The 22,000m2 Canaletto residential tower in London employs the concept of clustering several floors together to establish a group of ‘vertical communities’.
Offering waterside living, the 31-storey tower comprises studios, one and two-bedroom apartments, a variety of three bedrooms and one distinct penthouse with a full rooftop. Canaletto also includes shared amenities such as a swimming pool, health club, media room and resident’s club lounge with a terrace on the 24th floor.
UNStudio’s design for the tower, which is located in the London borough of Islington, incorporates the remodeling of the facade, a streamlining of the building’s mass and a contrasting of scale and detail untypical of a residential tower. The facade for the Canaletto tower was designed to emphasise its residential character and to define a distinct ‘Islington’ response.
Ben van Berkel: “The City Road Tower distinguishes itself from buildings in the nearby financial district of the City through variation; through materials, through clusters, through a scale that is appropriate to city streets and through a facade that creates its own residential identity by means of a varied and heterogeneous elevation.”
In the design near and distant townscape views are enhanced through scale, detail, and material variation. The proposed building facade creates a modeled elevation in which clusters of adjacent floors are grouped together.
Ben van Berkel: ‘In a residential building, we want residents to really feel like they are part of a unique work of architecture, something that is identifiably theirs. This is why the design of Canaletto really emphasises this clustering of different floors – small communities that are visibly unique from other nearby towers.”
Contrasting materials are employed within each grouping, where the ‘outer’ smooth metallic element is complemented by an ‘inner’ use of textured materials. Throughout the building the cluster concept of the facade is designed to maximise levels of transparency and frame the views towards the sky, thereby lending the tower a softer and more nuanced silhouette.
The elevation additionally offers sustainability benefits. The surface modelling creates opportunities for shading, balancing good internal daylight and views with reduced heat gains. The articulation of the facade will additionally reduce wind down drafts and, in combination with canopy proposals at the base of the building, provide an improved pedestrian microclimate.
The modelling of the balconies within each grouped cluster lends variability to the facade and the living experience for the residents in the building. As outdoor spaces play a large role in the enjoyment of living environments, the creation of unique, sheltered spaces of high quality was a driver in early design development. The aspect of using both textured and smooth materials contrasts with the expected contemporariness of a typical high-rise metal construction and lends this facade a residential ‘twist.’
Ben van Berkel: “The detailing and contrasting of the materialisation of the façade and the balconies plays a key role in the identity of the building and is in fact borrowed from furniture design. This is an approach which we more typically apply to designs for smaller private houses, however following extensive research into the potential for extending durability and maintenance we were able to create unexpected material variations on a larger scale.”
Shared spaces and amenities
Outside of the privacy afforded by the 190 individual living units, the Canaletto tower caters for a variety of collective leisure activities by way of shared amenities where the residents can enjoy healthy leisure pursuits or relax in areas designed for gathering and socialising.
A landscaped garden on Wharf Road provides access to the residential lobby, whilst the ground floor garden frames the entrance lobby and provides a green oasis off the busy City Road. A public restaurant will also be located at the base of the building on City Road.
Photos: © Hufton+Crow and Eva Bloem
Canaletto Tower, London, England, 2011
Client: Orion City Road Trustee Limited
Development Manager: Groveworld Ltd
Location: 257 City Road, Islington, London, EC1V 1JE
Building surface: 21,732 m2
Programme: 31 Storey residential tower, 190 residential units, spa, swimming pool, gym, cinema, resident’s lounge, restaurant, cafe, amenity shop, rooftop terrace
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Wouter de Jonge with Imola Bérczi and Sander Versluis, Aurelie Hsiao, Wing Tang, Nanang Santoso, Derrick Diporedjo, Maud van Hees, Henk van Schuppen, Olivier Yebra, Jan Schellhoff, Fang Huan, Qiyao Li, Perrine Planché,
Delivery Architect: Axis Architects
Civil & Structural Engineer: URS Scott Wilson Ltd
MEP Consultant, Fire Engineer, Acoustics: Hoare Lea
Façade Engineer: Buro Happold Ltd
Client Monitor & Employers Agent: Buro Four
Lead-Consultant/ Architect [Involved up to Planning Submission]: PLP Architecture
Interior Designer: UNStudio (public/amenity areas), Des Sources (Level 24 Lounge), apartment interiors by Johnson Naylor LLP, Goddard Littlefair and Waldo Works
Landscape Architect: Churchman Landscape Architects Limited