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A Look At Chipperfields Canada Water Tower

He's one of the most acclaimed British architects working today, but there is a serious shortage of David Chipperfield designed buildings in the United Kingdom. Here we look closer at the proposals from the award-winning architect for a landmark tower at Canada Water.

This part of the scheme will have 27,431 square metres of space, 39 floors of residential space arranged a central core with three lifts, plus a lobby on the ground floor that is shared with a restaurant. The rooftop will have a garden of 336 square metres and there will be 57 spaces for cars in the basement. In all there will be 78 one-bedroom apartments, 87 two-bedroom apartments, and 78 three-bedroom apartments.

The 145-metre height is justified partly as that of a visual way-point that can be used to roughly navigate a bend in the River Thames that marks the start of the approach towards the City of London. As well as this it acts as a pinnacle for the skyline of Canada Water by providing a truly tall building to add some soar above the proposed and constructed shorter towers.

The ancient Greeks and Romans would mark major thoroughfares with triumphal columns, and here too the building has been designed as a slender column. The balconies have even been positioned to create the subtle impression of fluting by employing white metal tubular columns that run vertically up. The columns are intended to give varying appearances depending on the angle of viewing from white to dark metal creating a sense of depth for the viewer.

Further to this the balcony floors, which will be prefabricated concrete, are to be attached to the columns in such a way as to make them obviously balconies from a distance and reveal the slenderness of the inner tower. This will see the overall bulk of each floor reduce from 28.4 metres square to 24.75 metres square giving a visual height to width ratio of approximately 6 instead of 5.3. In effect, from a distance the tower will
appear about 13% more slender.

At the top of the building will be the roof garden which is intended to be semi public meaning it may be available for social functions and outside guests rather than just the exclusive use of tenants as a private garden. Many towers have planted amenity spaces at the top of them but few go for what one would call a true garden preferring some paving, benches and a few pot plants. Here trees are to be planted at the top with triple height transparent glazing enclosing the perimeter. This should create the appearance of what the architect has dubbed as a "rooftop greenhouse" although it is open at the centre.

The trees, likely to be a species of Carpinus that have leaves all year round, will require soil 80 centimetres deep, and pathways of stone of terrazzo although this has yet to be agreed.

At the ground level the tower will connect to a new square on the eastern side of Canada Water with the steps on it running all the way down to the waters edge that whilst retaining the historic edge of the basin as it existed 100 years ago, also manages to evoke a partially sunken Venetian piazza.

Needless to say given the quality on display, Chipperfield isn't working for just anyone here but for Sellar Design + Development Ltd who have more than a few links with the triumphant Shard project that now crowns London's skyline. Perhaps once finished, this can bring as much to Canada Water as the Shard has to Southwark.

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