View from the top – The Shard -- seen here at sunset -- towers over London's skyline. More than 430 new tall buildings are currently in various stages of planning for the UK capital. Critics worry these buildings damage -- rather than improve -- the aesthetic appeal of city's skyline.
The changing face of the city – Prior to the 20th century, London's St Paul's Cathedral was the architectural focal point of the city. This image from 1616 depicts the South-west prospect of London from Somerset House to the Tower. St Paul's Cathedral is the tallest building for miles around.
The advent of the skyscraper – The 209-feet Senate House, built in 1937, was London's first skyscraper. Writer George Orwell supposedly modeled 1984's tyrannical Ministry of Truth on the now-iconic London building.
The changing face of the city – London's skyline was irrevocably altered by bombing in the Second World War. Many of the remaining historical buildings became protected -- but whole areas were wiped out and needed to be rebuilt. This image depicts St Paul's post-war reconstruction being carried out in London after the war.
London's race to the top – At the beginning of the 21st century, London began to build skywards. Recent skyscrapers such as the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin and the Walkie-Talkie are now all key features of the London skyline.
The juxtaposition of the old and the new – Today, London's skyline juxtaposes the old and the new. Here the Leadenhall Building -- known as the "Cheesegrater" -- leans sideways to avoid blocking St Paul's Cathedral.
The Eastern Cluster – The majority of London's extreme skyscrapers -- such as One Canada Square, Heron Tower and the Gherkin -- are located in the "Eastern Cluster".
The changing face of the city – The Cluster is home to buildings such as 30 St Mary's Axe, nicknamed the Gherkin, which was initially ridiculed by Londoners but has since become a quirky staple of the city's skyline.
London's future skyline – Londoners are now complaining that proposed super-tall building 22 Bishopsgate -- the construction site of which is seen here -- would block views of the Gherkin, towering over its neighbors' 180m at 262m.
Room with a view – The Shard -- Britain's tallest building -- contains offices, a hotel and luxury apartments, and was billed as a "vertical city". The building attempts to appeal to Londoners and visitors alike with its View From the Shard experience. On the top two floors of the building visitors can admire spectacular 360 panoramas of the city.
Iconic views – London's skyscrapers compete with iconic buildings such as Tower Bridge in the most beloved building polls. "Buildings gain importance and lose importance," says Annie Hampson, current City of London planning officer, "One has to accept that views do change".
London's housing crisis – Critics of tall buildings argue they do nothing to aid London's housing crisis.
Skyscraper city – London is building upwards in part to compete with cities such as Dubai. The Middle Eastern city has 911 completed high rises and is home to Burj Khalifa -- the tallest building in the world -- seen here towering over the city's skyline.
A vision of the future? – The Burj Khalifa soars 828 meters into the sky. But even the Burj is soon to be overshadowed by the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia -- a skyscraper likely to reach one kilometer high.
The competition continues – Once completed in 2020, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is likely to set new records for height at one kilometer high.
Race to the top – Skyscrapers in Shanghai symbolize a shift in global power dynamics. Here, the Shanghai World Financial Center is viewed from the Shanghai Tower -- the second tallest building in the world.
Futuristic cities – Shanghai's ever-growing skyline is a symbol of China's status as a burgeoning global power. London continues to build upwards in an attempt to keep up with new global powers.