Property Australia

Seven questions that only London can answer


As Australian cities grapple with the challenges of growth, London has blazed a trail. From out-of-the-box designs to revolutionary urban regeneration projects, London has solutions for every city-building dilemma.

England’s capital started life as a Roman Londinium, and has since survived plagues and bombings, famines and great fires, to become a model for the metropolitan century.

Tower BridgeThe city also has some of the world’s most-loved buildings – from St Paul’s Cathedral to Westminster Abbey. But Londoners aren’t resting on their laurels. They continue to reimagine their city with avant-garde architecture and carefully considered placemaking which captures the hearts and minds of tourists and locals alike.

From 19-26 July, the Property Council will be hosting a study tour explore one of the world’s great urban renewal success stories and answer some of the big questions facing city shapers.


  1. How do we encourage the public to embrace “out of the box” design?

By creating new places that everyone can enjoy, like that found at the spectacular Sky Garden. London’s highest public garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, locally known as the ‘Walkie-Talkie’, boasts breathtaking 360-degree views that are accessible to all. Designed by world-renowned Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, Sky Garden’s foliage-filled atrium, observation decks and open-air terrace overlook London’s famous rooftops and offer relaxation away from the city hubbub.


  1. What is the next wave of ‘must-haves’ on the tenant wish list?

White Collar Factory, situated on London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ at Old Street, is more than an office. Designed in collaboration with Arup as an urban campus of five low-rise buildings set behind a 16-storey tower, White Collar Factory is also home to a rooftop running track. The bottom of the building houses two floors of exercise-inspiring end-of-trip facilities. It’s more than a space, though. There’s services like bicycle maintenance, a lifestyle magazine that keeps tenants engaged and informed, plus a concierge that hunts down tickets to sold-out events.


  1. How do you reinvigorate redundant sites?

From derelict docklands to a global magnet for talent and investment, Canary Wharf has transformed 40 hectares of land into one of the world’s most attractive addresses. With a workforce of 120,000 spread across 37 buildings, the precinct is constantly evolving, with new developments by Brookfield Properties that invite spontaneity and street life.


  1. How can the constraints of a site create a building of distinction?

Look at the Leadenhall building for your answer. The design brief to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner and Laing O'Rourke was to protect the views of London landmarks, especially St Paul’s Cathedral. The solution? A glazed body that is tapered on one side – hence its popular moniker, the Cheesegrater.


  1. How can heritage be a catalyst for great places?

Long before it graced the cover of a Pink Floyd album, served as a backdrop in the Beatles 1963 movie Help! or featured in a generation of music video clips, Battersea Power Station was a London icon. Restoration of one of the world’s largest brick buildings, led by Turner & Townsend, has been a painstaking task, but one that is already attracting top tenants, including Apple in 2020.


  1. How do you build a community while urban regeneration is a work in progress?

Lendlease’s £2.3 billion Elephant Park urban regeneration project is breathing new life into the Elephant & Castle neighbourhood. The project has created 3,000 high quality new homes – 25 per cent of them affordable – as well as 6,000 jobs, business opportunities and green space for Londoners. There’s a skills centre, a shipping container village supporting new and local businesses, an events space and a start-up hub that all breathe life into the precinct while construction is underway.


  1. How do you design a vertical city?

Standing at 310m tall, The Shard is Western Europe’s tallest building, stretching up to 95 storeys. Renzo Piano’s architectural masterpiece brings together spaces for retail, office, residential, a public viewing gallery, and a five star hotel. The Shard’s complex engineering, led by Arup, demanded pioneering approaches, including top-down construction.

Get a closer look at these projects and more. Join the Property Council’s London study tour. Only a few places remain, so book today.