4 projects redefining Canary Wharf’s residential boom

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

A belated Merry Christmas and New Year to all my readership!

2019 is an exciting year to witness approved projects breaking ground and many others continuing to steadily take shape. I want to focus on the Canary Wharf district for the first post of the year since it is currently experiencing a renaissance in construction – the likes of which we haven’t witnessed for a while (certainly not my generation) ever since 1 Canada Square broke ground back in the 1990s. With its important strategic location, not only as a European but an international financial zone, developers are now foraying into residential towers that look to accommodate the growing working professional population within the surrounding area. Canary Wharf is changing and here I quickly round up 4 projects defining its current residential boom.

1. Wood Wharf

Worthy of an article in its own right, this up-and-coming district is being constructed to the east of Canary Wharf Estate and is set to transform the Docklands, widely accepted as a corporate enclave, into a more sociable locality – a welcome shift away from the ‘anodyne’ financial institutions that have defined one of Europe’s largest financial districts to date. Due for completion in 2023, the entire complex is a joint collaboration between Canary Wharf Group, various architects and engineering firms. The area will combine residential, commercial and hotel elements and although projected to be mixed-use, there is a strong emphasis on residential. With 3,600 homes in the pipeline, a quarter of homes are set to be affordable with architects, Patel Taylor, appointed to execute that vision. Office space will be primarily let to attract start-ups in the tech and creative sectors creating around 20,000 new jobs.

Wood Wharf as seen from South Quay Plaza
Phase 1 of Wood Wharf (left) under construction with phase 2 (right) breaking ground

Phase 1 of the development is well underway with phase 2 commencing in 2019, despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit over a skilled tech-centric talent pool. With 5G set to be trialled within the area, developers also want to blur the boundaries between work and home, which is being reflected in the community they are looking to create. They envision this channelled through homes, parks and a general feeling of belonging that isn’t present in the current district. This is why there is the hope that career and social life will combine along with carefully curated amenities to make that masterplan a reality.

Image result for wood wharf complete
CGI of the complete Wood Wharf district (Source: QCIC Group)

2. One Park Drive 

One Park Drive will stand as the centrepiece of Wood Wharf district. Developed by Canary Wharf Group, it is designed by renowned Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron, as their first UK residential project. This project really excites me as its distinct cylindrical form allows it to innovate and maximise floor space and light for its residents. It also signifies the forward-thinking mentality of those developers who want to position Wood Wharf as a district that champions originality. Offering 438 apartments across 58 storeys, the tower is divided into three distinct sections, namely Loft, Cluster and Bay. Terracotta panels clad the three sections that offset and rotate around the building giving it its characteristic circular design.

One Park Drive tower
One Park Drive (circular tower) under construction

3. Newfoundland Quay Tower

Set to become Canary Wharf Estate’s first and only residential skyscraper to date, Newfoundland Quay Tower is set to redefine urban living in London. Built to accommodate the growing office population of the financial district just next door, the tower’s developers (Canary Wharf Group again) will no doubt aim to attract those earning lucrative salaries who can afford the 636 fully furnished luxury apartments. With HCL Architects designing the structure and WSP providing structural engineering services, the tower’s 60 storeys employ a unique, diagrid steel frame that supports the entire structure. The visually appealing steel bracing aesthetic – similar to that of The Gherkin – is the first of its kind within the estate, thus eschewing a welcome departure away from the boxed, monochromatic style of its more famous neighbours close by. Due for completion in 2019, the structure has been topped out and work is underway to complete the external bracing as well as the interior.

This is the current state of the building:

Newfoundland Tower, Canary Wharf

This is what it’s projected to look like:

Newfoundland - London, UK
(Source: HCL Architects)

4. Landmark Pinnacle

Sitting at the dramatic bend of the River Thames at South Dock, just metres away from Newfoundland, Landmark Pinnacle’s unique location gives its residents uninterrupted views of London. It is being designed by award-winning architects, Squire and Partners, with WSP providing structural engineering services. Set to become the tallest residential building in Europe when completed in 2020, the tower is the final – and tallest – addition to the Landmark trilogy, comprising of the Landmark East and Landmark West buildings next door.

Landmark Pinnacle under construction
Landmark Pinnacle (right) under construction with the Landmark East and West towers in the foreground

Its 75 floors adopt a clean, linear form clad in glass and stainless steel that maximises its standing as a structural icon within the area. Its sleek design emphasises the architects’ desire to allow ample light to pour into the building. As it’s set to house the most habitable floors in the UK when completed, each floor is designed to serve as many amenities as possible with Levels 27, 56 and 75 providing state-of-the-art children’s play areas, a gym and a roof terrace respectively. 

Landmark Pinnacle overlooking South Dock
Landmark Pinnacle overlooking South Dock

These four developments all form part of a wider initiative to position London as an ever-evolving city. It goes without saying that the new district will boost tourism and add millions to the local economy, thereby benefitting small businesses. The new buildings, both residential and commercial, will also be occupied without a question, so firms need to also prioritise reducing the carbon footprint and allow for change to organically take place. Developers need to also explore options on how to help those struggling with increasing house and flat prices in the surrounding area. It is, therefore, imperative to appreciate the positives and learn from the mistakes of the first major Canary Wharf construction boom thirty years ago.

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