The symmetrical trio is the fulfilment of Skidmore Owings Merrill's 1984 masterplan for London's second financial centre. At the same time, their completion coincides with the expansion of the original scheme of 1 million m2 of prime office and commercial space to more than 1.6 million m2.
One side effect is that London has lost one of its most compelling icons – the single sheer silvery tower rising out of two parallel rows of dumpy deep-plan office buildings and bounded on either side by the waters of West India Dock. Instead, Canary Wharf is busy transforming itself into a mini-Manhattan that has vaulted over the dock to the south to overwhelm Heron Quay with a tightly packed assortment of giant towers, slabs, boxes and other building forms, interspersed with shopping malls, parks and rapid transit stations.
In terms of architectural style, though, the phases currently under construction are more homogeneous, having abandoned the sub-classical postmodernism of the 1980s for a sleek, bland corporate super-modernism.
One thing, however, has not changed. Canary Wharf is still the domain of American architects, principally SOM, Pelli and Kohn Pedersen Fox, which designed the 30-storey slab shown at the far left of the picture. Only the UK's biggest architect, Foster and Partners, has had a look-in, with two towers rising to 18 and 42 storeys.
For those convinced that Britain is becoming the 51st American state, the evidence is at Canary Wharf.