The City of London looks to continue growing upwards and outwards with recent construction plans detailing proposals for three new skyscrapers in Shoreditch. As the square mile continues it’s expansion Eastwards we take a look at the iconic architecture that gives the area it’s unique skyline.
See our map below to locate the buildings.
Tower of London
This medieval building on the River Thames has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 9.00-17.30, Sunday – Monday 10.00-17.30. Last admission: 17.00
Canary Wharf Tower
8 Canada Square (also known as HSBC Group Head Office or HSBC Tower) is a skyscraper located at Canary Wharf in London Docklands,Borough of Tower Hamlets. The building serves as the global headquarters of the HSBC Group.
The tower was designed by Sir Norman Foster’s team of architects. Construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2002. There are 45 floors in the 200 metres (656 ft) high tower, the joint fourth tallest in the United Kingdom with the nearby Citigroup Centre, and the second tallest in Canary Wharf.
East London Mosque
In 1940 three houses were purchased in Commercial Road, London E1 and converted into a Mosque. It was opened on Friday 1 August 1941. The first prayer was led by the then Ambassador for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Shaikh Hafiz Wahab.
In 1975 the Greater London Council acquired the premises in Commercial Road under a compulsory purchase order. Temporary buildings were provided until the present mosque could be built in Whitechapel Road. In 1982 work on the new Mosque started and by 1985 the new East London Mosque was completed. On Friday 12 July 1985 the late Md. Sulaiman Jetha, Chairman of the Council of Management of the East London Mosque, welcomed worshippers into the newly built mosque.
This large, purpose-built mosque, complete with dome and minarets, soon became a landmark in London’s East End.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Building a new Olympic Stadium is a huge proposition, and the opportunity to create a truly iconic landmark for east London was at the heart of London’s Olympic bid.
For architects Populous, the challenge was to build a venue for 80,000 spectators to watch Olympic events that could also be adapted easily for legacy use following the Games. At the same time, London deserved an iconic structure that would act as an architectural focus point for the Park, inspiring years of architectural innovation in east London.
With a PVC roof and temporary tiered seating, the Stadium met these legacy design criteria. These decisions, combined with using outside ‘pods’ to host food and drink stands and toilets rather than placing these inside the Stadium itself, has made it much easier for the Stadium to be reconfigured for alternative uses after 2012.
The Hackney Empire is probably the best known theatre in the East End that is still open for business. This was one of the main music hall theatres to entertain local East Enders in Victorian times and it has seen more than a few past and present well-known names grace its stage during its time.
The theatre was originally constructed in 1901 as a music hall by the famous theatre architect, Frank Matcham. Music halls were an incredibly popular form of entertainment at the time, especially with the working classes, and anyone building a music hall could be sure of turning a profit.
The people behind the Empire really pulled out all the stops to give the theatre the WOW factor that would attract both artists and theatre goers. This was one of the most technologically advanced theatres of its time. It had electric lights, a built-in projector box and even central heating throughout the building. This plush and innovative theatre build attracted music hall acts from all over the world and also became popular with local audiences into the bargain.
The Old Truman Brewery complex covers 10+ acres on both sides of Brick Lane. The area and this complex have been regenerating over the last 15 years making it a destination in its own right today. With a blend of retail, leisure and events spaces, along with a wonderful collection of street art from some of the world’s best known artists, the Old Truman Brewery site is worth a visit.
There was a brewhouse here as early as 1666, but in 1724 the Black Eagle Brewery was built – becoming the largest in London and the 2nd biggest in Britain. By the early 19th Century this brewery was producing over 200,000 barrels of Porter a year. By the end of the 19th Century, most production was shifting to Burton-upon-Trent for the water supply and quality. But this London brewery kept going – though in decline. Finally in 1988 it closed. Its name today recognises the family that started and built it in its early years.
Sutton House was built in 1535 by Ralph Sadleir a courtier of Henry VIII.
At the age of fourteen Ralph had been placed in the household of Thomas Cromwell. Here he learnt Latin and developed other skills he would later put to good use in his political career.
Sadleir carried out missions in connection to the Dissolution of the Monastries. He was later sent on embassies to Scotland and France.
At Cromwell’s house Sadleir met his wife Helen Barre. By 1535 Ralph had built his family a three-storey house in Hackney, ‘the bryk place’.
30 St. Mary Axe is a 40 story building in the St. Mary Axe area of London. It is recognised as one of the more distinctive skyscrapers in the financial district of London and it stands on the former site of the Baltic Exchange building. Its form is so unique, that it has been given the nickname “the Gherkin.”
The building was designed by famed architect Norman Foster of the Foster and Partners architectural firm.
The Gherkin is essentially an elongated, curved, shaft with a rounded end that is reminiscent of a stretched egg. It is covered uniformly around the outside with glass panels and is rounded off at the corners. It has a lens-like dome at the top that serves as a type of observation deck.
The design of the Gherkin is heavily steeped in energy efficiency and there are a number of building features that enhance its efficiency.
Tower 42 was originally built by Natwest and called the Natwest Tower, a name that has still stuck.
The building was originally planned at 650 feet, 198 metres, but this was reduced. Still its then extreme height was allowed thanks to the combining of air-rights from both parcels of land that it occupies.
It was the UK’s first true skyscraper, and the tallest building in London until the topping-out of 1 Canada Square in the Docklands in 1990.
When completed the building was the tallest cantilevered tower in the world.
The Balfron Tower by architect Erno Goldfinger is an iconic Brutalist residential high rise located in London’s eastside Poplar borough. Designed in 1963 for the London County Council and completed in 1967 by the Greater London Council, this social housing estate broke the traditions of typical residential architecture. Conceived as a solution to sprawling suburbia, Goldfinger embraced verticality as the cure. Rising to 84 meters in height, the Balfron Tower dwarfs its immediate neighbors – the Carradale House, and the Glenkerry House – all forming part of the Brownfield Estates also designed by Goldfinger.
A map of East London's Iconic architecture
Looking to sell your property?
Discover how much your property is worth if you sell it through Peach Properties
Want to rent out your property?
Find out how much rent you could receive if you let your property through Peach Properties