Survey of London: Volumes 43 and 44, Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1994.
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Gazetteer of Modern Docklands Commercial, Industrial, and other Nonhousing Developments
Advance House, No. 33 Millharbour
This is a high-tech 'shiny shed', with silver corrugated cladding, red panels and black glass (Plate 157b). It was developed by Advanced Textile Products for its own use, designed by Nicholas Lacey, Jobst & Hyett, and was completed in 1987, with Henry Davis & Company as the project managers and Jarvis as the builders. There are 30,000 sq.ft of office space on three floors, and warehousing is provided. (fn. 4)
The superstore, off East Ferry Road, was the first major modern retail development on the Isle of Dogs. In the early 1980s part of the site of the Transporter Yard to the north of the Mudchute was leased from the PLA by the Leeds-based Associated Dairies, who were seeking to build a ring of supermarkets around outer London. The Isle of Dogs store was designed by the Whittam Cox Ellis Clayton Partnership, (fn. 5) and was built by Wates Construction in 1981–3. (fn. 6) The cost of development was reported to be £6 million, the total area is 97,000 sq.ft, and the store opened with more than 300 employees. (fn. 7) There is an internal row of nine smaller, independent shops (plus one external shop), a cafeteria, a filling station and 600 parking spaces. (fn. 8) The store is a low, singlestorey, flat-roofed building, with a square tower, topped by a pyramidal slated roof, set towards the north-west corner. The building is faced in dark-red mottled brick, with black ribbed fascias and light-green metalwork. Inside, the metal, latticed, roof-girders are exposed.
The Business Centre, Dollar Bay
This was developed by Dysart Developments and Ladkarn Holdings, with the Beaton Thomas Partnership as architects. The first phase, constructed by Costain in 1990–2, is a 350-space public car park. Two five-storey office blocks (Sovereign and Sterling Houses, providing 5,610 sq.m and 5.405 sq.m respectively) are planned, but work had not begun on site by March 1994. (fn. 9)
This is the largest and most important development in modern Docklands (Plates 144d, 152a, 152b, 153a, 153b, 153c, 154b; fig. 269). Indeed, to many contemporary observers, the ultimate fortunes of the whole area depend upon its success or failure.
Development of the site began modestly enough, with the conversion in 1982–3 of one of the existing warehouses (No. 30 Shed) into Limehouse Studios (see page 297). Then, in 1984 the LDDC gave permission for more ambitious plans for the central warehouse (No. 31 Shed) at Canary Wharf. Under this scheme, designed by Architects Workshop (George Finch and Bob Giles), the existing building would have been converted into 83 dwellings, and 65 shells for shops, offices and cafés, all above a station of the proposed Docklands Light Railway. The estimated cost was £10 million. Interestingly, even at this stage a grand tree-lined boulevard and a formal garden were proposed. (fn. 10)
However, these proposals were swept away by plans on a much grander scale, which were approved by the LDDC in October 1985. These envisaged a £1.5 billion development on the site, for 10 million sq.ft of office, hotel and retail space. (fn. 11) The consortium backing this scheme was led by G. Ware Travelstead, an American developer and principal of First Boston Real Estate. His attention had been drawn to Canary Wharf by Michael Van Clemm of the American bankers, Credit Suisse First Boston, on whose behalf Travelstead had been negotiating unsuccessfully for four years trying to find a major redevelopment for them in the City of London. They were joined in the consortium by Morgan Stanley, another American investment bank, and both intended that the scheme should include new headquarters buildings for themselves. (fn. 12)
At this stage there were plans for three tower blocks, each 850ft high, as well as lower blocks, and it was optimistically thought that the first phase, including one of the very tall blocks, might be completed by the end of 1988. (fn. 13) The general site plan and infrastructure were designed by the American practices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (project architect Bruce Graham) and I. M. Pei (project architect Henry Cobb), in association with the British firm of Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall. (fn. 14)
There was considerable opposition to the prospect of three such high tower blocks, especially as they would loom large in views from Greenwich Park, although the simplified planning procedures within the Enterprise Zone prevented such views being presented formally, and equally precluded the Secretary of State for the Environment from holding a public inquiry into the matter. (fn. 15) In 1986 a group of local authorities, led by the GLC and the Borough of Greenwich, tried to get a judicial review of the scheme, but failed. (fn. 1) Tower Hamlets Borough Council, on the other hand, was generally in favour of the plans and the prospect of local jobs that they offered. (fn. 17) Some commentators, most notably Colin Amery in the Financial Times, welcomed the tall towers, and the Royal Fine Art Commission also accepted them, although with reservations about their positioning. (fn. 18)
Initial work on the infrastructure for the site was completed early in 1987, but the master building agreement between the LDDC and the Canary Wharf consortium had still not been signed by April of that year. A month later the Conservative Government was returned for a third term, and resolved to break the deadlock by fixing a tight deadline for the signing of the agreement. This forced Travelstead to accept that he was unable to assemble the necessary funding for such an enormous scheme, (fn. 19) and in July 1987 Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston withdrew from the consortium. (fn. 20)
From the outset there had been scepticism that such an ambitious scheme could ever be realized, (fn. 21) and it seemed these doubts were to be quickly confirmed. However, the Chairman of the LDDC, Christopher Benson, approached the Canadian-based Olympia & York, with whom his company, MEPC, had had dealings in the early 1980s. (fn. 22) Olympia & York had become one of the largest developers and owners of office properties in North America. Its prosperity was largely based on an ability to spot the possibilities of apparently unpromising sites, offered at low prices. The money saved on landpurchase was then spent on erecting good-quality buildings and creating pleasant environments, which attracted top firms as tenants. In this way the firm had developed Flemington Park in Toronto and the World Financial Center in New York, laying the basis for its enormous wealth. Seeking another site for major redevelopment, Olympia & York's criteria were apparently met by Canary Wharf. They took over the scheme almost immediately and completed the master agreement on time. (fn. 23)
As a private company, owned by the brothers Paul, Arthur and Ralph Reichmann (with Paul as the dominant figure), Olympia & York (fn. 1) were particularly suited to execute such a scheme, for, as the magazine Business remarked: 'no public company answering to shareholders and bankers would have dared to be so ambitious'. (fn. 25) Or put the other way: 'Paul Reichmann's exalted reputation was the cornerstone of Canary Wharf. Had the project been championed by any other developer in the world, it almost certainly would have expired on the drawing board. (fn. 26) Moreover, by appearing as the last-minute saviour of a floundering project, it put itself in a very strong position for negotiations with the LDDC and the Government. In particular, the price for the site was very advantageous to Olympia & York. According to the LDDC, 'The price paid for the 20 acres of LDDCowned land on Canary Wharf equates to £1 million per acre of which £8 million is payable in cash and £12 million is represented by the developers' commitments to various on-site works of public benefit'. (fn. 27) In a hostile study of the scheme, the Docklands Consultative Committee argued that £1 million per acre was, by April 1987, lower than average for the Isle of Dogs. Furthermore, it claimed that the 'on-site works of public benefit', consisting of public spaces, internal roads and riverside walkways, were necessary components of the development and were eligible for tax breaks. If this was the case, then 'O & Y paid £400,000 per acre for LDDC-owned land'. In addition, the Consultative Committee pointed out that the Canary Wharf Master Plan created an extra 26 acres by building over the water in the docks. Since these also belonged to the LDDC and were not mentioned in the July 1987 press release, the Consultative Committee concluded that 'O & Y paid £8 million for 46 acres, an average of less than £174,000 an acre'. (fn. 28)
Olympia & York generally made only minor changes to the original scheme, but the tower blocks were repositioned and the two easternmost ones were reduced in height. (fn. 29) One other significant alteration was the abandonment of the raised pedestrian deck that covered most of the site in the original plan for Travelstead. (fn. 30) Skidmore, Owings & Merrill also drew up design guidelines which were incorporated into the purchase contract of the site from the LDDC. These laid down design constraints for each individual building, giving maximum dimensions, heights of setbacks, cornice lines, and the locations of arcades. (fn. 31)
The detailed master-plan and guidelines allowed a number of architects to be employed on the different sites, while guaranteeing that the overall concept would be adhered to. Also, developers received automatic planning permission provided they conformed to the guidelines. (fn. 32) There was less concern about stipulating building materials for facades, except that bases were to be primarily of natural stone and, most importantly, the use of mirror-reflective glass was banned. (fn. 33) In late 1988 and early 1989 two major master-plan meetings were held, involving all the architects concerned, when final decisions were made over such things as the colours of stone to be used, the types of glass, and the heights and setbacks of the different blocks. (fn. 34)
The total area of the Canary Wharf site is 71 acres (fn. 35) but, under Olympia & York, plans grew to encompass adjacent sites (see fig. 269b). To the north, seven acres at Port East was intended to have shops, restaurants, leisure and entertainment facilities, a hotel, offices and car parking, while, to the south, 15 acres at Heron Quays was to be devoted mainly to residential use. The developers proclaimed that 'interconnected by pedestrian bridges, road and rail links, Port East and Heron Quays will create an integrated commercial and residential district with Canary Wharf. (fn. 36) These plans were shelved when those for the later phases of Canary Wharf were suspended.
Lehrer McGovern Bovis, a company formed in 1986 by a merger of the British contractors Bovis and Lehrer McGovern, a similar New York firm, were appointed as general construction managers for Canary Wharf. (fn. 37) An area where Olympia & York had previously proved astute in saving money was in the use of a special vertical lift system which drastically cut the number of man-hours involved in the erection of tall buildings. This system, utilized at Canary Wharf, provided a work-station that could rise with the building and was equipped with a canteen, lavatories and a store for building materials. (fn. 38) Construction under Olympia & York began in November 1987. (fn. 39) The first phase of development, consisting of the western end of the site, and straddling the Docklands Light Railway, was begun in May 1988, when the first pile for the first building was sunk by the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. At the time Paul Reichmann admitted that his firm 'would not be making a commitment of this magnitude' without 'the inspiration and wholehearted support' of the Government. (fn. 40) Apart from No. 1 Cabot Square and Cabot Place, all the buildings in phase one are largely built over water in the dock, using steel piles (with base-grouted bored piles being used on land). (fn. 41)
At the height of construction activity in late 1989 and early 1990 there were nearly 4,500 people working on site. (fn. 42) Because the site was very narrow (only 380ft wide) and almost surrounded by water, it was too cramped to store any materials. A six-hectare storage yard was therefore set up at Tilbury Docks and 85 per cent of the building materials for the first phase were shipped by barge from there to the dock site. Some 200,000 cu.m of material excavated on site for foundations and facilities were also taken away by barge. When building work was at its most intense, 80 barges were employed in transporting materials to or from the site, and there were more than 500 barge movements a month. Further barges were anchored alongside the quay to provide site offices, medical facilities, and a canteen, while there was also a floating concrete plant. A series of temporary roads, designed by Ove Arup, was built over the water in the dock, with piles driven into the river-bed to support a steel deck. Despite all this, Olympia & York estimated before work began that 64,000 truck loads of material, 40,000 of them of concrete, would have to be brought by road, and construction traffic for Canary Wharf temporarily aggravated the difficulties of vehicles trying to get on and off the Isle of Dogs. (fn. 43)
The contract to build the infrastructure for phase one, representing 16 separate projects (including roads and landscaping), was awarded to Bovis Construction. It was worth more than £200 million. (fn. 44) The ambitious landscaping is a notable feature of the scheme, all the more remarkable in that it sits on top of five levels of car parking and services. The master-plan provides for more than 25 acres of squares, parks, boulevards and waterside promenades throughout the entire site. When the first phase was opened to the public in the summer of 1991, the buildings stood in a mature landscape. The Philadelphia-based landscape architect, Laurie Olin of Hanna-Olin, was responsible for working out the horticultural details, and Sir Roy Strong, former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, acted as design consultant. More than 400 mature trees (900 are intended for the whole site) of 20 species, over 2,300 shrubs in more than 90 varieties, and 83,500 spring and autumn flowering bulbs were planted. The placing of the trees and shrubs was, in part, intended to create a wind-break and give protection to a potentially bleak and exposed site. Decorative features include the gates and railings at Westferry Circus by Giuseppe Lund, symbolizing the seasons (Plate 144d), further railings on Wren Landing by Bruce McLean, and a computer-controlled fountain in Cabot Square by Bruce Chaix, capable of performing 42 different water 'dances' (Plate 153a). The ventilator shafts from the underground car parks are encased in sculpted cast-glass panels by Jeff Bell. Most of the street furniture, such as telephone kiosks, bus shelters, bicyclestands, lamp-posts and rubbish bins were specially designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but the benches are by Wales & Wales. (fn. 45)
The first phase was completed in 1991, and the first tenants moved into the main tower that August. (fn. 46) As far as retail provision was concerned, there was a deliberate attempt to attract 'speciality shops' of sufficient quality to appeal to the employees of big corporations. (fn. 47) The first retail outlet opened in October 1991, by December of that year 14 shops and restaurants, plus a public house, were trading, and by August 1992 the number had risen to 20, with a further two let. (fn. 48) Yet in March 1994 most of the shopping activity was concentrated in Cabot Place West. There was still only one shop, one public house, and one restaurant open at No. 30 South Colonnade, and no shops and one public house at No. 25 North Colonnade.
In 1990 there were signs, hardly noticed at the time, that even Olympia & York was beginning to be affected by an almost world-wide property slump and the rise in interest rates. During that year it found itself encumbered with a loan of $260 million from the bankrupt Campeau corporation, it was itself only able to pay $200 million of a $550-million loan to Japan's Sanwa Bank, and the company tried to sell 20 per cent of its American property. (fn. 49) In 1990 the development of Canary Wharf produced an operating loss of £160 million. (fn. 50) In May 1991 the three later phases of the development there were halted until further notice, and some staff were laid off. (fn. 51) By then Olympia & York, with its interests in New York, London and Toronto, was seen to be dangerously exposed in a falling property market, (fn. 52) and in August 1991 $100 million of Olympia & York debentures were downgraded because of the real-estate slump. (fn. 53) Unfortunately for the company, its other investments were in industries such as oil and paper, which were equally badly hit by the recession. (fn. 54)
Not the least of Olympia & York's problems was the failure to attract sufficient tenants for the first phase of Canary Wharf. Most of those that were persuaded to take accommodation in the development were offered various inducements. In part this may be seen as a sign of increasing desperation on the part of the company, but Olympia & York had already used a similar technique with great success at its World Finance Center development in Manhattan. The philosophy was that a few prestigious clients attracted others, encouraged further investment, quickly established the development as a good address, and allowed later lettings to be at much higher prices. (fn. 55)
The Daily Telegraph group was persuaded to move into Canary Wharf Tower after Olympia & York paid £40 million for its headquarters at Peterborough Court, South Quay Plaza, giving the group a £15 million profit at a time when property prices were at rock bottom. (fn. 56) In other cases Olympia & York is said to have agreed to pay for the fitting out of offices, rent-free periods of up to four years, and the taking over of leases on firms' existing premises. (fn. 57) According to the Evening Standard, 'that has left them with an estimated 250,000 square feet of space . . . most of which is empty . . . Servicing costs on these exchange deals are estimated to be adding another £10 million a month to Olympia & York's outgoings on Canary Wharf. (fn. 58) By March 1992, despite fierce marketing, Canary Wharf was only 60 per cent let. (fn. 59) Significantly, other than the Daily Telegraph, Olympia & York had failed to persuade any major British firm to move to the development. (fn. 60)
The company's problems quickly became acute after a number of its debt issues were downgraded in Toronto in February 1992. (fn. 61) This caused nervousness in the financial market, making it difficult for Olympia & York to refinance short-term debts, and its bankers began to question the company's financial soundness. (fn. 62) With debts to the banks estimated to be £11.5 billion, Olympia & York had urgent talks with a number of British and American financial institutions. At this stage the Bank of England intervened to persuade a group of clearing banks, led by Barclays and Lloyds, to provide Canary Wharf with an emergency loan of £52 million. (fn. 63) Discussions with the banks continued through April and into early May. (fn. 64) In the meantime, Olympia & York's general financial problems continued, while it was losing £48 million a month at Canary Wharf, (fn. 65) and, from late April, when the Enterprise-Zone status of the Isle of Dogs ended, the company had to pay half the Uniform Business Rate on its empty buildings.
By early May 1992 Olympia & York had run out of money to continue Canary Wharf, and work was only kept going on a week-to-week basis by the syndicate of 11 banks backing the scheme. (fn. 66) Later in the month the company and 32 of its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the USA. (fn. 67) At the time, it was trying to obtain money to finish off the second phase of Canary Wharf, but what particularly disturbed the scheme's bankers was that much of the money required was simply to pay interest on existing loans, (fn. 68) and in late May Canary Wharf was handed over to an accountancy firm, Ernst & Young, who were appointed as administrators by the banks. (fn. 69)
In general terms and with the advantage of hindsight, it is possible to suggest some of the reasons why Canary Wharf contributed to Olympia & York's downfall. In the first place, the Reichmanns, guided by their previous successes, failed to see that there were important differences between Canary Wharf and the sites which they had developed with some notable success in North America. In American cities and towns it has been relatively easy to establish suburban developments, whereas in Europe there has been much more resistance from firms and their workers to decentralization. This is largely due to the richness of commercial, social and cultural life which has evolved over the centuries in the centres of Europe's very much older main towns and cities. (fn. 70) Also, new suburban developments in North America have depended upon quick and easy transport communications. From the outset, under Travelstead, it had been realized that road and rail access to Canary Wharf had to be drastically improved. (fn. 71) Olympia & York, coming from a different culture, failed to appreciate how long it would take to get the necessary financial backing and Government approval for the new transport schemes.
Perhaps the biggest mistake, and one which had serious repercussions for the whole Enterprise Zone, was the way in which the Canary Wharf scheme was promoted as a direct challenge to the City of London. From the outset, Travelstead was proclaiming the planned development as an alternative financial centre far superior to the Square Mile. (fn. 72) Again, coming from another culture, the Reichmanns failed to realize just how fiercely, over the years, the City has defended its position as a national and international financial centre. It reacted swiftly in the face of this blatant challenge (see page 706).
Moreover, the type of accommodation provided was already virtually obsolete by the time the first part of the development had been completed (see page 706). To The Times it seemed that 'far too much had been spent on constructing the most opulent and sophisticated office complex in Europe on a site that could never justify such investment'. (fn. 73)
The administrators of Canary Wharf were given £10 million - enough to keep work on the project going for about two weeks. (fn. 74) They were required to seek a buyer for the development, and there was initial optimism. Indeed, Sheik Maktoum al Maktoum of Dubai, one of the world's richest men, had reportedly offered to buy the development before Olympia & York relinquished control, but was said to have withdrawn when the Government refused to extend the Enterprise Zone status of the Isle of Dogs by an extra five years. (fn. 75) After the site went into administration a number of possible buyers were mentioned in the press, including the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, (fn. 76) the Dudley-based property developers Roy and Don Richardson, (fn. 77) the P & O Group, (fn. 78) British Land (fn. 79) and, most persistently, Lord Hanson. (fn. 80) Paul Reichmann even assembled a consortium of investors - including CBS, Lewis Ranier, the Wall Street investor, and Primerica, the American insurance group - to bid for the development. (fn. 81) In late August 1992 ten parties were said to be considering making offers for Canary Wharf. (fn. 82)
In fact, the chances of finding a buyer for such a large development, encumbered with debt, at a time when the property market was showing no signs of recovery, were always remote - especially if Olympia & York, with all their resources, experience and flair had failed. What further bedevilled the matter was the difficulty of solving the triangular conundrum which had developed over Canary Wharf. Following preliminary pronouncements, it was confirmed in June 1992 that 2,000 staff from the Department of the Environment's offices in Marsham Street. Westminster, were to be relocated in Docklands (several possible venues were suggested but Canary Wharf was regarded as the most likely). (fn. 86) There was still a problem, however, which was that the Government would not guarantee the move of one of its major departments to Canary Wharf without the Jubilee Line extension being built, yet it was unwilling to sanction the construction of the line without the contribution from the private sector promised by Olympia & York (see page 691), but any potential purchaser of Canary Wharf was likely to want a firm commitment that the Government would move staff there and would give the go-ahead for the Jubilee Line. In the negotiations which ensued a battle of nerves developed between the administrators and the Government: the administrators hoped the Government would feel politically obliged to sanction the Jubilee Line extension and the staff move, while the Government remained adamant that it would commit itself to neither until the private sector guaranteed the agreed contribution to the extension.
In October 1992 the Canary Wharf administrators announced that they had found a buyer prepared to pay the £98 million for the block intended to house the civil servants, provided the Government would guarantee the move. This sum would then have provided the first contribution by Canary Wharf's bankers to the Jubilee Line extension. (fn. 84) However, this failed to meet the Government's approval, and later in the month it was announced that the Department of the Environment's staff would, in fact, remain at Marsham Street for the time being. (fn. 85) Probably the Government was relieved to drop the matter, since there had been considerable opposition to relocation, not least from the Civil Service unions, who organized a one-day strike, (fn. 86) and from the City of Westminster, which protested about the damage such a move would do to the prosperity of its own area. (fn. 87) Finally, in November, the Canary Wharf bankers were persuaded to put up money for the Jubilee Line extension unconditionally and on this basis, the Government agreed that construction would proceed (see page 691). (fn. 88)
In the latter part of 1992 Canary Wharf continued to absorb monthly administrative fees of £400,000, (fn. 89) although the rents from existing tenants were sufficient to allow the administrators to run all of the services and maintain security. (fn. 90) In April 1993 the European Investment Bank agreed to give a loan of £98 million for the Jubilee Line extension, in return for a stake in Canary Wharf. This led, in October, to the approval of a rescue scheme worth £1.1 billion, which allowed Canary Wharf to be taken out of administration. The development's assets were transferred to a successor company, Sylvester Investments, (fn. 2) formed by the, now 12, banks, which in turn set up a new management company responsible for the day-to-day running of the project, headed by Sir Peter Levene, then Chairman of the Docklands Light Railway. It is hoped to complete the rest of Canary Wharf, albeit at a slower pace than previously planned. (fn. 91) Yet, if Canary Wharf has not proved an immediate financial success, its physical embodiment is an impressive tribute to North American optimism and methods of construction.
The following buildings and structures (fig. 269b) have been erected so far (their original designations are given in brackets where appropriate):
Westferry Circus, at the western end of the site, is a circular, two-tier structure, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. At ground level is a covered trafficroundabout, with approach and departure roads rising up to the main site, and above is a large landscaped open space (see Plate 152a, 152b). Construction was carried out in 1987–91 by Canary Wharf Contractors (a consortium of Taylor Woodrow, Tarmac, Costain, Mowlem and Sir Robert McAlpine), at a cost of £40 million. (fn. 92)
Trafalgar Way leads southwards off the Preston's Road roundabout, forms the eastern access to Canary Wharf, and was built by the LDDC. The northern half was completed in 1988 and the southern section (at a cost of £7.69 million) in 1990. (fn. 93)
No. 1 Cabot Square (FC1) was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for Credit Suisse First Boston as their headquarters, and the management contractors were Ellis Don and Sir Robert McAlpine. The block is steppedback in several stages, but otherwise the façades are unremitting combinations of rectangular windows and precast panels of white Jura Limestone from Germany, only relieved by bands of grey America jet mist granite from Georgia. The building, which is the tallest on the site after Canary Wharf Tower, rises to 18 storeys (plus 2 storeys of plant at the top), and has a two-storey arcade at the base, to Cabot Square. In the event, Credit Suisse First Boston took only about 170,000 sq.ft, approximately one-third of the total of 557,000 sq.ft of accommodation, and by the autumn of 1991 ownership had passed to Glenstreet Property Development. (fn. 94)
No. 10 Cabot Square (FC2) was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and erected by Bovis Construction, at a reported cost of about £105 million. This is a 10- and 12-storey block in a monumental Transatlantic neoClassical style, giving 60,700 sq.m of office space (Plate 153a). It has a stainless-steel pitched roof, and is clad with yellow bricks set in precast-concrete panels, and Portland stone precast-concrete details, manufactured in Belgium. A ground-floor arcade runs along The North Colonnade and round towards Wren Landing, with teakand-glass-fronted shops and ornate pendant lamps. Although Canary Wharf's second public house, the Cat and Canary, at the north-west corner of this block, was opened by Fullers the brewers in 1992, at a cost of £700,000, none of the shop units had opened by March 1994. Inside the building is an impressive three-tier, nine-storey atrium, faced and floored in marble, with bronze grilles to the balcony. (fn. 95)
No. 25 The North Colonnade (FC3) had been envisaged by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in their masterplan, as a mirror image of No. 10 Cabot Square, with the DLR passing between the matching pair of buildings, as it does on the south side of the wharf. Olympia & York, however, wished to round off the first phase of construction with a Modern-style building, to give the impression that the development had not all been built at the same time. Also, by employing a British practice, it hoped to diffuse growing criticism that all the design work at Canary Wharf was going to North American architects. The building, therefore, was designed by Troughton-McAslan Ltd, a British practice, but with Adamson Associates as executive architects. The latter, based in New York, were experts in office-block design and were responsible for the technical planning and details required. The management contractor was Mowlem and the cost of constructing the shell and core was about £45 million. The 15-storey building, providing 34,000 sq.m of accommodation, has a central concrete slipformed core, which provides lateral stability and houses lifts and services. Steelwork springs from the core to support the floors. The cladding consists of a curtainwall of glass and Canadian grey-granite panels, and the block has a flat roof. The building is the most overtly Modern in style, albeit in the tradition of Owen Williams's 'Daily Express' buildings of the 1930s. Two wings are linked by entrance spaces, lift lobbies and a reception area, and there is a north-south axis through to a 'watercourt promenade'. The block was still empty in March 1994. (fn. 96)
No. 20 Cabot Square (FC4) was designed by the American firm of Kohn, Pedersen, Fox, in association with EPR Partnership; the management contractor was Mowlem. It is a 12- plus 2-storey building, with 52,500 sq.m of lettable space, including two overheight floors designed to be dealing rooms. The steel frame is clad in white-veined Vermont marble and faces No. 30 The South Colonnade (see below) across the Docklands Light Railway. It has a curved face to the dockside and a circular tower at the north-west corner overlooking Cabot Square. The block is smooth and monumental, in a style which suggests streamlined Classicism, without actually having any overt Classical features. A ground-floor arcade on the north side contains shop units, but in March 1994 only one was open for business. In addition, Canary Wharf's first public house (opened in September 1991), the Henry Addington, (fn. 3) is situated at the south-west corner of the building and was fitted out for Bass Taverns. (fn. 97)
No. 30 The South Colonnade (FC6) was designed by Kohn, Pedersen, Fox, in association with EPR Partnership, and the managing contractor was Trollope & Colls (Trafalgar House Construction Management). It is a 12- plus 2-storey building facing No. 20 Cabot Square (see above), of which it is a similar but smaller version, with a lettable area of 28,000 sq.m. (fn. 98)
No. 25 Cabot Square (FC5) was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Morgan Stanley International as their headquarters building. However, in 1990 Morgan Stanley and Olympia & York came to an agreement, whereby the latter bought the property and then leased it back to Morgan Stanley. The management contractor was Wimpey Tishman, and construction cost about £95 million. The 42,000-sq.m building rises to 9 and 14 plus 2 storeys (Plate 153c). It is faced in a mixture of natural and artificial stone and marble in brown and white, with hardwood grilles. It has the look of the turn-of-thecentury stripped-Classical commercial buildings by Louis H. Sullivan in Chicago. Again there is a ground-floor arcade with shops. (fn. 99)
No. 1 Canada Square (DS7), popularly known as Canary Wharf Tower, was designed by Cesar Pelli, an Argentinian-born architect, based in New Haven, Connecticut, who had already designed the buildings at the World Finance Center in Manhattan for Olympia & York. Two other architectural practices - Adamson Associates, and Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners were also involved in the design and execution of the Canary Wharf building. Construction began in the spring of 1988. Initially the management contractors were Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons in association with Ellis Don of Toronto, but in April 1990, with work well behind schedule, Lehrer McGovern took over direct management of the tower's construction, although the original contractors continued to work on the building. Even so, the building was completed in August 1991, only about a month later than planned, construction having taken under three-and-a-half years, a remarkably short period for such a tall building. The cost of erection was estimated at just over £200 million.
The 50-storey tower, at 824ft the tallest building in Britain and the second tallest in Europe, is clad in stainless steel, specially produced in Panteg, Wales (Plates 152b, 153b, 153c). That steel was used was due to the architect's insistence, since Olympia & York had been keen to face the tower in stone, like the other buildings on the site. Commenting on his design, Pelli said: 'It is the simplest, most pure, most basic form I have designed. It was important to me that it should be a skyscraper, not simply a high-rise building . . . I wanted it to look un-American, to step outside the three main styles of classical, Gothic and art deco.' However, when the building was completed he did reveal that he had had to take off five floors in order to comply with air-traffic-safety regulations. Olympia & York were unwilling to lose any floorspace because of this and extra accommodation had to be added to the remaining floors. As a result, Pelli felt that the proportions of the block had suffered. The building provides 1.3 million sq.ft of office space, served by 32 passenger lifts. The three-storey entrance lobby is clad in a combination of black, grey, red and green marbles from Turkey, Italy and Guatemala.
Canary Wharf Tower, although it has its critics, has generally been applauded. Seen from a distance it dominates the skyline and looks every inch of its height, and viewed from Blackfriars Bridge its vastness does make the Isle of Dogs seem very close to the City, as it was intended to do. Yet as one gets closer to the building its bulk becomes far less overwhelming.
With much of the building remaining unoccupied, in September 1992 the public were allowed to ascend to the 50th floor and enjoy the spectacular views. This was discontinued after an unsuccessful terrorist attempt to blow up the tower in November 1992. (fn. 100)
Cabot Place, East and West (RT1), at the foot of No. 1 Canada Square and extending through to the east end of Cabot Square, provides 9,500 sq.m of retail space, including four levels of shopping, with a glass-domed rotunda with a diameter of 26 metres at the east end and Cabot Hall, a public hall with an area of 22,000 sq.m, at the west end. In the middle, the Canary Wharf station on the DLR, where four lines serve six platforms, has an impressive large curved steel-and-glass overall roof, stone-lined walls, and neatly shaped marble benches. This block was designed by the same team of architects as No. 1 Canada Square, plus Building Design Partnership for the retail elements and A.S.F.A. Limited for the station. The management contractor for the main building was Bovis Construction Ltd, but the construction of the station was separately managed by Mowlem. The building is clad in Indian red sandstone, Briar Hill sandstone from Ohio, and greenstone from the Lake District. (fn. 101)
Nos 1 and 7 Westferry Circus and No. 5 West India Avenue (WF3-5 or B1-3) is a linked block, with a curved face to Westferry Circus, and forms the first part of the second phase of the Canary Wharf development. Olympia & York managed the building contract, and construction work began in 1991. The two Westferry units were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (principal architects: Robert Turner and David Childs, respectively) and contain 20,300 sq.m and 14,700 sq.m. They were completed in 1993, and No. 7 is now the UK headquarters of Texaco. The rather box-like Post-Modern block, which is stepped-back and rises to 10 storeys, has a heavy cornice above the fourth floor and a rounded tower at the north-west corner. The building is clad in cream and pinky-brown marbles.
No. 5 West India Avenue was designed by Fred Koetter of Koetter Kim & Associates of Boston, Mass., in conjunction with Perkins & Will. It was intended to have a 'wrap-around sheath' of sandstone, and to contain 180,000 sq.ft of accommodation. Work on this block stopped after Olympia & York's withdrawal, leaving the completed steel framework as a skeleton, until work resumed in 1994. (fn. 102)
Nos 17 and 20 Columbus Courtyard, designed by Aldo Rossi, in association with Perkins & Will, was due to form the final part of the second phase, but in March 1994 no start had been made on the superstructure, although the basement car-parking was in place and decked over. (fn. 103)
See page 324.
This development occupies a 4.9-acre site on the east side of the Millwall Dock towards its southern end, and adjacent to East Ferry Road. Originally it was known as the Brunel Centre, but the name was changed in 1988. The developers were British Land, the Summit Group (the property and financial services subsidiary of Atlantic Computers), and MBO (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch bank, NMB). The architects were Building Design Partnership & Holford Associates, and the main contractor was John Laing Construction.
Work began in 1987 and the first block, Woodchester House (originally known as Lighterman's House) was completed late in 1988. This is a six-storey block providing 36,459 sq.ft of office accommodation. Merchant House, an eight-storey office block, containing 54,962 sq.ft, had been completed by the middle of 1990. The two blocks are situated around Waterman's Square and have precast-concrete frames, clad in curtain-walling of silver-grey and shiny-black panels, with reflective, tinted glass. Woodchester House is stepped down towards the quayside, while Merchant House has a more formal, symmetrical main elevation to the dock.
To the east, in Selsdon Way, The Terrace (completed in 1989) is a two- to seven-storey office block, offset in two parts, in yellow stock-type brick, with some rendering (part incised) and glazed curtain-walling. There are balconies with metal railings, and the roof is flat, although there is a series of gables along the front elevation. There are seven office units, varying in size from 13,530 sq.ft to 4,420 sq.ft. This block also incorporates a public multistorey car park, which to the rear (east) elevation is more high-tech in appearance, with slatted panels and an external, metal-braced framework.
Plans to build a further office block (City Harbour House, to complete Waterman's Square) and a dockside 20-storey hotel, had not been implemented by March 1994. (fn. 104)
Docklands Sailing Centre, Westferry Road
This is situated at the west end of the Millwall Outer Dock. It was built in 1988–9. In 1987 the LDDC sponsored a limited architectural competition for the design of a new centre to serve the needs of water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, angling and canoeing. A fast-track design-and-build contract had already been agreed with John Laing Construction and the winning design had to be implementable in this way. The competition was won by Kit Allsopp Architects. The LDDC provided funding of £1.3 million, and the Sports Council a further £200,000. The centre is run by a trust on which the LDDC, Tower Hamlets Borough Council and local groups are represented.
The presence of old dock walls below ground made it virtually impossible to build the centre across the middle of the site and it was therefore placed right against Westferry Road, where there is a high brick boundary wall. The building is basically a two-storey 'pavilion', with changing rooms, manager's office, teaching areas, equipment store, workshop and plant at ground-floor level, and lounge, bar, members' room, kitchen, crèche and offices on the first floor. To the dockside, a balcony of wood and steel, with an external staircase, runs along the entire length of the upper floor. The ground floor is clad in yellow stock brick, while the first floor is faced in timber-framed glass and infill panels. The large pitched roof is timber-trussed and partially translucent, with an overhang, to cover the entrance area, boat-store and workshops. Such a roof is a favourite device of the architects and in this case derives from their structure designed for the Stoke Garden Festival in 1986. Overall, colour was deliberately kept to a minimum, the natural tones and textures of the materials being retained. (fn. 105)
See The Business Centre, Dollar Bay, page 707.
East India Dock Site
This 5.9-acre site on the south-west side of the dock represented the second phase of the redevelopment of the East India Import Dock (the first being the Financial Times and Telehouse Europe buildings). It was developed by Nordic Construction Company, a Swedish real-estate and construction group, with funding from Trygg Hansa SPP, a large Swedish insurance and pension company, and to designs by Sten Samuelson of Malmö, and the British-based Beaton Thomas Partnership. Work began in September 1989 and was completed in 1992. Birse Construction was the main contractor for the foundations, basements and structural frame, at a cost of £21.3 million, while the cladding contract, worth over £20 million, was carried out by Hinchliffe Façades.
The four linked blocks of five to ten storeys (plus basement car parks) are in a monumental Post-Modern style, with colonnades, arches and gridded windows, including multi-storey bays. They are faced in pink Sardinian granite, Rosa Limbara Chiandonato, and have hipped and pitched roofs, covered with pantile-type roofing sheets. Three of the blocks have a full-height landscaped atrium. The development comprises 600,000 sq.ft of office accommodation, together with provision for shops, restaurant, wine bar and recreational facilities.
Lighterman's House (No. 3 Clove Crescent), at the south-west corner of the development, is curved to take account of the quadrant-shaped site, which is partly bounded by the historic East India Dock wall. Part of the inner curve of this block closes the main vista, which consists of one arm of an L-shaped canal, lined by trees, crossed by humped, metal footbridges, and containing fountains (Plate 139b). A further canal runs along the northern side of the development. At the north-western corner is Mulberry Place (No. 5 Clove Crescent), while the other two blocks, Nos 1 and 2 Clove Crescent, are to the east. Set around the site are a number of open-air sculptures all executed in 1992, including 'Renaissance' (bronze) by Maurice Blik, 'Meridian Metaphor' (granite) by David Jacobson, 'Domino Players' (bronze) by Kim Bennett, and 'Shadow Play' (steel and bronze) by Dave King.
During the summer of 1992 the developers completed the restoration of the small remnant of Tunnel Gardens, which they had purchased from the PLA. (fn. 106)
Enterprise Business Park
The business park, on the south side of Marsh Wall and between its junctions with Millharbour and Mastmaker Road, was one of the first commercial developments in the newly designated Enterprise Zone. The 5.5-acre site was developed and constructed by Wimpey, using a scheme designed by Newman Levinson & Partners, with flexible units of between 5,200 sq.ft and 20,000 sq.ft, for industrial and commercial use (with office provision).
The first phase, in 1983–5, cost a reported £1.9 million, and consists of three two-storey 'pavilions', each supported on a single central column, allowing flexible internal subdivision. The faceted exterior has polyestercoated, buff-coloured cladding panels, fixed to exposed, brightly coloured metal frames. On the upper storey are high-tech oriel windows, and individual units are identified with large cut-out lettering (Plate 159a). (fn. 107)
The Guardian newspaper acquired the ownership of the second phase for a new printing works, and Wimpey managed construction of the building (1985–7), at a reported cost of £14 million. It is a rectangular box of 6,000 sq.m, and the architects sought to minimize the bulk of the building by using tinted glass and reflective panels of silver-blue colour, blurring the distinction between solid and sky. The long elevations are broken into bays by red porticos, while bold horizontal louvres help to make the press hall seem less tall. An Art-Decostyle tower at one corner is topped by a mast bearing the newspaper's name (Plate 139a). (fn. 108)
See Harbour Exchange, below.
Financial Times Printing Works, No. 240 East India Dock Road
This is one of the most generally acclaimed modern buildings in Docklands and has received a number of awards and commendations (Plate 156a). (fn. 109) The building, which had to be ready within a year to house two new printing presses already on order, was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, with Robinson Design Partnership, who, as specialists in the design of printing works, were responsible for most of the interior layout and fitting. The management contractor was Bovis, and the cost of construction was £18 million. (fn. 110) Clearance of the five-acre site began early in 1987, piling started in April, and the building was operational in September 1988. (fn. 111)
The steel-framed, flat-roofed building was designed not only to be erected quickly but also to allow flexibility in its future use. The plan is very simple, with a long press hall to the north, offices on three floors to the south, a spinal plant room running east-west between these two, a paper store at one end of the building, and a despatch bay at the other. The most notable features are the specially designed screens which run along most of the north and south elevations. That to East India Dock Road is 96m by 16m, formed with two-squaremetre panes of clear glass. The panes are bolted to stainless-steel plates, hung from tie rods which run up and over the tops of columns placed every six metres. Projecting steel arms cantilevered out horizontally from the columns hold the panes of glass in place. All this allows the inside of the screen to be completely flush, without any internal projections, and permits passing motorists to see the printing presses in action. A similar screen is provided on the south elevation, but, with office accommodation behind, the glass panes are tinted; at the centre of this elevation are two aluminium-clad, halfrounded, projecting towers, set closely together and housing lifts and stairs; the main entrance to the building is squeezed insignificantly between the towers. The two ends of the building, with rounded corners, are also clad in grey aluminium.
See The Mansion, page 720.
This development, providing 350,000 sq.ft of residential, commercial and retail space, stretches across the Millwall Dock from Crossharbour to Millharbour. It was developed by Glengall Bridge Ltd, a company specially formed for the purpose by a combination of London and Edinburgh Trust, Balfour Beatty Developments and Warleggan Estates, and was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners. The eastern and western halves of the scheme were developed as separate phases.
The £27-million contract for the first half was awarded to Balfour Beatty in 1987 and was completed in 1989. Aegon House (originally to be called St Andrew's House and known for a time as Regency House) is an eightstorey office block, flanked by two more four-storey office blocks - Balmoral and Melrose Houses. A three-storey range (with four-storey pavilions) of 'versatile business units' runs from the corner of Balmoral House and has an arcaded ground floor with squat columns, in a style copied from some of the more monumental early dock warehouses. Its Z-plan allows a parade of shops along Pepper Street, a courtyard to the rear (Lanark Square), and a quayside area (Turnberry Quay). The housing is massed beside the dock in a block varying between four and six storeys, with a large archway providing access through the building to the two-leaf lifting-bridge specially built to connect the two halves of the scheme across the dock. The accommodation consists of 16 one- and two-bedroom flats, and two three-bedroom houses. The eastern half of Glengall Bridge is completed by a twostorey polygonal pavilion, with a steeply pitched hipped roof, which since completion has been a wine bar.
Construction of the second phase, Glengall Bridge West, was carried out by Mowlem Management in 1989– 91 at a cost of £28 million (Plate 158a). It consists of 11 blocks in similar materials to the first part, and ranging from three to eight storeys, providing a total of 210,000 sq.ft of office and retail space, plus a proposed waterside restaurant. (fn. 112)
Great Eastern Enterprise
This stands on a 4.5-acre site on the east side of Millharbour and was developed in three phases in 1984–9 by Standard Commercial Property Securities, the property subsidiary of the brewers Bass. (fn. 113) The early sketches were prepared by Howell Killick Partridge & Amis who established the broad design philosophy, but the developer used a design-and-build contract, in conjunction with D. J. Curtis & Associates, a Leeds architectural firm. (fn. 114)
The first phase, costing about £2.4 million, (fn. 115) consists of four two-storey blocks, intended as a mixture of workshops and offices, but all, in fact, initially let as offices. (fn. 116) The buildings are clad in powder-coated green aluminium curtain-walling and tinted glazing, with green glazing-bars. There are red-brick plinths and white steel stairs. (fn. 117)
In 1986 the scheme was extended to an adjacent site, (fn. 118) where a five-storey block with 29,243 sq.ft was taken as offices by the Builder publishing group, which moved into the block in March 1989. (fn. 119) The final office block, Great Eastern House, has six storeys and contains 42,450 sq.ft. It was acquired by the Midland Bank. These last two blocks were constructed by J. & J. Fee of Halifax for £10 million. (fn. 120)
At the southern end of Millharbour and on the edge of the Millwall Outer Dock, this was another development, here exclusively of offices, by Robert Ogden/Indescon Developments Ltd, following the success of their Indescon Court project (see below). Like Indescon Court, the scheme was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners, and Indescon was again the main contractor. A low-rise phase (1985–8) of five two- and three-storey high-tech blocks, very similar to Indescon Court, was followed by a highrise phase (1988–90), known as City Reach and comprising two nine-storey blocks (City Reach One and West Tower), with a shared four-storey atrium, and faced in polished granite and black reflective glazed curtainwalling (Plate 141c). In addition, Pointe North (1988– 90) is a four-storey building, clad with white panels and black reflective glazed curtain-walling, entirely constructed over water, with its own moorings. (fn. 121)
Occupying Exchange Square, at the corner of Marsh Wall and Limeharbour, this is a large and complex development, comprising a series of blocks built in phases. It involved four architectural firms and several developers, although the overall concept was provided by Trevor Davison of the Property Design Group, and Charter Group Developments acted as the 'lead developer'. The original 3.5-hectare site was previously occupied by the former No. 1 Olsen Shed on the Millwall Dock, which had only been refurbished and extended in 1984 by Maskell Warehousing, at a cost of £7 million. Nevertheless, in 1986 the site, partly owned by Maskells and partly by the LDDC, was acquired by a relocation-design company based in Milton Keynes and headed by Simon Miller, which was then known as the Interdec Design Group, but which was subsequently renamed the Charter Group. Additional adjoining land was purchased to extend the site eventually to ten acres and arrangements were made with the LDDC to buy its West India Dock House and a section of the Millwall Dock. Miller and architects Sheppard Robson drew up a master-plan for the site comprising a series of self-contained office blocks for development by intending occupiers and involving the demolition of the existing warehouse. The Charter Group invited AMEC (formed by the merger of Fairclough Construction and Press Engineering) to join in the development of part of the site and to provide designand-build schemes for the other phases. Charter Group developed the infrastructure and communal facilities. Part of the funding for the whole project came from a syndicate led by the Japanese Sanwa Bank, which provided a £60-million facility. (fn. 122) In the event, the Charter Group was involved in the development of every phase of Harbour Exchange.
The sequence of developments on the site was as follows:
No. 3 Exchange Square (1987–8) is an 11-storey block providing 92,000 sq.ft of offices. The developers were Charter Group and AMEC, the architects Sheppard Robson and the main contractor Fairclough. The cost was approximately £1 million.
Exchange Tower (Nos 1 and 2 Exchange Square) (1987–8) is a pair of 18-storey blocks (effectively one building) (see Plate 140b). The developer was Charter Group, the architects were Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners and the main contractor was Fairclough. It was said to have, at 32,000 sq.m, the largest continuous curtainwalling in Europe. (fn. 123) (Nos 2 and 3 Exchange Square were purchased by the Eighth Property Enterprise Trust.) (fn. 124)
Nos 6 and 7 Exchange Square (1987–9) are eight- and ten-storey blocks, providing 129,000 sq.ft of accommodation. The developers were Charter Group and A. F. Budge, a Nottinghamshire-based construction and mining company, (fn. 125) the architects were Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners and the main contractor was Alfred McAlpine. The cost was £14.7 million. (fn. 126)
Harbour Island (Nos 10–39, consec, Exchange Square) (1987–8) is constructed on piled foundations over the water in the Millwall Dock. A three-storey block of shops, with offices above, and a public house in the centre, it gives a total of 68,000 sq.ft of accommodation. The developers were Charter Group and Berkeley House Properties, the architects were Haverstock Associates and the main contractors were Fairclough Howard Marine and Multi Construction (Southern) Ltd. The cost was £9.7 million. (fn. 127) This phase was purchased in 1987 by the Laser 1988 Trust (see page 705). (fn. 128) One unusual feature of the Harbour Island building is that the curtain-walling has timber rather than aluminium frames. These were manufactured by Devizes Joinery, using Iroko, a very durable African hardwood. (fn. 129) The public house in the centre of Harbour Island, the Spinnaker (No. 19 Exchange Square), was fitted out at a cost of £500,000 by Greene King, the brewers, and was opened in May 1989. (fn. 130)
Nos 4 and 5 Exchange Square (1987–8) are two blocks, of five to eight storeys, containing 55,000 sq.ft and 38,000 sq.ft of office accommodation. The developers were Charter Group and Higgs & Hills Developments, in association with London & Metropolitan, the architects were Sheppard Robson and the main contractor was Fairclough Building. (fn. 131)
Nos 8 and 9 Exchange Square (1988–90) provide 7,750 sq.m and 5,810 sq.m of office accommodation in eightand ten-storey blocks. The developer was Charter Group, the architects were Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners and the main contractor was Alfred McAlpine. The cost was £16 million. Late in 1988 Nos 8 and 9 were purchased by Sheraton Securities for £36 million. (fn. 132) However, in 1991 this property went into receivership. (fn. 133)
Apart from Harbour Island, the blocks are of reinforced-concrete construction, using fast-track methods, with silver and blue reflective-glass curtain-walling, with bases clad in mottled green marble. As a centrepiece to Exchange Square, a bronze sculpture depicting largerthan-life rowing-men and women in boats, entitled 'Wind of Change', was specially commissioned from André Wallace by the developers, Charter Group Developments, at a cost of £40,000. Situated outside the west elevation of Exchange Tower, on a raised landscaped area, it was unveiled in September 1990. (fn. 134) Two electric cranes by Stothert & Pitt, dating from the 1960s, and used at the Millwall Docks, are now preserved as features on the west side of Exchange Square, alongside Harbour Island. (fn. 135)
Harbour Quay, Wood Wharf Business Park
A development on a 1½-acre site towards the north-east corner of the central dock of the West India Docks, this consists of two steel-framed high-tech pavilions, intended for office and warehouse use. The developers were Standard Commercial Property Securities (the property development group of the brewers Bass), in association with Port of London Properties, and construction was carried out in 1986–7. The two blocks provide a total of 45,000 sq.ft of accommodation. (fn. 136)
The existing development at Heron Quays, to the south of Canary Wharf and running eastwards off Marsh Wall, was part of a much larger scheme intended to cover the whole of the eight-acre site. This scheme, first commissioned in 1981, was designed by Nicholas Lacey, Jobst & Hyett, for the developers, Tarmac Brookglade Properties Ltd. It was designed in five sections, each centred around an open space, and was intended to contain a mixture of uses: office, retail, residential, light industrial and business - with the residential section to be built last, on the easternmost end of the quay. (fn. 137) By 1994 only two phases, with Tarmac acting as their own contractor, have been constructed (in 1984–9), providing 170,000 sq.ft of office space, (fn. 138) and they have been generally well received. (fn. 139)
The built phases consist of a series of high-tech 'cabins' or 'Swiss chalets', with light steel structures, covered with red, purple and blue-grey vitreous enamel panels, while the monopitch roofs are clad in aluminium (Plate 153b, 153b). The corners of the blocks are enlivened by white-painted steel balconies. Because of the historically important nineteenth-century underwater dock wall, the weight of the new buildings had to be kept six metres away from the edge of the quay. Steel piers were, therefore, driven into the water and steel cross-beams, left exposed, were laid on top of them to carry the weight of the buildings and allow them to project over the water, giving extra space at no additional land cost. (fn. 140)
A number of proposals have subsequently been put forward for the development of the rest of the site and for redeveloping the existing buildings. In particular, in 1988 David Gosling, Stephen Proctor and John Ferguson were appointed by the LDDC to prepare a master-plan for the redevelopment of Heron Quays, to take account of its proximity to Canary Wharf. However, nothing further has been built on the site, nor have proposals to rebuild the existing low-rise phase been implemented. (fn. 141)
This is situated off Marsh Wall, at the north-west corner of the West India Import Dock. It was begun as a speculative venture by the Hertsmere Group, but was sold in 1986 to Hilstone Developments, who in 1987 sold it on to Mountleigh for £12 million. It was designed by Newman Levinson & Partners, with construction by Mowlem (1987–8). The four-storey red-brick building has an arcaded ground floor to the quayside, intended to echo the nearby warehouses on North Quay, and inside there is a three-storey marble-clad atrium. (fn. 142)
This was built during 1982–3 on a 4.4-acre site at the junction of Millharbour and Lightermans Road. It was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners for the Indescon Group, a Darlington-based firm, which sold the whole development project for £3.5 million to Robert Ogden Estates, an Otley property developer. A subsidiary of Indescon, IBS Construction, acted as the main contractor. A range of medium-sized, steel-framed, modular buildings, set around a landscaped courtyard, provides 12 factories and warehouses (with offices). They are covered in white-metal cladding, broken by blue, reflective, glazed curtain-walling, while the double-rise hipped roofing incorporates mansard glazing. In all, 70,465 sq.ft of factory and warehouse space and 16,885 sq.ft of offices is provided. (fn. 143)
Innovation Centre, No. 225 Marsh Wall
The Innovation Centre was developed and built by William Sindall, with funding from the Carroll Group, and designed by Fielden & Mawson. Construction was carried out between 1989 and 1992, at a cost of £15 million. The four-storey centre - intended as a secondgeneration version of the Cambridge Science Park - has an atrium, paved with polished Purbeck stone, around which high-tech research-and-development suites are arranged, as well as conference and meeting facilities. The suites have heavy floor-loading capacities, are connected for three-phase electricity, and have fibre-optic links to nearby satellite stations. The reinforced-concreteframed block has a suitably high-tech exterior, with silver panels and black-glass curtain-walling, and a vestigial pediment to the Marsh Wall elevation. (fn. 144)
Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Centre, Jack Dash House, Marsh Wall
The building provides 45,000 sq.ft of accommodation on a 0.6-acre site, and was erected by the LDDC for the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood of the Borough of Tower Hamlets, in return for land at Poplar Dock owned by Tower Hamlets and required for new roadworks. The Neighbourhood Council commissioned Florian Beigel to design the centre, but the LDDC insisted on holding a limited architectural competition, which was won by Chassay Architects of Paddington (Tchaik Chassay and Malcolm Last) with an accomplished design in the currently fashionable 1930s-Modern style (Plate 141b). Construction was carried out in 1989–91 by J. A. Elliott Ltd - who won a further competition for the design-and-build contract - at a cost of £4 million, and the building opened in February 1992. The two linked blocks are set at right-angles on two sides of a grassed courtyard and provide respectively for the administrative and community functions of the Neighbourhood. These buildings are white-rendered, with light-buff brick and glazed curtain-walling, the taller five-storey office block to Marsh Wall having a curved roof. At the south-east corner a two-storey rotunda or tower, clad in light-buff brick, has an exhibition area below and a council chamber, approached by an external curved staircase, above. The building is named after the dockers' leader who was active in the London docks in the 1950s and 1960s. (fn. 145)
Jack Dash House
See Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Centre.
The Ladkarn Building
This was situated on a 0.45-hectare site on the east side of the West India Dock, between the northern and central docks, that was leased from the PLA. It was commissioned by Ladkarn Haulage, a firm involved in earth-moving, the hire of plant, and civil-engineering subcontracting. Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners (project architect David Harriss) produced an outline design for a flexibly planned building, providing offices and a large repair workshop. Erection was carried out by Ladkarn themselves, in about seven months during 1985.
The building, with rounded corners, had a shiny silver cladding with a horizontal blue stripe, and was supported by a bright-red external steel frame (Plate 156b). It had a total area of 1,552 sq.m. It became evident as soon as the building was completed that it would have to make way for the Canary Wharf development, and the architects, with such a possibility in mind, had designed the Ladkarn Building to be moveable. It was dismantled and re-erected in Alpine Way, Beckton, during 1987–8. (fn. 146)
Built on a three-acre site off the west side of Millharbour, this was developed and built in 1983–4 by Multi Construction Developments, part of the A. Roberts Group. The 44 single-storey units are arranged in straight rows, around a courtyard, with an additional two-storey office block at the entrance from Millharbour (Plate 140c). The accommodation totals 51,000 sq.ft, with individual units ranging from 500 sq.ft to 3,200 sq.ft. (fn. 147)
This stands on the east side of Limeharbour. It is a fivestorey (plus basement) block, providing 26,636 sq.ft of office accommodation. It was developed by Tweed Finance Ltd in conjunction with Charter Group Developments, and was completed in April 1989. The flat-roofed building is clad in black-tinted, glazed curtain-walling and red brick. (fn. 148)
See page 297.
Littlejohn Frazer, No. 1 Park Place (formerly No. 2 Canary Wharf)
This is a freehold office block, perched at the southwestern corner of Canary Wharf, which was developed by a City accountants' firm as their own headquarters. It was designed by Stanley Trevor and constructed in 1985–7 by Trollope & Colls. The cost of development was believed to have been in excess of £3.2 million. It consists of two linked polygonal blocks, of four and six storeys (including attics), faced in yellowish brown brick, with mansard roofs. (fn. 149)
See page 360.
See The Telehouse Europe, page 723.
The Mansion. No. 197 Marsh Wall (formerly Fleet House)
This is a five-storey office block providing 43,000 sq.ft of accommodation, with a basement car park. It was developed by the National Leasing & Finance Company, and was designed by Seifert Ltd, who also managed the fast-track building contract. Work began about the middle of 1988 and was completed by the summer of 1989. The block is clad in polished flame-green and two shades of grey granite; each elevation has a central pedimented gable, and the front elevation has a pedimented entrance. (fn. 150)
Nos 30 and 40 Marsh Wall
These are two six-storey office blocks developed by Charter Developments, who were also responsible for Harbour Exchange. In all, its 92.000 sq.ft of space provide for 47 office suites ranging in size from 500 sq.ft to 4,500 sq.ft. Construction (1990–2) of the £34-million scheme was begun by Elliott of Bishop's Stortford, but, after they went into receivership in February 1991, the work was completed by Team. (fn. 151)
Mastmaker Court. Nos 20–34 (even) Mastmaker Road
This is a development by Pirin Ltd. completed in 1987. The two blocks of blue-and-beige, pitched-roofed 'shiny sheds' are divided into a total of eight light industrial and office units, providing about 57,000 sq.ft of accommodation. (fn. 152)
Mercury Earth Satellite Station and Telecommunications Centre. East Wood Wharf
In 1984 Marconi of Chelmsford constructed and erected two dish aerials on PLA-owned land, for Mercury Communications, to provide an earth satellite station, giving voice and data transatlantic communication, particularly between New York and London. Subsequently a telecommunications centre was added (opened in 1989) to house the British end of Mercury's fibre-optics cable to France and the equipment for their three earth stations linked with North America and Europe. (fn. 153)
This office development stands to the north of Marsh Wall, overlooking the South Dock of the West India Docks. A £50-million scheme was designed for the CORDOR Group, a Kuwaiti consortium, by SSC Consultants of Bristol, to be implemented in phases on the 3.8-acre site.
The first phase, providing 45,000 sq.ft of office space, consists of two linked blocks of four and five storeys: Malvern and Polden Houses, and Brecon, Cairngorm, and Grampian Houses. They were built in 13 months in 1987—8, under a £3-5-million fasttrack contract, by Try Construction. The steel-framed structures are faced in red brick, with large expanses of curtain-walling.
The second phase comprises Snowdon, Moorfoot, Intourist, Cumbrian, Memaco and Quantock Houses, arranged in two U-plan ranges around a central courtyard. It was constructed in 1987–9 by John Laing, at an estimated £7 million. In all it gave a further 70,000 sq.ft of office space, together with provision for a quayside restaurant. More high-tech in appearance, the blocks are faced in yellow brick, tinted blue glass, and light-cream panels, and each range has a central entrance-porch from the courtyard, with a heavy Post-Modern split-pediment and rounded pillars, all in dark red. (fn. 154)
The third phase, planned to consist of two large office blocks and commence construction in 1988, was redesigned - in the light of the changing property market - as six smaller units, but by March 1994 no work had commenced on site. (fn. 155)
Erected on the east side of Millharbour in 1984, this development was designed by the John Brunton Partnership as a 13,000–sq.ft high-tech factory unit, with ancillary offices. The project was begun by College Hill Securities and Geoffrey Osborne, but was taken over and completed by Paul Sykes Developments. The building was occupied by Pritchard Services, who arranged for a first floor to be built over the production space, thus creating a total of 17,850 sq.ft of office space. It is a twostorey 'shiny shed', with silver corrugated cladding and mirrored glass. A low-pitched roof rises to a central ridge. (fn. 156)
Millwall Park Centre and Club
See page 510.
Mowlem Site, Nos 52–58 (even) Marsh Wall
This triangular plot on the south side of the road, west of Mastmaker Road, was developed by Mowlem, the construction and engineering firm, which between 1923 and 1976 held the contract for civil engineering and building maintenance throughout the PLA estate. From the 1930s Mowlem had a site on the south side of Marsh Wall, immediately to the east of what is now No. 50, using it for storage and site offices; one of the sheds remained there until the mid–1980s. Mowlem was able to acquire the one-acre site from the LDDC in 1984, and two three-storey blocks (Nos 52 & 54 and Nos 56 & 58 Marsh Wall) were designed and built by the firm, being completed in 1986. Initially, No. 58 was used by Mowlem as a regional office, while No. 54 was taken by the National Westminster Bank as its Docklands branch. The buildings have partly curved faces and are mainly clad in silver panels, with black-tinted glass. (fn. 157)
Former Northern and Shell Building, No. 41a Millharbour
This was developed by Northern and Shell, the international publishing group, as their own headquarters building. It was designed by Stanley Trevor, and constructed by A. Roberts in 1983–4. The three-storey block in traditional brickwork-construction, with bronzefinished windows, provides 18,000 sq.ft of office space. Northern and Shell moved to City Harbour in June 1993 (see page 714). (fn. 158)
Passmore Building, Mastmaker Road
The building is a silver and blue 'shiny shed' with 34,000 sq.ft, on the west side of the road. It was built in 1983–4 on the 1.6-acre site by Richard Passmore, a builder's merchant previously in Limehouse, as the firm's own headquarters and manufacturing plant. The development contract was valued at approximately £1 million. It was empty by 1991 and remained so in March 1994. (fn. 159)
PDX Building, Millharbour
This is an 11,600-sq.ft building designed by the Geoffrey Thorpe Practice for PDX, a printing and office-supply company, as the latter's own headquarters. It was completed by 1985. The building, which was empty in March 1994, is a flat-roofed, 'shiny shed', faced partly in silver and blue corrugated cladding, with blue retaining strips and a red-brick plinth, and partly with mirrored and tinted glazing. (fn. 160)
Poplar Business Park
A four-acre site on the west side of Preston's Road, just south of Poplar High Street, this was developed by Port of London Properties Ltd to replace the 56 units of phases 2 and 3 of Cannon Workshops, demolished to make way for the Canary Wharf scheme. The Canary Wharf Development Company agreed to pay all the relocation costs of those displaced tenants who wished to move to the new site. Designed by YRM (Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardall), construction was carried out in 1987–8 by Canary Wharf Contractors (a consortium of Sir Robert McAlpine, Laing, Mowlem, Costain and Taylor Woodrow). It consists of one two-storey and two single-storey blocks, containing 60 offices and workshops, ranging in size from 680 sq.ft to 1,540 sq.ft. They are clad in light-grey panels, with dark-grey doors and frames, and tinted glazing. The hipped roofs are covered with corrugated cladding. (fn. 161)
Price Waterhouse Building, No. 161 Marsh Wall
Standing on Island Quay, at the south-west corner of the West India Docks, the building was designed by Swedish architects, Sten Samuelsson and Klas Nilsson, for the British subsidiaries of two leading Swedish developers, ABV International and Fabege Property. It was originally conceived as a Scandinavian Trade Centre, with office space for Scandinavian and British 'high technology and financial industries', as well as an exhibition atrium. It was built in 1986–8, at an estimated cost of £10 million, with the piling and foundations by Peter Birse and the superstructure by Small Construction (design work for the latter contract was by Tony Gee & Partners). In the event, the building was let in its entirety to the accountants Price Waterhouse. The five-storey high-tech block stands on 110 piles and has a superstructure of framed steelwork and lightweight composite-concrete floors, cast on steel decking. It is clad in shiny white panels and dark glass, intended to reflect and highlight the waterside setting. (fn. 162)
This is a three-storey, yellow-brick block on the south side of the Millwall Docks, just outside the Enterprise Zone. It was developed by Trafalgar House as an adjunct to its Timber Wharves housing scheme and was completed in December 1988. It contains eight office units, providing a total of 16,000 sq.ft. (fn. 163)
Reuters Docklands Centre
The Centre straddles a former dry dock at Blackwall Yard. It was completed in June 1989. The Richard Rogers Partnership designed the exterior and core of this international data-processing centre, while specialists Fitzroy Robinson were employed to design and oversee the fitting out and internal layout. The total cost, including fitting out, was £85 million. The 27,900–sq.m building is a typical Richard Rogers high-tech design, less exuberant than his Lloyd's Building, although splashes of colour are provided by the bright-green ducts, yellow cleaning-cranes and blue fire escapes (Plate 157a). The solid and glazed cladding panels are designed to be interchangeable to allow the rearrangement of office and data floors. (fn. 164)
Scandinavian Trade Centre
See Price Waterhouse Building, above.
Standing at the junction of Marsh Wall and Limeharbour, this is a low-rise high-tech group of office units, intended to be owner-occupied (Plate 140a, 140b). It was jointly developed by John Laing and the London Industrial Association, and was designed by Hutchinson Partners, Libby & Company. Construction was carried out by Laings in 1984–6, at a cost of £3.8 million. Originally planned as 41 units, with sizes ranging from 60 sq.m to 418 sq.m. between 1986 and 1988 the number seems to have varied between 36 and 40 units.
A series of blocks, ranging from one to four storeys, is partly arranged along the street frontages to emphasize the street pattern, and partly in blocks to the rear, to form informal courtyard areas. The buildings are in brick, with large, stepped, basically triangular red aluminiumframed window-grids, braced with hubs and spokes, and pitched or monopitched roofs, covered with white cladding which in places also runs down the upper parts of the walls. The shapes consciously echo the cranes and sails of the old docks, while the lively roofscape was intended to be seen from the Docklands Light Railway then planned but not built. Each office unit was given its own front door, with a triangular porch canopy, concrete cannonball, and 'cheese sandwich' (see Plate 140a).
A second phase of 18 more office units, Skylines Two, was built by Laings in 1988–90. The design of the buildings is very similar to the original part, although the architects were Sidney Kaye Firmin, but the accommodation was greater, with floor areas of between 1,060 sq.ft and 2,450 sq.ft. (fn. 165)
South Quay Plaza, Marsh Wall
This stands on a five-acre site on the south side of the South West India Dock, previously occupied by Shed 19, a three-storey concrete warehouse built in 1965 to handle Far East cargo. The joint developers were Marples International and National Leasing & Finance, while the scheme was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners, and constructed by Marples. The seven-storey Peterborough Court was built in 1985–7. Containing 103,710 sq.ft of accommodation, it was begun as a speculative office block, but was acquired during construction by the Daily Telegraph newspaper group for its editorial and commercial staff. A predominantly open-plan layout was therefore designed for them by Michael Hopkins & Partners. The Telegraph group moved to Canary Wharf in the spring of 1992. (fn. 166)
South Quay Plaza 2, built in 1986–8, is a ten-storey block providing 144,000 sq.ft of office space (fig. 270), with a shopping mall (opened in January 1989) containing 14 retail units.
South Quay Plaza 3, built in 1988–9, is a 14-storey block providing 210,000 sq.ft of office accommodation. The start-date of this block was advanced because of the speed with which the other phases were disposed of, but ironically it proved difficult to lease or sell, although a restaurant and wine bar on the quayside to the rear of this third block was let in 1990 to Fullers, the brewers. South Quay Plaza 3 was purchased in 1991 by Wyn-Ro Investments, a joint company formed by Rotch Properties Group and the Allied Lyons Pension Fund. (fn. 167)
The three main blocks, although of differing heights, are similar in appearance, having reinforced-concrete structural frames and pitched roofs. Great curtain-walls of black-mirrored glass are set in a grid of blue-powdered aluminium glazing bars, framed by polished black granite, and topped with heavy, Post-Modern pedimented gables, which are echoed by marble-clad pedimented front entrances, while South Quay Plaza 3 is set on a marbleclad plinth. (fn. 168)
Storm Water Pumping Station, Stewart Street
See page 539.
The Telehouse Europe (formerly The London Telehouse)
This stands in Coriander Avenue, on a 1.4-acre site adjacent to Leamouth Road. It was designed by YRM (Yorke, Rosenberg, & Mardall). The project was managed by a Japanese-owned firm, Shimizu (UK), with construction being carried out by John Laing Construction in 1988–90, at a cost of £30 million, for Telehouse International Corporation of Europe, whose shareholders included a number of Japanese interests, as well as British Telecom International. The building, of eight storeys, with a basement car park, is divided into two by a core containing service shafts. Clad in aluminium of varying shades of grey, it stands on stilts, behind a black brisesoleil or louvred screen, to protect the inside of the building from direct sunlight. It contains 184,000 sq.ft, including support areas, and provides 24 computer suites, primarily intended as data centres for international finance houses. (fn. 169)
Thames Quay, Marsh Wall
Plans for this office development in three blocks joined by service cores, were drawn up by the architects YRM (Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardall) in 1985 for Fluor Daniel, an American petro-chemical company, who intended to develop the 3.8-acre site as their European headquarters, and required deep-plan office space to accommodate model-makers and design engineers, as well as more standard office space which could be let to conventional users. A decline in oil prices caused Fluor Daniel to abandon its plans and in 1987 it sold the site to the National Leasing & Finance Company, which, with Imry Merchant Developers, was responsible for developing the existing scheme. Building work was carried out in 1987–9 by Tarmac Construction, under a £30-million design-and-build contract employing fast-track methods, and still using YRM's design.
The three interconnecting blocks, which are capable of forming a single building, were known as the Lothbury (No. 191), Isis (No. 193), and Wallbrook (No. 195) Buildings, providing accommodation respectively of 71,103 sq.ft, 59,400 sq.ft and 57,738 sq.ft. They are stepped in terraces, which are broken up by escape stairs, bridges, and railings linking different levels. Each block is U-shaped in plan, with offices arranged around an enclosed light-well. The light-wells run down the front of each block, further dividing up the terraces. To Marsh Wall, there are two pyramidalroofed single-storey lodges, plus a similar service building. The LDDC transferred its main offices to No. 191 in 1990, while Norex, the insurance, broking and shipping group moved into No. 195, renaming the building Norex Court. (fn. 170)
Tiller Court (Nos 10, 12, 14, and 16 Tiller Road)
The development consists of four self-contained office units of 9,407 sq.ft, 12,461 sq.ft, 13,038 sq.ft and 13,241 sq.ft, designed by Alan Turner & Associates (project architect David Pearson) for the developer Hastingwood Properties, which itself carried out construction in 1988– 90, at a reported cost of £5 million. The five-storey, Lplan block is faced with buff bricks, brown panels (rising to small pediments), and black-tinted glass. Plans for a second phase, to the west of the present building, have been put into abeyance and remained unexecuted in March 1994. (fn. 171)
This stands close to the south-west corner of the South West India Dock, around Admiral's Way, which runs northwards off Marsh Wall. It was developed jointly by the Wiggins Group, which specialized in motor distribution and house building, and Port of London Properties Ltd, the PLA owning the seven-acre site. (fn. 172)
Construction was carried out in the following phases:
1. Cochrane, Beatty, Scott, Parker, Ladybourne, Drake and Raleigh Houses (1985–6), designed by Richard Hemingway, consists of 40 small-business apartments in a quayside block, offset in two parts, and varying from two to four storeys. It is faced in yellow brick and is very domestic in appearance, with hipped roofs and dormers, railed balconies, neo-Classical ground-floor columns, and, to the dockside, enclosed individual gardens or paved areas. (fn. 173)
2. Quay House (1986–7), designed by Newman Levinson & Partners and erected by John Lelliott, is a threestorey office block of 2,000-sq.m, faced in white concrete, tinted-glass curtain-walling, and painted steelwork, and with a pedimented entrance porch. It was taken by British Telecom as a Business Centre. (fn. 174)
3. Ensign House (completed 1987) is a six-storey office block in hard red and yellow brick, with Post-Modernstyle pilasters to the lower storeys, and a hipped, slated roof. (fn. 175)
4. Beaufort Court (1987–8), designed by Newman Levinson & Partners, is a seven-storey block containing 40 business apartments (totalling 85,000 sq.ft) (fig. 271), and five ground-floor retail and showroom units. Generally Post-Modern in style, with a central pediment, the building is clad in grey and black polished granite, with glazed curtain-walling, and including a glazed atrium. (fn. 176)
5. Euro Trade Centre or South Quay Waterside (1988–92) consists of Dundonald and Waterside Houses, and South Quay Tower. It was designed by the Whittam Cox Ellis Clayton Partnership, and constructed by Wimpey, at a cost of £68 million. After the Wiggins Group's shares were suspended in March 1990, a separate company, South Quay Ltd, was formed to complete this part of the development and with the building as its only asset. At the same time, it was decided to divide the block into small business units for sale to investors seeking tax-shelter benefits in the Enterprise Zone, and it was marketed as the EuroTrade Centre. In May 1992 South Quay Ltd was put into receivership and Cork Gully were appointed as administrators.
The U-shaped mainly 19-storey block (also intended to include a shopping mall), has a reinforced-concreteframed basement but a steel-framed main structure. It is faced in polished speckled-grey granite, and its PostModern pediments echo those on the adjacent South Quay Plaza development. South Quay Tower, rising to 24 storeys and a pyramidal roof, looks rather like a smaller version of the Canary Wharf tower. Some 350,000 sq.ft of accommodation is provided in 144 self-contained suites, ranging in individual size from 550 sq.ft to 2,000 sq.ft, each with its own kitchen and bathroom. In view of the lack of tenants, the possibility of making these suites into residential units was considered in 1992, but in March 1994 the building was still empty. (fn. 177)
6. The International Hotel, Arrowhead Quay (1989– 92) was designed by Watkins Gray International, and the £28-million construction contract was carried out by Mowlem Management. The 11- and 14-storey block contains 350 bedrooms. The reinforced-concrete structure is clad in granite, with two-storey dark brown anodised curtain-walling infills. After the Wiggins Group's shares were suspended in March 1990, the unfinished building was sold to Britannia Hotels for £17.75 million, and they completed the development. (fn. 178)
7. Site between Arrowhead Quay and Quay House. This remained undeveloped in March 1994, when it was being used as a car park.
West Ferry Printers
This building, off the east side of Westferry Road, was designed by Watkins Gray Wilkinson Associates (principal architect Ronald Wilkinson), as the Daily Telegraph Printing and Publishing Works. (fn. 179) It was built in 1984–6 by Wimpey Construction (UK) Ltd, at an allinclusive contract price of £30 million, the whole project being costed at about £75 million. (fn. 180)
The multi-storey building wraps around three sides of a press hall, and has a steel frame with in situ concrete floors. It is clad in profiled, colour-coated aluminium, mirror glass and brickwork. The vast press hall, as originally built, was 60m square and 25m high, with its roof supported on massive trussed steel girders. (fn. 181)
The fourth side of the press hall was deliberately left open for future development, (fn. 182) and a £12.2 million extension, designed by the same architects, was built in 1988–9, with Norwest Holst as the main contractor, for the production of the newspapers of the Express Group, including The Star, Daily Express, and Sunday Express. (fn. 183)