique quality which, through

preponderance of these silhouettes upon London’s

the connotation of past cultures and historic events,

skyline is then, undeniable. Considering this, when

project evidence of a glorious past (Edensor, 2002).

aligning a skyline’s inherant obligation to represent the

This is reinforced by Anthony Smith who, in his book

competing trajectories of a collective polis (Attoe, 1981;

‘National Identity’, claims that these iconic sites serve

Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013; Kostof, 1991)

as ‘spiritual centres’ which locate a nation in both time

against the privatised territorialisation of London’s

and space (Smith, 1991).

skyline (Sklair, 2005; Charney, 2007; Gassner, 2013)

Continuing to highlight both external and internal

it is evident that the political legislation negating the

functions of these national iconic features Smith (1991)

development of the London Skyline is failing to protect

suggests that they both serve as signifiers of nation to

significant built indicators of heritage, and thus damage

outsiders and act as moral indicators of nationhood to

important built notions of pluralistic nationhood

insiders. Considering the internationally iconic St Paul’s

36

national

importance

of

retaining

the


37


A DIDACTIC SKYLINE //

T

o understand how this appropriation of the

phenomenological sense of belonging. It is evident

skyline by the powerful few may negatively

then, that when this metaphysical connection

impact a people’s relationship between

between man and landscape is fragmented through

themselves and the skyline that represents them, this

misrepresentation and the domination of the powerful,

arc of capitalist territorialisation must be placed within

a people can become alienated from the landscape

the frame of a democratic landscape. In Kenneth Olwig’s

that spiritually and physically nurtures them (Olwig,

essay ‘Representation and alienation in the political

2005). Identifying alienation as the transferral, and

land-scape’ an etymological investigation into the

subsequent loss, of rights of a person to property

word landscape is presented within which he explicitly

or land with which they have developed a sense of

links the land with the people who exist upon it. Olwig

belonging through allegiance, residence or birth, it is

(2005) identifies the suffix scape as the distinction

possible that the privatised proliferation of the skyline

between land in its simplest, material form and its more

threatens to estrange a people from the city image that

metaphysical abstraction landscape. Suggesting scape

represents them.

as the equivalent of the more common English suffix

This alienation is made more explicit when exploring

ship, Olwig (2005) draws upon more abstract themes

Sharon Zukin’s theme of public exclusion; the symbolic

such as “friendship, comradeship, or fellowship” to

economy. In her book “The Culture of Cities” Zukin’s

point out how the suffix ship provides a non-physical

(1995) symbolic economy addresses a city’s ability to

concept that can symbiotically bind individuals into

produce a distinctive aesthetic of both symbol and

fellows, communities or nations.

space. Zukin (1995) continues to align the symbolic

Transferring this abstraction to the suffix scape it can

economy with the interests of public officials, private

then be assumed that a people inhabiting a land have

developers and capital investors whose ability to return

deep rooted ties and an intrinsic sense of belonging

tangible economic results (jobs, real estate value,

to it; villagers belong to their common lands, a polis

increased business) when constructing the symbolic

to the limits of its city, and a citizens to the land of a

image of the city has led to the increase in private

nation. Therefore the relationship between the land

corporations involvement in the imagination of public

and its people is greater than the sum of its physical

space. Whilst Zukin (1995) states that entrepreneurial

parts and landscape is fundamental to a people’s

initiatives to project a seductive image of a city can

38

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A DIDACTIC SKYLINE


establish a competitive advantage over competing

space we must again turn to Sharon Zukin, who’s

cities, it is important to ask, particularly in the case of

more recent work ‘Naked City: The Death and Life of

the London’s skyline, who is the symbolic economy

Authentic Urban Places’ (Zukin, 2010) discusses the

representing?

authenticity of public places. Zukin (2010) argues that

Whilst asserting that the product of the modern city is

forces of globalisation, supremacy of capital and the

culture, Zukin (1995) identifies intermittent economic

cultural power of media have driven cities to exchange

crises’ and the disappearance of local manufacturing

symbols of their past for a glossy consumable image

industries as the catalyst for the modern city’s transition

of the future. Jacobs and Appleyard (2007) further

from industrial goods manufacture to the redrawing of

the discussion, asserting that the authentic city is

a consumable city image. The recent growth of cultural

one where the “origin of things” is clear. Displaying

consumption has accelerated corporate efforts to

its significant meanings, the authentic city should

gain a competitive edge to draw transnational capital

not be dominated by the powerful but be openly

investment by packaging and presenting a visually

representative of the moral issues of its society (Jacobs

seductive image of the city (Zukin, 1995; Minton, 2006).

and Appleyard, 2007). An authentic city is then, along

Considering the TCC’s territorialisation of the London

with its skyline, should be a didactic cartography of the

skyline as a promotional instrument of private interests,

society that inhabits it.

and the GLA’s endorsement of decontextualised capitalist edifices, it is then apparent that the redrawn London skyline is an idealised image designed to represent the interests of capital accumulation and pseudo-cultural progress, and not the immediate abstract essence of London’s collective polis. Considering the political shortcomings cultivated from the private projections of the symbolic economy when redrawing the skyline, it is quite possible that a nonauthentic representation of public place is fostered. To comprehend existing discourse on authentic public

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A DIDACTIC SKYLINE

39


One Bank Street

Bishopsgate Goodsyard

10 Bank Street

One Crown Plaza

Finsbury Avenue Square

In Planning

Glengall Tower

One Undershaft

40 Leadenhall

Completed 2019

22 Bishopsgate

6-8 Bishopsgate

Principle Tower

100 Bishopsgate

Appold Street

Pan Pacific Hotel

Completed 2018

Carrara Tower

The Scalple

1 Park Place

T

Completed 2017

70 St Mary’s Axe

The Atlas Building

One Creechurch Place

A St Paul’s Cathedral

A The City

Skyline 2016

Westminster Palace

Skyline 2020

Westminster Palace

40

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

St Paul’s Cathedral

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

Tower Bridge

THE HERITAGE OF A NATION


Alfa Square

201 Shoreditch Highstreet

Wood Wharf

The Spire

South Quay Plaza Marsh Wall

The Wardian

The Maddison One Blackwall Reach

Infinity Tower

The Pinnicle Newfoundland

The Stage

Aa Tower Bridge

Aa Canary Wharf

Shoreditch

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

The number of proposed tall buildings proliferating the London skyline could have a devastating effect on the historic character of traditionally low rise city.

THE HERITAGE OF A NATION

41


4.5 m

42


A SKYLINE FOR ALL //

W

hen considering the recent verticalisation

Despite visual marketing strategies, the aegis of

of London’s skyline, the influence of

world famous architect Renzo Piano, and the promise

powerful real estate actors, both private

of economic and cultural rejuvenation for the area,

and public, and the objections of organisations such as

concerns over the permanent damage to the London

EH, CABE, UNESCO, and the concerns of residents and

skyline prevailed and the proposal was revised to a

visitors (Appert and Montes, 2015, Charney, 2007), it is

14 storey ‘Cube’ (another distinctive and marketable

important to understand the levels to which citizens

geometric shape) (Johnston, 2017; The Skyline

are enabled to participate effectively within the

Campaign, 2016). The prospect of a further 250 towers

redrawing of the skyline. One example of public success

landing upon the London skyline, however, shows that

against the construction of a skyscraper can be found

anti-skyscraper successes such as this, are rare.

in the refused application for Renzo Piano’s 72-storey

This concern for the lack of engagement and seemingly

skyscraper at Padding Place, dubbed the Paddington

unrestricted proliferation of towers upon the skyline

Pole. A design that seemed to disregard the urban

is reflected in a recent study YouGov survey which is

grain, scale and historic fabric of the place was fiercely

packaged and presented by Historic England (2016).

contested by statutory consultees and public pressure

The survey revealed that not only are the majority of

groups led by EH (Johnston, 2017).

Londoners unhappy with the current redrawing of

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A SKYLINE FOR ALL

43


the skyline, but 60% felt they should have a say on

The lack of a city-wide, pan-London approach to

its verticalisation, particularly in historically sensitive

planning could be a further contributor to the

areas. More telling, however, is that 58% of Londoners

inefficiencies in community engagement initiatives.

said that they didn’t know where or how to express their

With a decentralised planning system that affords

concerns about the skyline (Historic England, 2016).

planning

This dissatisfaction with participation isn’t however

participation is centred on engaging the community

limited to just the skyline and could be the result of

within the projects locality (Gassner, 2013; Historic

the strained communicative reciprocation between

England, 2016). Planning authorities are required to

public authorities and the city’s citizens. Townsend and

outline stratagems for community engagement with

Tully (2004) suggest that in spite of enthusiasm from

all tall building planning applications which include an

the public and efforts to engage a broad cross section

A4 public notice on the site, a letter to neighbouring

of the public in planning matters, participation levels

parties, a newspaper press release and/or a website

remained disappointing. This repeated despondency

notification (Department for Communities and Local

from the public has led local authorities to reassess

Government, 2017).

their commitment to community participation leading

Placing the fact that a the city skyline is a citywide,

public councils to perform the minimum level of public

nationally and internationally symbolic image only

consultation expected of them by planning legislation

perceptible from a distant vantage point (Appert

(Townsend and Tully, 2004). This suggests that the

and Montes, 2015; Charney, 2007; Gassner, 2013),

limits upon who is consulted and the current strategies

alongside the local infrastructural, social and economic

in place to involve the public are failing to cultivate a

benefits afforded alongside private investment into tall

democratic and collaborative civic consensus on the

corporate edifices (Section 106, CIL), it is possible to see

development of the skyline.

how local communities stand to lose the least and gain

44

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

powers

to

A SKYLINE FOR ALL

local

authorities,

public


the most from the implementation of a tall building.

making with professional deliberation and negotiation,

Community participation strategies that focus too

requiring many professional planning, architectural,

concisely on a projects locality neglect to consult and

landscape and engineering consultants to engage in

obtain a wider public consensus and place too much

the process.

emphasis on the consent of citizens with a tangible

Whilst these private professional actors are well placed

interest in the projects approval. It is possible, then,

to steer a project to a successful conclusion, allegiances

that applications for tall buildings may need to extend

with the real estate investors with which these

their public outreach.

consultants financial depend leads to a professional

Appert and Montes (2015) propose a further

prejudice in favour of tall buildings (Appert and Montes,

shortcoming

to

2015). Coupling this with competition held between

democratically engage citizens in redrawing the city’s

boroughs to generate economic growth and cultural

skyline; the supremacy of capital and dependence on

regeneration, local authorities consequently become

professionals. Despite a planning system that places

part of a technocratic planning system that disregards

decision making within the hands of an elected local

the concerns of the public and panders to the global

authority, a negated process that engages statutory

agenda of private investors (Appert and Montes, 2015).

of

local

authorities

attempts

consultees and professional consultants from an application’s infancy, a project is often well advanced prior to referral to the public. A system that acts within a framework rather than stipulated set of measurable restrictions, London skyscraper applications are decided upon in a case by case, subjective basis (Gassner, 2013). This system replaces traditional administrative decision

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

A SKYLINE FOR ALL

45


34 .5 m

45 .8m

4

7.0 m 45 .4m

44 .9m

41 .0m

40 .0m

38 .3m

46


MAKE A PLACE WITH VIRTUAL SPACE //

M

odels for a more accessible and interactive

can engage previously hard to reach citizens and

public participation stratagem do however

mobilise democratic interest from typically disengaged

exist, not in the physical realm, but in the

segments of the public. Secondly, by opening up a new

virtual one. First we must turn to an investigation into

democratic space which can align unprecedented

web technologies and their potential to increase public

levels of public value with the ambitions of developers

participation by Chris Twitchen and David Adams who

and direction of elected public officials, digital

assert that Web 2.o technologies (the availability of

democratic processes have the potential to enable a

high-speed internet access, the innovation of social

civic consensus to overrule previously technocratic

networking forums, and widespread use of portable

planning decisions. Digital technologies, then, have

devices) solidifies the internet as a powerful new

the capacity to enable a truly collaborative, pluralistic

platform for effective public participation (Twitchen

planning process.

and Adams, 2012). Twitchen and Adams (2012) propose

The argument for digital technologies within the

that digital participatory processes can benefit the

planning system is furthered by Vinod Kumar (2017)

development of a collaborative planning system in two

who proposes the use of ‘E-Democracy’ as a means

ways; accessibly and collaboration.

of

Firstly, through the simplicity of the technology to

E-Democracy as the use of web 2.0 technologies within

use, and cost-effectiveness for the both the enquiring

the context of city decision making to increase citizens’

authority and participating citizen, these technologies

engagement in democratic processes, Vinod Kumar

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

improving

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

public

participation.

MAKE A PLACE WITH VIRTUAL SPACE

Establishing

47


The use of virtual reality technologies could allow proposed architectures to be viewed against the real time backdrop of the city skyline. Ideas can be tested, considered and challenged by an augmented vision of the city.

(2017) suggests the technology as a means to generate

skyline by powerful real estate actors self-evident in

publicly-engaged smart cities. With small mechanical

the proliferation of skyscrapers upon the skyline, the

and procedural reform of governmental planning

London skyline is not a plural signifier of the collective

process, E-Democracy can open up cyberspaces that

whole but a signifier of the supremacy of capital (Sklair,

encourage information exchange, citizen collaboration,

2005; Charney, 2007; Appert and Montes, 2015). Web

open dialogue and civic deliberation thus enabling the

based technologies could help to evenly redistribute

public to instantly uphold their civic interests (Vinod

power away from a privately supported technocracy

Kumar, 2017).

to engage the people of the city, enabling affective

Vinod Kumar (2017) identifies three primary possibilities

practices of citizen participation. Secondly, recalling the

of E-Democracy; Firstly, a citizen can easily cast votes

importance that historic iconic sites have in nurturing

on an issue with the click of a button, secondly,

a national sense of self to both citizens on the inside

participants can give comment on a policy or proposal,

and onlookers from the out (Edensor, 2002; Smith,

and thirdly, the channels of power can be reversed

1991), and coupling this with a civic concern for the

allowing citizens to voice their proposals. E-Democracy,

obfuscation of these sites by the staging of skyscrapers

then, replaces monopolies of information channelled

upon the skyline (Historic England, 2016), web based

through traditional hierarchical procedures with an

technologies could provide a platform for citizens to

unrestricted reciprocal distribution of intelligence. It is

safeguard the heritage that fundamentally underpins

possible to understand then, that provided the political

their understanding of nationhood. Finally, turning to

will and leadership is in place to relinquish certain

themes of the authentic city which honestly depicts

decision making powers to the public, E-Democracy

the society that occupies it (Jacobs and Appleyard,

can provide a non-physical platform for the informed,

2007; Zukin, 2010), E-Democracy could allow for

democratic and genuinely collaborative imagining of

the etching of a truly representative, democratically

our actual public space.

consented, authentic urban silhouette upon the skies

A progressive technological course to broaden the

above London.

participation to a pan-London solution has the

It is possible, then, that by informing, mobilising and

potential to concretise the civic interests within the re-

engaging all Londoners in tall building planning

imagining of the London skyline, addressing three key

applications, a plural consensus of the contemporary

issues with the current planning of the city silhouette.

reshaping of the historic skyline can be met, and a

Firstly, remembering the territorialisation of the

democratic representation of the city be drawn.

48

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

MAKE A PLACE WITH VIRTUAL SPACE


Democratic Skyline

Technocratic Skyline

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

TOWARD A DEMOCRATIC SKYLINE//

MAKE A PLACE WITH VIRTUAL SPACE

49


50


04

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

51


m

40 .0 m 38 .3 m

Lo ve rs' 33 .8m

44 .1m

44 .7m

52

W alk


THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT

The Skyline Parliament proposes the advancement

which can only be viewed from a vantage point (Attoe,

of E-Democracy technologies alongside a critical

1981) the skyline parliament seeks to appropriate

restructuring of the current mechanics of London’s

topographic elevations which encompass the city.

planning

negated

Proposing a synergy between the physical landscape,

by powerful real estate actors, both private and

E-Democracy technologies, and emerging virtual

political (Appert and Montes, 2015; Charney, 2007), a

reality technologys the skyline parliament submits

democratically focussed repositioning of the planning

the use of a visually augmented skyline to inform the

system’s core values could shape a path toward the

public of the visual impact a propsal may have upon

creation of an authentic, publicily consented skyline.

the skyline.

Remembering the implicit role Skyline plays as as an

A visually augmented skyline, proliferated with virtual

abstract indicator of an urban collective (Attoe, 1981;

models of speculative tall building proposals will not

Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013; Kostof, 1991),

only provide a spacio-temporal vision upon which

and further understanding the role the prominance of

the public can decide upon the appropriateness

historical buildings play in nurturing a national sense

of a proposal, but a digital workspace upon which

of self (Edensor (2012), it is imperative that a redrawing

city planners and architects can test their ideas. The

of the panning systems allows for effective civic

Skyline Parliament is a public, real time testing space

engagement.

where the future skyline of London can be challenged,

Understanding the skyline as a landscape composition

reconfigured and democratically consented.

system.

A

system

currently

53


Rejected

Approved

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT: THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES//

A 3D model of existing and proposed buildings in London will support an augmented vision of the city

Promoting Democratic Engagement

reveal the immediate abstract essence of London’s

The Skyline Parliament mandates the people to

collective polis and not just the interests of capital

democratically participate in the shaping of their

accumulation and pseudo-cultural progress.

city’s skyline. Understanding the skyline as a didactic cartography of the collective populace of the city, The

An Integrated Planning Approach

Skyline Parliament provides a physical network and a

The Skyline Parliament will complement the existing

virtual forum for citizens to debate, comment upon,

planning system that negates the built development

and vote on proposed tall buildings within the city.

of London. Concerned only with the staging, location,

Finding that the current planning system serves as a

scale and form of future tall building development

technocratic framework which endorses the privatised

in London, the Skyline Parliament adds an additional

staging of capitalist edifices upon the skyline, The

layer of democratic involvement. Before applications

Skyline Parliament will allow future development to

for outline or full planning for buildings 20 storeys or

54

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES


higher are reviewed by the local authority and statutory

Parliament. Augmented realities can juxtapose tall

consultees, Skyline Planning approval must have been

building applications alongside the existing built

consented by the people of the city.

form of the city. Augmented Reality will allow citizens to view and challenge the proposed building in its

Using the Topography

context, against all other proposed tall buildings, and

The Skyline Parliament uses the topography of the

against the real backdrop of the city. Viewed from one

city to provide a network of panoramas where future

of the 5 Skyline Parliament Branches, the staging, scale

proposals of the city can be viewed, tested, scrutinised

and form of the proposal will be able to be tested in

and decided upon. Understanding the spatio-

real time.

permanence of the landscape, significant high-points will provide a platform to review the spatio-temporal

A City Wide 3D Model

development of London’s skyline. Informed by the

All applications are required to be uploaded to an

existing LVMF, The Skyline Parliament will employ

integrated 3D model of London. The model will be

5 city panoramas; Greenwich Park, Richmond Park,

used alongside augmented reality technologies to

Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill, and Alexandra Palace.

project future proposed and planned buildings upon the landscape. Applications will be visible for 6 weeks

A Pan City Approach

before voting closes. Declined applications will be

The skyline is an abstract city portrait which provides

removed whilst approved buildings will remain within

a self-reifying physical and spiritual marker of the

the model, rendering a real time virtual vision of the

changing trajectories, powers and values of the various

future London Skyline.

groups that inhabit it. Understanding that the skyline should not be a representation of the powerful few but

A Spatio-temporal Planning System

of the collective many, the Skyline Parliament proposes

The Skyline Parliament recognises the growth of

a Pan-City approach to the staging of its skyscrapers.

London’s skyline as a slow, delayed process. Many

Moving away from the current LVMF which protects

proposed buildings currently are only shown against

only narrow vistas centred on preserving views of

the existing built context and disregard the fourth

historic edifices, The Skyline Parliament proposes a city

dimension; time. The Skyline Parliament understands

wide approach, placing scrutiny on all tall development,

the necessity to scrutinise tall building proposals not

and not just that which directly impacts the historic

only against the existing built form of the city, but

character of a localised area.

test their relationship against future proposals. Using augmented reality, all future proposals and planned

Applying E-Democracy Technologies

buildings will be digitally juxtaposed against each

Advancements in both Web 2.0 capabilities and virtual

other, and the existing built city, so applications can be

reality technologies will be utilised by the Skyline

scrutinised under a spatio-temporal lens.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES

55


A PAN-CITY APPROACH// CONTACT THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY (LPA) FOR ADVICE

Parliament Hill Hampstead Heath 98m

APPLY ONLINE OR IN PAPER FORMAT TO THE LPA FULL APPLICATION

OUTLINE APPLICATION

SUBMIT PROPOSALS WITH THE CORRECT DOCUMENTATION LPA ACKNOWLEDGES A VALID APPLICATION BUILDING UNDER 20 STOREYS

BUILDING OVER 20 STOREYS

SKYLINE PLANNING REQUIRED

Primrose Hill Regents Park 64m

SUBMIT 3D MODEL OF BUILDING TO SKYLINE DATABASE APPLICATION LIVE TO PUBLIC VOTE FOR 6 WEEKS APPROVED

REJECTED

LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY PUBLICISES AND CONSULTS ON THE APPLICATION PERMISSION REFUSED

PERMISSION NOT DECIDED WITHIN 8 WEEKS

PERMISSION GRANTED WITH

PERMISSION GRANTED

CHANGE PROPOSAL AND RESUBMIT

APPEAL TO SECRETARY OF STATE

START WORK AND COMPLY WITH CONDITIONS

PERMISSION REFUSED

PERMISSION GRANTED

Croombes Hill Richmond Park 45m

The Skyline Parliament will compliment rather than compete with the existing planning framework of London. Adding a further layer of public engagement it will help convey the development of a democratic and collective skyline.

The Skyline Parliament proposes a city wide network of panoramas already employed within the LVMF. Chosen for their inherent city wide prospect, these locations will serve as the centres of a pan-city approach to tall building planning applications. Extending scrutiny past just that of protected corridors, outer enclaves of the city will be examined, and a democratic and publicly consented approach to tall building development can be established.

56

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN-CITY APPROACH


Alexandra Palace 90m

Greenwich Park 45m

122 Leadenhall Street 225m BT Tower 191m

St Paul’s Cathedral 111m

Heron Tower 230m Tower Bridge

One Canada Square 235m

The Shard 310m Westminster Palace Strata Tower 147m

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN-CITY APPROACH

57


Natural topography will provide the physical platform for an augmented vision of possible re-arrangements of the skyline.

58

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN CITY APPROACH


THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN CITY APPROACH

59


Croombes Hill, Richmond Park + 45m LVMF

300 m

150 m

0m

Greenwich Park + 45m LVMF

300 m

150 m

0m

Alexandra Palace + 90m 300 m

150 m

0m

Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath + 98m 300 m

150 m

0m

Primrose Hill, Regents Park + 64m LVMF

300 m

150 m

0m

The Skyline Parliament network will provide full coverage of inner London and partial coverage of outer London.

60

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN CITY APPROACH


LVMF LVMF

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

A PAN CITY APPROACH

61


E - DEMOCRACY: THE APP//

T

he Skyline Parliament App supplements

buildings, conveys information about the buildings,

the landscape proposals ensuring the three

and allows the public to comment on contentious

possibilities of E-Democracy can be realised;

and successful building proposals. Free to download

Firstly, the public can easily cast votes on proposed

the App provides an integrated platform that will

buildings, secondly, participants can give comment

greatly improve information transfer and awareness

on a policy or proposal, and thirdly,

channels of

of building applications. Geo-referenced, the App will

power and information can be reversed allowing

only allow votes to be cast after a visit to one of the 5

citizens to transparently record their comments. The

Skyline Parliament’s panoramas.

App provides access to the 3D database of proposed

62

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

E-DEMOCRACY: THE APP


Peter Robinson

5m

Caroline Lord

27m

Out of scale with the area The building is too large and doesn’t ...

A beautiful building I feel the building is a beautiful adit ...

Paul Clement

2h

Too Big! This building is far too large or the ...

Antony Nelson

3h

The Skyline Parliament App will increase accessibility to the planning system. Through increased access engagement levels will increase and provide a broader, deeper cross section of public opinion.

Lack of Public Space! The building hogs the available space ...

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT//

E-DEMOCRACY: THE APP

63


64


05 DATUM LINE: GREENWICH PARK

65


GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE: AN INTRODUCTION// London

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AN INTRODUCTION

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

66

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Greenwich park is located in West Greenwich. One of the Royal Parks of London, it spans 74 hectares, and is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. It commands views over the River Thames, Canary Wharf and the City of London.

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United Kingdom


1.

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8

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10 11 14

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7.

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Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park Character Areas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

St Mary’s Quarter Grand Axis - Lower Ground Playground Quarter Croom’s Hill Plateau The Old Royal Observatory Giant Steps Lover’s Walk Valley Maze Hill and One Tree Hill

Surrounding Character Areas 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

The Reservoir Quarter The Rose Garden The Ranger’s Field Bandstand Quarter The Flower Garden Blackheath Gate The Wilderness & Blackheath Slips Greenwich Park Cafe and Garden

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

1. The River Thames 2. Greenwich Riverside and Cutty Sark 3. Royal Navy College 4. Greenwich Town Centre 5. Crooms Hill 6. Maze Hill 7. Blackheath 8. Blackheath Vale

AN INTRODUCTION

67


FINDING THE SITE//

Escarpment

Dense Mixed Trees

Formal Deciduous Tree Avenues

Scattered Mixed Trees

Greenwich park, initially enclosed in 1433 has a notable veteran and ancient tree stock. Small areas of manicured gardens punctuate a mixture of acid and amenity grasslands. Scattered trees and formal avenues run throughout the parks rolling topography.

68

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE


Acid Grasslands

Amenity Grasslands

Meadow Grasslands

Manicured Gardens

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE

69


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70

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Low Sensitivity to Change

M

Medium Sensitivity to Change

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High Sensitivity to Change Civic / Education. - Large scale late 17th century Baroque Architecture.

Retail / Commercial - Georgian and Victorian, medium scale buildings with traditional shop frontages

Residential - Medium scale Georgian architecture. Stucco and brick terrace faรงades.

Amenity grass land contained by deciduous trees.

Scattered deciduous trees and amenity grassland

Dense mixed woodland

Open Heathland

Residential - Victorian. Brick semi detached faรงades.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE

Modern Waterfront


The park is encompassed by several succinct character areas. A strong relationship between the parks form and the neighbouring Queens House and Naval Collage dominates the site, as Georgian and Victorian residential house line the adjacent streets.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE

71


1433 Duke Humphrey constructed a tower strategically placed on the edge of the heath with prospect of both the river and the capital. The Park was also enclosed by earth forms and a timber fence (TRP, 2006).

1443 Duke Humphrey constructed the Palace of Placentia on the banks of the Thames. Under the Tudor’s, Placentia became the pre-eminent Royal Palace (TRP, 2006).

1676 King Charles II commissioned the construction of the Greenwich Observatory. Christopher Wren identified the site of the Duke Humphrey’s tower for the then state of the art astronomy and navigation facility (TRP, 2006).

1696: Christopher Wren led the design of the Royal Naval Hospital. The design strengthened the Grand Axis of the Park and Queens house. The buildings later became a Naval College and are now part of the University of Greenwich.

72


1616 The construction of the Queen’s House was overseen by architect Indigo Jones. Soon after James I ordered the construction of the brick boundary wall (TRP, 2006).

1663 Prominent French landscape architect Andre Le Notre designed and oversaw implementation of the Grand Axis, terraces and Elm Avenues that still define the parks form today (TRP, 2006).

1780 The uses of parks where beginning to change from hunting to leisure. This saw the enclosure of the Deer herds to the southern ‘Wilderness’ section of the park (TRP, 2006).

1884 The scientific pre-eminence of the observatory made it the obvious choice to position the centre of the zero meridian time zone which runs north to south through the park (TRP, 2006).

Enclosed in 1433 , Greenwich Park has received several design reconfigurations. It was the 1663 ‘Grand Axis’ design which still defines the park today, with formal avenues dividing the space.

73


TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS//

A

B

C

D

1

2

The Escarpment A walk along the escarpment reveals a changing landscape. Divided by Veteran tree avenues and dense woodland, dispersed openings provide differing panoramas of the city.

A

nalysis

a

inextricably related Queen’s House and old Royal Naval

topographic quality unique from other

College, the corporate edifices of Canary Wharf now

London parks. A steep escarpment running

dominate the view. Bearing witness to the evolution

east to west divided the park into three succinct

of London’s skyline this escarpment has led dormant,

spaces; the lowland, the highland, and the escarpment

unexacting and accepting of the urban metamorphosis

itself. An historic park arrangement preserved in time,

taking place before it. A promontory walked for

it was the natural escarpment carved by the timeless

millennia, this escarpment serves not only as the

River Thames that epitomised the parks palpable sense

platform to view London but as a landscape datum in

of permanency.

both space and time; the Greenwich Park escarpment

Commanding a prospect of the River Thames and the

is London’s datum line.

74

of

Greenwich

Park

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

revealed

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE


THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

FINDING THE SITE

75


2010 - 2016 CANARY WHARF

2000-2010 CANARY WHARF

1990-2000 CANARY WHARF

1712 THE ROYAL HOSPITAL 1735 THE QUEEN’S HOUSE

1675 THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY

South of the River Thames, the 45m climax of Greenwich Park’s promontory provides a city wide perspective of London with Canary Wharf in the foreground and St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London in the distance.

76

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS

T1

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1433 GREENWICH PARK ENCLOSED


Existing Park Form

Open Grassland

Existing Trees

Existing Paths

Open Expanses

Ancient Structre

The Datum Line Greenwich Park Ridge Line

‘Celebrate the topography, set the datum’

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT

Greenwich Park’s escarpment sets a datum in both space and time. Could this escarpment be set in stone, making manifest its sense of permanency?

DATUM LINE THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS

77


THE DATUM LINE: A PROPOSAL//

A

35’ E

Wha rf

0°02

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The

m 000 on 6 ond 3’ E of L 80 City 0°8

St Mary’s Quarter

785 0m

+ 20.00

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+ 25.00

+ 30.00

St Pauls + 35.00

+ 40.00

+ 45.00

1

3

Croom’s Hill Plateau 1.

Store Room

2.

Vehical Rampway

3.

Testing Chamber West

4.

Testing Chamber East

5.

Debating Chambers

AA

+ 45.00

B,BB

+ 40.00 + 35.00 + 30.00 + 25.00 + 20.00

78

+ 15.00

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

THE DATUM LINE

0°098

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St Pau ls

0°0984

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+ 35.00

+ 25.00

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+ 30.00

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+ 40.00

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+ 40.00

+ 45.00

Blackheath Avenue

1 1

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N

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10

20

40

80

The Datum Line responds directly to the unique topography of the Park. Extending a horitonal line from the highest contour of the escarpement to the contour 5m beneath it, Datum Line creates a concrete infinity line. Celebrating the permanency of Greenwich Park’s escarpment, Datum Line solidifies a moment in both space and time upon which the future trajectories of london’s skyline can be judged.

120

A,AA

+ 45.00 + 40.00

5 10 15

25

50

100

+ 35.00

150

+ 30.00 + 25.00

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS

+ 20.00 + 15.00

79


CEMENTING THE TOPOGRAPHY// + 40.00

+ 40.00

5’ E

St Mary’s Quarter

lk Wa ue r’s en Av ve Lo The

+ 35.00

Can ary Wha rf 78 50m 0°02 3

7850m

+ 35.00

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+ 45.00

+ 25.00

+ 45.00

Blackheath Avenue

+45

+ 30.00

1 + 35.00

+40

1

The Debating Chamber + 40.00

5 + 45.00

4

3

Croom’s Hill Plateau 1.

Store Room

2.

Vehical Rampway

3.

Testing Chamber West

4.

Testing Chamber East

5.

Debating Chambers

2

+45 +40

1

The Debating Chamber

5 10 15

25

50

100

150

Croom’s Hill Plateau 1.

Store Room

2.

Vehical Rampway

3.

Testing Chamber West

4.

Testing Chamber East

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT AA 5.

Debating Chambers

DATUM LINE GREENWICH PARK + 45.00

B,BB

+ 40.00 + 35.00 + 30.00 + 25.00 + 20.00 + 15.00

80

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

CEMENTING THE TOPOGRAPHY


m + 40.00

St Pau ls

+ 25.00

St Pauls

Gree n Obse wich rvato ry

0°0984

’E

Cathed ral

+ 30.00

7850m +45

+45

1

+40

+40 + 35.00

Ramped Access

Stepped Access + 40.00

+ 45.00

+45

+45 +40

+40

Blackheath Avenue

Ramped Access

+45

The Store Room

1 +45

+40

+40

Ramped Access

The Ha-Ha N

B 5 3 A,AA

+ 45.00 + 40.00 + 35.00 + 30.00 + 25.00

2

+ 20.00 + 15.00

5 10 15

25

50

100

150

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT

The Datum Line follows the contour lines of Greenwich Park’s escarpment. Literally ‘filling in’ and cementing the space between the 45m and 40m contour lines, an intentionally defensive landscape gesture can command the DATUM LINE topography’s perspective of London.

GREENWICH PARK

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

CEMENTING THE TOPOGRAPHY

81

0°0984

Cathed E ral 7


5.

4.

6.

3.

1.

82


DESIGN PRINCIPLES//

1. Book End the Datum Line

4. Provide an Accessible Landscape

Concrete walls will provide both a ‘book end’ and threshold to the Datum Line. Each end of the Datum Line will be defined by a 10 metre wall which spatially narrates the begin and the end of the journey whilst directing the user towards the view.

Where the large axis roads cross the Datum Line a ramped access will be provided. True accessibility is fundamental in underpinning the democratic and public nature of the Datum line.

2. Respect the Existing Layout of the Park

5. The Ha-Ha

The historic layout of the park is to be respected. Whilst the datum line juxtaposes a bold statement upon this historic landscape, the concrete gesture will not interfere or disrupt the current function and circulation of the park.

3. Protect Existing Veteran and Ancient Trees: The Debating Chamber

6. Protect Existing Veteran and Ancient Trees: The Tree Pit

Where the topography dictates and the Datum Line is wide enough, amphitheatres will step down towards veteran and ancient trees. Dictated by the tree protection zones the landscape proposal will not impact the parks mature tree stock.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

A stepped Ha-Ha will affront the Datum Line. Providing a concrete infinity line, views will be un-impacted whilst a safe edge to the termination of the landscape will be provided. The Ha Ha also provides a continuous seated prospect of the view.

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

Where the topography steepens and the Datum Line narrows a tree pit will be provided to ensure the preservation of existing ancient and veteran trees.

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

83


AN EXPRESSION OF EXTREME HORIZONTALITY//

1

Lo ve r

One Tree Hill East Greenwich 750m

0°00’ E

0m

60

c

i nw

ee Gr

r2 ula E ins en ’51 P 0 h

0°0

1.

84

Store Room

2.

Vehical Rampway

3.

Testing Chamber West

4.

Testing Chamber East

5.

Debating Chambers

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

AN EXPRESSION OF HORIZONTALITY

’s W alk


0°0984

’E St Pauls Cathedra l 7850m

Blackheath Avenue

2

Croom’s Hill Plateau

3

1 1 6000m City of London

0°8803’ E

Gree n Obse wich rvato ry

St Mary’s Quarter

ty Ci

Can a

ry W

ha 0°02 rf 7850 35’ E m

m 00 60 on nd ’ E Lo 03 of °88 0

N

4

5

0

5 10 15

25

50

100

10

20

40

80

120

150

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT DATUM LINE GREENWICH PARK

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS

85


PARLIAMENT AS A PROCESS// Construction of the Datum Line

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

‘Deciding on the buildings of London’s future, standing on the tombstones of it‘s past’

The datum line will be constructed out of recycled materials from demolished buildings within London. Providing a sustainable conceptual ‘closed loop’, THEand SKYLINE PARLIAMENT the public will decide on the buildings of London’s future whilst standing on the DATUM LINE tombstones of it’s past. GREENWICH PARK

86

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


Process of the Parliament

Datum Line Database

Pariament is called

A KIT OF PARTS Moveable Furniture

Augmented Reality

‘The Windarium’

The Datum Line App

‘The Windarium’

Let’s test this!

Is this augmented reality the future?

Don’t forget to Vote!

The Datum Line provides a physical platform for a virtual process. Once a proposal submitted the public haveis6made’ weeks to visit the Parliament and test ‘A proposal is submitted, theis Pariament is called, a decision

the validity of the proposal against the backdrop of London. Presentations are held the proponents of the application and testing chambers allow citizens to THEbySKYLINE PARLIAMENT challenge there ideas. DATUM LINE

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT // GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE// GREENWICH PARK

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

87


‘What will the future London S 88

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

THE SKYLINE

DATUM


Skyline look like?... You decide’

PARLIAMENT

M LINE

The Datum Line provides a Pan-city appoach to the staging of tall buildings upon the skyline of London. The people can shape the city silhouette that represents them.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

89


Meandering through Greenwich Park the landscape gesture solidifies a point in space and time. A Datum upon which the skyline of London can be judged.

90

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


technologies juxtapose proposed ‘No longer the dormant onlooker, Greenwich Park becomes anVirtual active reality instrument of change. ’ buildings against existing and planned buildings of the future.

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

DATUM LINE GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

GREENWICH PARK

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

91


Speculators of tall buildings applications have the ‘The first monthly Planning Parliament is called. The Architects Present ’ opportunity to present their design to further inform an engaged public of their proposals.

THE MOBILE COMMONS

92

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

DATUM LINE

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

GREENWICH PARK

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


The testing allows users to ‘The wind machine blows and the building glows. But will it passchamber the peoples scrutiny? ’ look upon a detailed 3d model of a proposal. The windarium wind machines calculate and recreate the wind effects of the tall building.

TESTING CHAMBER EAST DATUM LINE

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

GREENWICH PARK

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

93


The demolished buildings of London used in the construction of the Datum Line are memorialised upon the landscape’s surface.

94

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


The Ha-Ha provides seating and safety without compromising the horizontal gesture. Views remain uninterrupted and the skyline of London is under-scored. THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

95


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96

SREBM HCPARLIAMENT GNIT//ABGREENWICH ED EPARK HTDATUM LINE// THEA SKYLINE ENIL MUTAD KRAP HCIWNEERG

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


The debating chambers provide ample seating and a variety of confined, private and public spaces within which proposals can be discussed and interrogated. THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

97


98

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES


Lying dormant no more the onlooker of one of the most evocative panoramas in the world, the London Skyline, has been awoken. Datum Line is now an active instrument of change

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

99


Undershaft

200M

Bishopsgate Goodsyard

40 Leadenhall

300M

100M

+ 25.00

rf 7

5’ E

Wh a

23

ary

0°0

Ca n

0m

00

3’ E

80

n6

do

0°8

n Lo

50

of

m

y Cit

0M

St Mary + 45.00

+ 45.00

Croom’s Hill Plateau

Set on Greenwich Park’s escarpment on the banks of the Thames, Datum Line orchastrates the democratic drawing of London’s skyline.

100

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

THE DATUM LINE


The Infinity Tower

South Quay

The Wardian

Newfoundland

One Bank Street

The Pinnicle

Glengall Tower

Wood Wharf

The Spire

The Maddison

200M

uls

0°00’51 E

Greenwich Pe

0m 65 E k 6 5’ ar 12 c P 0°0

St P a

pi

ym

+ 25.00

Canary Wharf 2850m

0°0

Cat 984’ E hed ral 785

Gree n Obse wich rvato ry

+ 30.00

0m

E h 0’ wic

75

0 0° een r

t as

G

E

0M + 40.00

0m

ninsular 26

00m

100M

Ol

y’s Quarter

300M

One Tree Hill

+ 40.00

+ 40.00

+ 35.00

+ 40.00 + 45.00

Lover’s W al

k

+ 45.00

+ 45.00 + 45.00

Blackheath Avenue N 0

5

10

20

40

60

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

GREENWICH PARK DATUM LINE//

TOPOGRAPHY AS UNIQUENESS

101


102


06

CONCLUSION //

103


Conclusion//

L

ondon’s Skyline is an unfinished and ever

planning decisions. Competing cities in a globalised

changing composition drawn upon the city’s

political and economic landscape has accelerated

horizon. In a state of perpetual flux, London’s

efforts to create a visually seductive, marketable and

skyline expands and alters in response to competing

iconic city image (Zukin, 1995; Minton, 2006). Following

social and political trajectories of the city below.

globalised trends set by cities such as Dubai and

A skyline however isn’t merely a line drawn upon the

Singapore, London has embraced a decontextualised

horizon but a man made landscape composition that

proliferation of tall buildings upon its historically low

provides an abstract representation of a city’s plurality

rise skyline. With financial benefits, the opportunity

(Attoe, 1981; Appert and Montes, 2015; Gassner, 2013;

for capital accumulation for investors, and the ‘trickle

Kostof, 1991).

An urban portrait providing a self-

down’ economic effect of section 106 and Community

reifying marker of the changing powers, trajectories

infrastructure levies (CIL) global architecture has been

and values of the people who occupy it, a city skyline

central to London’s entrepreneurial urbanism (Sklair,

adopts an inherent representative responsibility to its

2005; Charney, 2007; Gassner, 2013).

people (Appert and Montes, 2015).

It is evident powerful politicians, private stakeholders

With over 250 tall buildings due to be delivered within

and real estate speculators making up the Transnational

the city it is undeniable that London’s skyline is growing

Capitalist Class (TCC) strongly influence the redrawing

taller. A contentious issue with many opponents to this

and commodification of the city image into an

verticalisation, it is possible that the current planning

international destination for global capital (Sklair,

system is failing to produce a consented image of the

2005). Interested in capital accumulation and power

city. Currently mediated by guidelines set out within

consolidation,

the London Plan and it’s supplementary document,

bourgeoisie use iconic real estate investment as a

the London View Frame Management (LVMF) London’s

vehicle to reify their status. Whilst the London Plan

planning system focusses on the protection of narrow

outlines areas for tall building development, economic

corridors which preserve the silhouettes of iconic

aspirations pave the way for the TCC’s privatisation of

historic symbols.

the skyline. The London skyline then, is a territorialised

With powers entrusted to the GLA, local planning

commodity for the powerful few and not the collective

bodies and the London Mayor, private capitalist

many.

pressures can be seen to influence tall building

This privatised verticalisation of the skyline does

104

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

CONCLUSION

this

socio-economic

international


however present serious implications to the position

(Twitchen and Adams, 2012). Using virtual technologies

of the historic edifices upon the skyline. Historic sites

the transfer of power can flow both up and down

provide a national sense of self, conveying moral and

traditional channels of technocratic knowledge

cultural signifiers of nationhood to outsiders and

distribution. With a publicly accessible restructuring

underpinning a national identity to insiders (Edensor,

of the planning system, citizens can be easily made

2012). The current staging of tall, de-contextualised

aware of proposals and feed comments back to the

buildings upon the skyline then, threatens the

applications proponents. With an more engaged public,

predominance of these iconic sites within the capital’s

the planning of London’s skyline can be mandated

spatial hierarchy

to the people and a truly democratic, consented, and

The proliferation of capitalist edifices upon the skyline

plural skyline could be drawn.

also presents problems with what Sharon Zukin terms

By forwarding a symbiotic pairing of the physical

‘the symbolic economy’ (Zukin, 1995). With the modern

landscape and virtual technologies it is possible that

product of a globalised city being culture, consumable

the future planning of London’s skyline can be publicly

images are drawn to attract investment. This redrawing

consented. Using natural panoramas of the city, virtual

however presents a semiotic disconnect to a people’s

reality technologies can superimpose future tall

metaphysical sense of belonging. With the staging of

building applications upon the skyline. E-Democracy

capitalist symbols upon a city skyline a polis can ask

(Vinod Kumar, 2017) technologies can be employed

who this skyline is really representing? By endorsing

to obtain quick and informed decisions about a tall

the packaging and presentation of a consumable,

building proposals legitimacy. Providing a landscape

globally iconic skyline, the GLA and other publicly

intervention which outlines the skyline of London

elected officials risk alienating the people of London

in an independent, neutral and non-biased way, the

from their sense of civic duty and public engagement.

apparatus for a democratic and representative skyline

Models for a more accessible and interactive public

could be employed.

participation stratagem do however exist, not in the physical realm, but in the virtual one. Web 2.o technologies have the potential to increase public participation and make manifest a new political platform for high performance public participation

THE SKYLINE PARLIAMENT //

CONCLUSION

105


106


07

REFERENCES //

107


REFERENCES // Appert, M. and Montes, C. (2015). Skyscrapers and the redrawing of the London skyline: a case of territorialisation through landscape control. Articulo, [online] (Special issue 7). Available at: http://articulo.revues. org/2784 [Accessed 13 Aug. 2017]. Attoe, W. (1981). Skylines. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Charney, I. (2007). The politics of design: architecture, tall buildings and the skyline of central London. Area, 39(2), pp.195-205. Charney, I. (2007). The politics of design: architecture, tall buildings and the skyline of central London. Area, 39(2), pp.195-205. Edensor, T. (2002). National identity, popular culture and everyday life. 1st ed. Oxford: Berg Publishers, pp.39-55. English Heritage. (2016). Londoner’s want Their say on the Skyline. [online] Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/ news/londoners-want-a-say-on-their-skyline [Accessed 30 Aug. 2017]. Garmory, N., Vernon, S. and Tennant, R. (2009). Landscape Architect’s Pocket Book, 1. Burlington: Elsevier. Gassner, G. (2013). Unfinished and unfinishable: London’s skylines. Ph.D. London School of Economics. Jacobs, A. and Appleyard, D. (2007). Toward an Urban Design Manifesto. In: R. LeGates and F. Stout, ed., The City Reader, 4th ed. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, p.442. Johnston, C. (2017). Paddington skyscraper scrapped after fierce opposition. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www. theguardian.com/ar tanddesign/2016/jan/30/paddington-

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skyscraper-scrapped-after-fierce-opposition

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10.1191/1474474005eu321oa. Ruppert, E. (2005). The Moral Economy of Cities. 1st ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp.126-148. Smith, A. (1991) National Identity. London: Penguin, pp.16-18. Short, M. (2012). Planning for tall buildings. London: Routledge. The Mayor of London (2016). The London Plan. London: GLA. The Royal Parks. (2017). History and Architecture. [online] Available at:https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/greenwich-park/aboutgreenwich-park/history-and-architecture [Accessed 24 Sep. 2017]. Townsend, A. and Tully, J. (2004). Modernising Planning: Public Participation in the UK Planning System. In: Urban and Regional Planning. Porto: EUROPEAN REGIONAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION.

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Twitchen, C. and Adams, D. (2012). Using web technology to increase levels of public participation in planning. Town Planning Review, 83(6), p.vii-xiv. Sklair, L. (2005). The Transnational Capitalist Class and Contemporary Architecture in Globalizing Cities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(3), pp.485-500. Zukin, S. (1995). The Cultures of Cities. 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, pp.132-142. Zukin, S. (2010). Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.1-16.

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The Skyline Parliament - Landscape Architecture Dissertation  

The Skyline Parliament proposes a new way to democratically plan the staging of tall buildings upon London's skyline. A design dissertation...

The Skyline Parliament - Landscape Architecture Dissertation  

The Skyline Parliament proposes a new way to democratically plan the staging of tall buildings upon London's skyline. A design dissertation...

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