Why London’s Skyline Has Oddly Shaped Skyscrapers

Christine Beldon of Cheddar explains the history of “Saint Paul Heights”, an informal 1938 agreement that limited the height of buildings in the city so as not to block the dome of the rebuilt Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The agreement became formal in 1989. Frustrated architects found themselves having to work around this rule and determined how designing their skyscrapers in odd shapes helped them stay within the spirit of the policy while being creative at the same time. These odd shapes led to buildings with nicknames such as “The Gherkin”, “The Shard”, and “The Cheese Grater”.

London’s skyline is spotted with several distinctly shaped skyscrapers. Londoners have awarded these unique building with some quirky nicknames including the Gherkin, the Shard, and the Cheesegrater. But these now iconic buildings weren’t designed this way for purely aesthetic purposes.