Our project story



A diamond in The Smoke.

A built-environment behemoth.
Maximum living space.
An agile model for the market.

Challenge accepted.

The UK’s tallest build-to-rent tower – crowned Residential High Rise Development winner at 2021 International Property Awards – Newfoundland cuts a distinctive figure with its diamond exoskeleton and smart, slimline design. Standing out among the East London skyline, it’s visible from southern and central parts of the capital. At 63 storeys, the sheer scale is impressive – and housing 636 apartments, it’s practically a small village. With fitness studios, dockland views and communal spaces with shuffleboard and automatic wine dispensers, said village has been sought after.

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…Carefully thought-out engineering and architectural processes were implemented to create the remarkable diagrid structure...
Alastair Mullens, Managing Director, Vertus.

Sketching out a skyscraper.

The size and height of the building meant providing services was extremely challenging, and the site’s position directly above Jubilee Line posed puzzles during the construction process, including a piling restriction. There was also a detail architect on the project, as well as a signature architect and interior architect which added to its complexity. With the development due to take years, and the status of the property market at the time of completion unforeseeable, we were required to design units for a split-ownership PRS model to suit sale and rental, playing to dual strengths and offering flexibility as the market determined.

The drawings we needed to produce were numerous, and there were many page turns exercise to ensure alignment with the aspiration. As time went on, samples were taken and reviewed, reducing the number of drawings to be checked and allowing for faster sign-off.
The completion date was affected by the pandemic but we quickly adjusted the way we held meetings to give us more time to focus on drawing reviews and sign-off on A-site.


The art of reinvention.

While being Canary Wharf Contractors’ first residential tower, Newfoundland was originally based around an office model so we helped redesign to suit residential development needs, retaining its diagrid structure which made for a unique signature look. The slender shape and unique diamond aesthetic were determined by the site’s narrow footprint and diagonal alignment of surrounding streets, which required optimisation of pedestrian movement around the building base.

We designed to stage 4a/4b using the traditional procurement route. By taking it this far, much of the major plant selection and sizing fell within our remit. We engaged at an early stage with 3no manufacturers for each piece of kit to ensure timely procurement. We rationalised the plant’s size and quantity, resulting in smaller plant rooms and increased landlord areas.
Technical impact

Cost-saving solutions.

Our solutions were technically sound, with cost-saving benefits for the client. In terms of power distribution, long runs resulted in large voltage drops and even larger associated cable sizes – a problem we solved with a substation on the roof. There was multi-stage pumping, and we overcame pressure losses on all the water runs with PN 25 valves. We implemented a dynamic thermal model to size the heating and cooling system and did an aggressive diversity across the building to ensure the plant was not oversized, calculating carefully to take into consideration the orientation of each apartment.
Human impact

Maximising returns.

Normally, in a tower of such height, an entire floor would be lost to an interstitial plant for water, but we excluded any intermediate plant floors from the design – only having plants at roof and basement levels. This maximised the liveable space and gave the client an extra sellable floor and significant extra revenue per year, while providing affordable, agile rental accommodation within the financial district of London.
Key Figures
636 apartments
2 basement plant levels
5 roof plant levels

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…We evaluated how to make best use of the ground-bearing capacity near the tunnels and further away, to make the tallest possible structure…
Billie Lee, Co-Founder, Horden Cherry Lee