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AJ launches campaign to protect London's skyline


Some of the biggest names in British culture have thrown their weight behind a new campaign by the AJ and The Observer to stop a glut of poorly designed towers ruining London’s skyline

Architects such as David Chipperfield, David Adjaye, Eva Jiricna and Ted Cullinan have been joined by others including Kevin McCloud, artist Anish Kapoor, philosopher Alain de Botton and playwright Alan Bennett to publicly back the Skyline campaign - which aims to ensure the capital’s future skyscrapers are built in the right place and designed to the highest quality.

More than 230 tall buildings are currently consented or proposed across London, but many are insensitive to their surroundings and have been designed without concern for their collective impact.

Observer critic Rowan Moore – who devised the campaign with architect Barbara Weiss and the AJ - said it was not anti-skyscraper or about a blanket ban on high-rise schemes but about making sure the city’s ‘most visible buildings’ are of the highest quality.

He said: ‘Those with power and responsibility – the Communities Secretary and his ministers, the Mayor, and the boroughs – must wake up to the risk of irreversible harm that London is facing, and take effective action. 

‘This damage can be stopped. Existing powers allow local, city and national government to refuse tall buildings of poor quality and in inappropriate locations, and these powers must be used more rigorously.’

The campaign supports New London Architecture boss Peter Murray’s call for a new mayoral Skyline Commission ‘to review and enable well-designed development’ as well as calling for a more structured, defined and considered policy for tall buildings, with transparency for the public and clarity for developers.

The launch of the campaign in this weekend’s Observer will be followed in the AJ by a compelling series of essays, interviews and visualisations showing the capital’s threatened skyline, starting this Thursday (3 April).

Email skyline@architectsjournal.co.uk to sign up and show your support

Follow #LondonSkyline on twitter

Signatories to date:

  • Alan Bennett, playwright
  • Anish Kapoor, artist
  • Anthony Gormley, artist
  • Griff Rhys Jones, president, Civic Voice
  • Johnny Flynn, musician
  • Deyan Sudjic, director, Design Museum
  • Nick Starr, executive director, National Theatre
  • David Chipperfield, architect
  • Kevin McCloud, television presenter
  • Sarah Wigglesworth, architect
  • Professor Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins
  • John Tusa, journalist
  • David Adjaye, architect
  • Madelon Vriesendorp, artist
  • Edward Cullinan, architect, winner of Royal Gold Medal for architecture
  • Clem Cecil, director, SAVE
  • John Miller, architect
  • Professor Joseph Rykwert, historian, winner of Royal Gold Medal for architecture
  • Charles Saumarez Smith, chief executive, Royal Academy
  • Alain de Botton, author
  • Adam Caruso and Peter St John, architects
  • Simon Silver, director of Derwent London
  • Paul Thompson, Rector, Royal College of Art
  • Doris Lockhart, Saatchi
  • Barbara Weiss, architect
  • Alan Leibowitz, joint managing director, Dorrington
  • Sean Griffiths, architect University of Westminster
  • Eva Jiricna, architect
  • Lord Baker of Dorking, former Home Secretary and Environment Secretary
  • Charles Thomson, architect
  • Rory Olcayto, acting editor, Architects’ Journal
  • The Gentle Author
  • East End Preservation Society
  • Lucy Musgrave, director of PUBLICA
  • David Rosen, senior partner, Pilcher Hershman
  • Dickon Robinson, chair of Building Futures
  • Councillor Robert Davis, deputy leader & cabinet member Built Environment, Westminster City Council
  • Rosemarie MacQueen, strategic Director Built Environment, Westminster City Council
  • Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins, architects at Haworth Tompkins
  • Roger Zogolovitch, Solidspace
  • Liza Fior, architect at MUF
  • Alan Baxter, engineer
  • Lady Mary Stirling
  • Robin Nicholson, architect at Cullinan Studio
  • Rab and Denise Bennetts, architects at Bennetts Associates

Readers' comments (7)

  • All my support for the London skyline preservation campaign
    Eugenio Aguinaga

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  • middletonpaul@me.com

    Well done guys you have my full support
    Where can we sign up as per the list given in AJ?

    Architect and Design Consultant
    07920 725660
    middletonpaul@me.com • www.middletonpaul.me.uk

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  • The London skyline preservation campaign has my full support, but where do I go to sign up?

    Jeremy Crocker
    Designer and Developer

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  • An international group of researchers and practitioners has organised workshops and debate on issues regarding tall buildings and the skyline. It intends to give evidence and share experiences of high-rise planning and skyline regulations between european, asian and american cities.
    Further details can be found on the SKYLINE group website : http://recherche.univ-lyon2.fr/skyline/wordpress/?page_id=452

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  • Thanks for supporting the campaign. You can sign up by emailing skyline@architectsjournal.co.uk.

    You can also follow #LondonSkyline on twitter for all the latest debate.

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  • As a member of the London Assembly I'd be interested to hear suggestions on how the London Plan could be altered to save the #LondonSkyline.


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  • The SKYLINE research project, and internation team of researchers and practitioners has also launch its own survey on the perceptions of world skylines.

    We would be grateful if you could participate in the following anonymous survey :

    For further information on the research project :

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