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Work starts on SimpsonHaugh's Canary Wharf tower scheme

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Construction has begun on SimpsonHaugh and Partners’ 31-storey Dollar Bay residential scheme in Canary Wharf, east London

The ‘crystalline’ 121-home project was originally drawn up for Londonewcastle (AJ 09.03.12) before the site at the eastern end of the West India and Millwall Dock was sold to current developers Mount Anvil and Citystyle Homes.

The 14,327m² skyscraper includes shops, gym, 184 bicycle spaces, children’s playground, basement car parking and a double-skin, 1.5m-deep winter-garden zone allowing all the apartments to have ‘large protected semi-outdoor amenity space’.

Work on the £45million scheme is expected to complete in May 2017.

SimpsonHaugh and Partners' Dollar Bay scheme - section

SimpsonHaugh and Partners’ Dollar Bay scheme - section

Project data

Architect SimpsonHaugh and Partners
Location West India Dock
Type of project Residential 
Structural engineer WSP
Client Mount Anvil/One Housing Group
Funding Private
Start on site date July 2015
Completion May 2017
Area 14,327m²
Contract value £45 million
M&e consultant WSP
Quantity surveyor Mount Anvil
Planning supervisor Rolfe Judd


The architect’s view of the tower

‘We’ve striven to create a proposal that responds to the potential of the changing nature of the site while enhancing the setting of the conservation area. The proposals achieve this by providing a slender urban marker that will terminate the eastern vista down the dock. The form of the tower is composed of two angled forms one addressing the western vista down the dock the other smaller form addressing the eastern axis to the O2 Arena.

The thin tower provides an elegant vertical counterpoint to the horizontal Glenn Terrace

‘The building will enhance the conservation area by allowing the site to be opened up, generating an improved public realm, better views across the site, and more daylight resulting from less dense tree foliage. The thin tower provides an elegant vertical counterpoint to the horizontal Glenn Terrace when seen from the south east whilst also marking the eastern edge of the Isle of Dogs cluster extended from Canary Wharf by the Wood Wharf proposals.

‘The tower responds strongly to the east – west axis running through the site to provide its broadest face to these two aspects to not only optimise views in these directions but also: to minimise north facing accommodation; to minimise the extent of south facing facades and to move the bulk of the building as far as possible from Glen Terrace. The plan form responds to its accommodation with the larger units located in the larger western element offering apartments with three aspects. Smaller apartments are located in the eastern element, with double aspect units. The arrangement minimises the number of single aspect apartments reducing them to the studios only.

‘The two forms are joined at the internal circulation corridor and lift lobby. This element is expressed as a glazed shadow gap recessed between the two forms and offering natural ventilation and light to the internal corridor. The separation of the building into two forms not only allows the composition to address the two particular aspects of the site but also creates a more slender well proportioned elevation to the north and south. Each form is based on a simple rectilinear plan inclined along the short axis towards the central recessed joint. This gives the impression that each block is pulling away from the other creating a dynamic which reinforces the idea that each block is facing a different direction.

It feels like a flow of lava between two powerful strong statuesque pillars of crystal

‘The plan forms are extruded vertically with repeating floor plates however the top is terminated with an incline in section away from the joint line elongating the main axial elevation and piercing the skyline with an appropriate elegant profile. The base of each form has a similar incline away from the central joint down to a point on the eastern and western limits of the forms this generates the effect of the tower resting on two corners an effect which is given further drama by the location of two reflecting pools so the tower appears to hover. This gesture effectively widens the joint as it approaches the ground and is intended to be a fissure between the two pure crystalline forms of the tower. This contrast is given further emphasis by faceting and coloring the glass cladding of the joint so that it feels like a flow of lava between two powerful strong statuesque pillars of crystal.

‘The apartment layouts are orientated to either the east or west elevations of the building. The main living spaces can be extended into a double skin zone of a winter-garden which means that all apartments benefit from a large protected semi-outdoor amenity space. The whole west and east facades of the buildings are therefore clad in a double skin containing the winter-gardens. The double skin helps improve the environmental performance of the building with the outer skin being weather-tight but open-able for natural ventilation. On the west this façade is folded with a series of gentle vertical inclines starting at 1 storey in height at low level increasing to 4 storeys in height at the upper levels. This device gives the building a unique and distinctive image and is a reference to a cascade of water, speeding as it falls, as a response to the context of axial foreground of dock water.  The alternating folds provider differing reflections of either sky or water a give a pronounced horizontal order to the building which helps control the scale of the tower.

‘The north and south facades have integrated insulated solid panels with minimal double glazed full height windows providing slot windows to the mainly solid facades. These facades are clad in unitized SSG cladding system finished with a white dot matrix to reinforce the overall crystalline form with an opalescent emphasis to the thinner north and south elevations.’


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