5 Coolest Modern Buildings To See In London

If you're searching for a city with a range of modern architecture to explore then look no further than London. England's Capital has a rich history spanning thousands of years and an iconic skyline filled with famous landmarks.

Yet London is also home to numerous new-age buildings, many of them no more than thirty years old, that have become established in their own right for being both outlandish and spectacular feats of design.

Here is a list of 5 cool modern buildings that are a must-see for anyone visiting London:

The ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower

Found in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this intertwined red and silver metallic structure is made from recycled steel. Designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor alongside Engineer Cecil Balmond, the Orbit Tower stands nearly 115 metres tall and overlooks Premier League Football club West Ham's Olympic Stadium.

Inside there are two passenger lifts which take around 32 seconds to reach the tower’s summit. It takes about twelve minutes to descend down the spiral staircase consisting of 455 steps. 

It even has a clear tube slide woven into its frame that Tourists can pay to experience for themselves!

City Hall

Along the Southbank of the River Thames is a captivating building used predominantly by The British Government and famously the Major of London.

Completed in 2002 at a cost of £43 million and nicknamed "The Snail," by some, City Hall is incredibly eye-catching with a tilted design that leans away from the Thames. 

The building is largely eco-friendly. Its roof has solar panels, inside an air-conditioning system that uses cold ground water which is then recycled to flush the toilets, and deep floor plan allowing heat to collect within its core. 

However with a largely glass surface, its windows are said to cost around £140,000 per year to wash!

Walkie Talkie

Situated at 20 Fenchurch Street, the ‘Walkie Talkie’ is part of London’s financial district.

One of the newest builds on this list, the 38 storey skyscraper was completed in Spring 2014 and cost over £200 million to construct.

The building gets its name from its ‘top heavy’ design which seems to lean outwards as you progress further upward through the floors. From afar you can fully appreciate the structure's distinctive ‘two way radio’ shape - thus where its name originates.   

The Walkie Talkie’s Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, located on the top three floors of the building and accessed only by two express lifts.

In 2013 several reports of damage to cars emerged during a particularly intense sunny spell in London and the ‘Walkie Talkie’ was strangely to blame. Due to the specific angles at which sunlight hit its  glass surface, intense and concentrated rays (much like a magnifying glass) lasered on to vehicles parked down on the streets below.

The Shard 

Standing at almost 310 metres, The Shard is by far London’s tallest building. In fact it is the fourth largest in Europe and 96th tallest in the world!

Despite being one of the newest structures to grace the Capital's horizon, The Shard has quickly become one of the most recognisable amongst visitors to the City. A big pull seems to be the views it offers to those who choose to venture onto the 72nd floor observation deck - dubbed the ‘View From The Shard.’

From this vantage point, tourists are able to see up to approximately forty miles in every direction, making it possible to peer above the city and out to the rolling hills of neighbouring towns and boroughs, otherwise lost amongst the busy urban landscape.

Another fifteen levels make up the ‘spire’ portion at its summit, however only six of those floors have the potential to be used, with the other nine levels exposed to the elements.

The Gherkin 

Aside from City Hall, this is one of the first ‘oddly shaped’ structures to make its way onto London’s skyline. 

Opened to the public in 2004, The Gherkin is best described as ‘bullet like', made up of over 7000 glass panels, the equivalent to three Football or Soccer pitches. Its interior has a unique design quirk with each floor turned five degrees compared to the one directly below it.

The Gherkin has gained pop-cult status throughout the years with appearances in various films including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Basic Instinct 2.