Swiss practice unveils designs for 58-storey resi tower in London’s Docklands

Herzog & de Meuron has said it would be interested in designing a tower in the City as it unveiled plans for a 58-storey residential building in London’s Docklands.

The firm, which is behind the new Chelsea stadium along with a handful of other schemes in the capital, has drawn up the tower for Canary Wharf Group as the developer looks to build more than 3,000 homes at a plot on the eastern side of the Docklands development.

Senior partner Ascan Mergenthaler said: “We would be interested in doing a commercial tower in London. It would be quite a challenge.”

The 58-storey tower, which comes in at 210m high, is the firm’s second tallest building after its 56 Leonard scheme in New York which has less floors but is 40m taller.

Mergenthaler said Herzog & de Meuron “loved” working in London – it has an office in Clerkenwell – and added that it wanted to work with Canary Wharf Group because of its history at the site.

“The client has an important track record in what they’ve achieved here,” he added. “The client realised our design was something interesting because it’s a circular building in a field of rectangular buildings.”

Mergenthaler said its circular design “made a lot of sense…it looks like a lighthouse” and added: “It’s not a glass building, it’s a solid building. The windows really are windows. It’s important to feel the bones, the skeleton of the building.”

Canary Wharf Group chairman Sir George Iacobescu said the design marked a “softer side of Canary Wharf” and added: “It’s an expensive building to build but worth every penny. We could have done a building 20% cheaper [but] we’re trying to build a special building, the way architecture should be, not just a glass box. People will buy not just because of the views but because of the quality.”

He added that the cost of the scheme had gone up 15% since Brexit and admitted it had doubts about going ahead with the development following the vote to leave the EU last summer.

“We hesitated when we saw the effects on the market [in the days after the vote] but we trust in the future of the UK and [the tower] is such quality, people would want to buy.”

The 483-apartment scheme, called One Park Drive, is the first residential development by the Swiss practice in the UK and is expected to be completed towards the end of 2020. Prices starts at £575,000 for a studio, £750,000 for a one-bed, just over £1 million for a two-bed with three-bed apartments starting at £1.6 million. It will be built by Canary Wharf Contractors.

Grid Architects and Stanton Williams are already working on schemes at the site on the east side of the Canary Wharf estate.

Around 20 buildings will be built at the plot with two-thirds given over to residential with the work taking around eight years to complete.