After more than three decades, there’s definitely a chance now for innovation to meet modern working and living demands in the E14 postcode: some of the original buildings in and around Canary Wharf are ripe for retrofit and repurposing while elsewhere new structural additional give new life and meaning to this part of east London.
by Helen Parton
The refurbishment of 40 Bank Street by Stiff+Trevillion includes plenty of informal meeting spaces. © Stiff+Trevillion
Canary Wharf, both the building itself and the modernisation of the Docklands area in which it stands, has been a recognisable part of the architectural fabric of London since it was constructed in the late 1980s. Now, more than thirty years later, is an interesting time for the area. Last year, Canary Wharf Group revealed a total footfall on its estate of circa 54 million, the highest total in Canary Wharf’s history, letting over 38500 sq.m in 2022 with this momentum set to continue this year.
Architects Stiff+Trevillion has extensively refurbished 40 Bank Street, creating an amenity-rich working environment including a barista coffee bar and relaxed, informal meeting spaces on the refurbished ground floor reception space. Testament to the effectiveness of the refresh, online trading and investment firm Saxo recently announced it has leased 929 sq.m for 7 years on the 26th floor. Surrounding the building are green spaces, a vast array of hospitality venues and the opportunity to reclaim work-life balance, 21st century style with open-water swimming, go kart racing and a comprehensive arts programme.
Westferry, Canary Wharf is home to Vetro a new residential development by Rockwell. The building is designed by Simpson Haugh. © Rockwell
For those wanting to take advantage of the amenities by living and working in the area, property developer Rockwell has announced the completion of Vetro, a collection of one and two bedroom apartments designed by architects Simpson Haugh. The materiality of the building mixes traditional brick with slender, vertical glazing while its inside is dominated by clean lines and considered lighting. Apartments feature a multi-functional ‘winter garden’ which can be sued as a gym, study or reading areas so tenants can enjoy the city skyline as they work exercise or relax. Vetro tenants can also take advantage of the communal fitness facilities, relaxation areas, concierge as well as landscaped podium garden and all the benefits that outdoor living brings.
A new bridge at South Dock has just been given planning approval. © Knight Architects
Speaking of going outside, Knight Architects together with Arcadis and KGAL has just secured planning approval for the new eye-catching South Dock footbridge from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The crossing, near Knight Architects’ existing Water Street Bridge is a two-span bridge, composed of a steel beam with a single central pier to the dock. The 70-metre long moveable structure will relieve pressure on existing pedestrian routes and facilitating the area’s economic and social growth. The tender process is expected to be completed this year with construction beginning after that.
Qube in Wood Wharf features spaces to relax as well as state-of-the-art recording studios. © The Qube
Over in the newly developed Wood Wharf, adjacent to Canary Wharf, a second site of the Qube, London’s members-only space for musicians and creators has been launched. The creative work of Kvist Design, the workspace features 24 production rooms and a VIP lounge. The studios been designed by an industry-leading acoustician for the best sound recording and content creation with an automated service which means footage from the built-in cameras, lighting and microphones enables users is emailed ready for streaming, filming and editing. Completing the set up, there is also a private members bar and lounge and an outdoor terraces for unwinding after a session.
Whether working, living or socialising, Canary Wharf offers plenty of well-designed spaces designed to last another thirty years.