The Gherkin, The London Eye, the BT tower and One Canada Square are the great giants of London's skyline. One glance up in the air often takes your breath away as you contemplate the sheer scale of these structures. They also allow you to orientate yourself, making you realise that the city's landmarks are a great deal closer together than travelling underground on the tube might suggest.
This is the case with the other great cities of the world take Sydney and its Opera House or New York and its Empire State building and of course the gaping, harrowing hole where the Twin Towers once stood. A skyline is a city's pride and joy, a symbol of progress and success.
Come 2012, we will be wandering beneath a very different skyline indeed as five new giants are currently under construction and a further nine are proposed. The most impressive of these are the Shard London Bridge and The Pinnacle.
At over 300 metres tall and with 71 floors, Shard London Bridge is set to become the tallest building in Europe once it reaches completion in 2012. The tower was initially designed to become an 87 storey, circular glass tower as designed by Broadway Malyan but it was shunned by critics and redesigned by Renzo Piano who shortened the futuristic, glass structure to 310 meters.
The Pinnacle, which looks rather like a giant helter-skelter, is made from steel and glass and comes under the umbrella of structural expressionism. By 2011 it will dominate the skyline on Bishopsgate, boasting 63 floors of offices, observation points, restaurants and retail facilities. The building was designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates who came up with the idea of using flat glass panels resembling snake skin to make up the exterior, allowing for natural ventilation and light as well as acting as solar panels for optimum energy efficiency.
Other notable landmarks include the Henron Tower, another glass structure set to grace Bishopsgate and The Leadenhall Building, otherwise known as The Cheese Grater, which is a glass giant set to replace the current Leadenhill Building at 122 Leadenhill Street.
Although the recession has delayed and in some cases, halted the development of these towers altogether, London is still very much on the up and the cranes are lifting and dropping their way to a very different skyline to gaze upon come 2012.
By Jessica Hazel - freelance writer