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New Chapter Begins At Arrowhead Quay

The long-running Arrowhead Quay saga has begun another chapter with a new planning application filed for two residential skyscrapers on the site.

Coming from the pens of Glenn Howells are twin towers of 183 metres and 170 metres in height translating into 55 and 50 storeys respectively with 792 new residential units and 701 square metres of retail space on the ground floor.

The designs could be described as simple, unadorned and unexciting with two slim towers sharing a single podium building and the scale stepping down in height away from Canary Wharf. They are almost identical in design with repetitive horizontal off-white balconies projecting in front of the anodized aluminium cladding. They will ring each floor above the podium levels, and only the double height penthouse levels breaking away from this so the sky gardens they contain can have uninterrupted views.

Inspiration for the towers supposedly comes from 1 Kemble Street (formerly Space House), that was designed by Richard Seifert, and that today is considered one of his best buildings.

Previous designs had considered different options for the dominant balconies including balconies on all sides of the building but with cut backs on the north and south sides but it was felt that this gave too much vertical emphasis to the buildings. Another option was sheer facades on the north and south elevations and balconies to the east and west creating the appearance of indented corners but this was seen as unnecessarily reducing the outside space for the larger apartments.

Adding to the defining projecting impact of the balconies on the exterior is their depth that is far greater than the average of 1.2 metres seen on most developments in docklands. Here the balconies will be 1.8 metres wide making them large enough to put dining tables on.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with the project in isolation, there will perhaps be problems when it is viewed alongside the Landmark and other proposed towers for the area such as the Pride. All of these buildings are effectively residential slab blocks, and there is a real danger that this part of London will see little to differentiate enough between them. The accommodation they contain may be of an excellent quality, but will they form a group of buildings that as a whole are boring?

Article Related buildings:

Arrowhead Quay West Tower

Arrowhead Quay West Tower
Arrowhead Quay East Tower

Arrowhead Quay East Tower
Arrowhead Quay, London
Arrowhead Quay, London