The Info List - One Canada Square

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ONE CANADA SQUARE, sometimes called CANARY WHARF TOWER or simply CANARY WHARF , is a skyscraper in Canary Wharf , London . It was the tallest building in the United Kingdom from 1990 to 2010, standing at 770 feet (235 m) above ground level and containing 50 storeys . In late 2010, it was surpassed by the Shard (completed in July 2012).

One Canada Square was designed by architect Mr Cesar Pelli , who based the design and shape on earlier precedents buildings that include Brookfield Place and Elizabeth Tower . The building is clad with durable stainless steel. One of the predominant features of the building is the pyramid roof, which contains a flashing aircraft warning light, a rare feature for buildings in the United Kingdom. The distinctive pyramid pinnacle is 800 feet (240 m) above sea level .

One Canada Square is primarily used for offices, though there are some retail units on the lower ground floor. It is a prestigious location for offices and as of May 2017 was 100% let. The building is recognised as a London landmark, and it has gained much attention through film, television, and other media as one of the tallest buildings in the United Kingdom .


* 1 History and design

* 1.1 The original plans * 1.2 Architects/design * 1.3 Construction * 1.4 Opening * 1.5 Post-completion

* 2 Building technical details

* 2.1 Building name * 2.2 Building height

* 2.3 Pyramid roof

* 2.3.1 Water * 2.3.2 Window washing machines * 2.3.3 Aircraft warning lights * 2.3.4 Electrical equipment * 2.3.5 Roof material * 2.3.6 Cleaning the roof * 2.3.7 Pyramid roof lights * 2.3.8 Lightning conductors

* 2.4 HVAC * 2.5 Windows * 2.6 External lighting

* 2.7 Fire system

* 2.7.1 Procedure for fire alarm

* 2.8 Tuned mass damper

* 2.9 Lobby

* 2.9.1 Art work

* 2.10 Lifts * 2.11 Observation floor * 2.12 General figures

* 3 Building internal relations

* 3.1 Public access * 3.2 One Canada Square restaurant * 3.3 Environmental rating * 3.4 Maintenance * 3.5 Light usage

* 3.6 Tenants

* 3.6.1 Current office tenants * 3.6.2 Previous office tenants

* 3.7 Ownership * 3.8 Charity abseil events

* 4 External relations

* 4.1 Height ranking * 4.2 Titles * 4.3 Terrorism

* 4.4 Community relations

* 4.4.1 Television interference

* 4.5 In popular culture

* 4.5.1 Cinema * 4.5.2 Television * 4.5.3 Literature * 4.5.4 Video games

* 5 Gallery * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links



The original plans for a business district on Canary Wharf came from G Ware Travelstead . He proposed three 260 m (850 ft) towers. Travelstead was unable to find the money for his project, so he sold the plans to Olympia & York in 1987. Olympia & York grouped all three towers into an area known as Docklands Square, and the main tower was designated DS7 during planning. Docklands Square was later renamed Winston Square before finally being renamed as Canada Square .


The architects chosen to design One Canada Square were Cesar Pelli & Associates, Adamson Associates, and Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners. They designed the tower with a similar shape to 200 Vesey Street (formerly Three World Financial Center), New York City, which was also developed by Olympia & York and designed by Cesar Pelli. The shape was also made reminiscent of " Big Ben ". Olympia & York wanted to clad One Canada Square in stone , just like the World Financial Center buildings, but the architects first wanted to use aluminium for its low density, before insisting on steel to reflect Britain's heritage as an industrial nation .

One Canada Square was originally designed to be 864 feet (263 m) high at 55 storeys, but that penetrated the permitted projection height of the flight obstruction area of the airport approach district to London City Airport , but this was extended to a height of 30 feet (9.1 m) above kerb level in consideration of the fact that One Canada Square was on the external zone of the airport approach. To comply with air traffic safety regulations, the architects took five floors off the tower. The final height of 824 feet (251 m) was permitted, otherwise, the developers would have had to dismantle what was necessary to fit the height restriction. After losing five floors, Olympia & York insisted the other floors had to make up the lost floor space by increasing mass to the remaining floor space which created a tower that was not as slim as Pelli desired. Pelli and the other architects proposed alternatives, such as building more floors below ground and creating an extension of the tower into Docklands Square, which were similar ideas based upon previous Olympia & York buildings, though the ideas were rejected as it did not fit the basis of prime office space.

The design of the tower received a fair share of criticism. According to Cesar Pelli, the most damaging criticism came from Prince Charles , who said on national television, "I personally would go mad if I had to work in a place like that". Other criticisms came from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who said that the building was "not quite stunning".


Construction on the tower began in 1988. Construction was given to Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons in association with Ellis Don of Toronto, but they were slow at building the tower, partly due to building workers going on strike in the summer of 1989, so Lehrer McGovern took over. Lehrer McGovern contracted out most of the work to Balfour Beatty because the Canary Wharf Tower was a difficult building to build. In total, about 27,500 metric tonnes of British steel and 500,000 bolts were used during construction.

By June 1990, the tower had overtaken Tower 42 (previously known as the Nat West Tower), becoming the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

On 8 November 1990, the tower was topped out when the top piece of the pyramid roof was put in place by crane. The celebration was attended by many famous architects, recognised engineers and political leaders. Amongst them were César Pelli, Brian Mulroney , Peter Rice , Man-Chung Tang , and Margaret Thatcher . Paul Reichmann, the owner of Olympia & York gave credit to Pelli for his building design as "this inauguration symbolises the spirit with which buildings can be achieved". Margaret Thatcher told the distinguished audience that the tower can become a "national recognised landmark".


In August 1991, One Canada Square was completed and open for business. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened One Canada Square on the morning of 26 August 1991, and unveiled a commemorative plaque at the entrance to the building. Hundreds of construction workers attended the opening ceremony. The Duke of Edinburgh addressed some 800 invited guests, many of whom had been involved in the project. He spoke of the "large, airy space and clean, efficient office layout", as he declared the building ready for business. The attendees heard a specially-commissioned piece of music performed by a 30-strong choir. Paul Reichmann, Chairman of Olympia & York said:

_"The Canary Wharf Tower marks the start of a new beginning for Canary Wharf, for London, and for the United Kingdom. It is by any standard a triumph of ambition, commitment and collaboration. It will breathe life into Canary Wharf, allowing us to continue our transformation of the rest of the wharf, and will put Canary Wharf at the leading edge of real estate."_ —Paul Reichmann, Chairman, Olympia "> The pyramid roof at night

The pyramid roof is an important feature of the building, enclosing a maintenance plant and housing facilities for water supply and window washing, and an aircraft warning beacon. The pyramid itself is 40 metres high and 30 metres square at the base. It is made from stainless steel and is held together by 100,000 nuts and bolts, with a weight of over 100 tons. A louvre access door opens to allow a shining beacon to identify the building to passing aircraft.


Water is pumped up to the pyramid roof, and is continuously replenished. A common sound that is heard inside the pyramid roof is water being moved around. The water is used for general water requirements, such as toilets, etc. The tower consumes an average of 200,000 imperial gallons (910,000 L) of water per day.

Window Washing Machines

The machines for washing the building windows are stored on the roof of the building. There are two types: one is automatic and the other is manual. The automatic window washing machines run on rails on the sides of the building. This machine can clean a window in 2.6 seconds. It consumes 426,000 gallons of water per run to clean the entire tower. The other machine is a manual window washing cradle. Both of these machines for cleaning the windows are supported by rails that run around the outside of the pyramid roof and that are bolted down into the maintenance floor itself. Canary Wharf: Aircraft warning lights

Aircraft Warning Lights

The aircraft warning light is at the very top of the pyramid. Access is via a ladder with a warning sign stating that unauthorised entry will lead to dismissal. The tower uses an omni-directional light usual for marking hazards. It has a very long life and requires little maintenance. Light intensity achieved is well in excess of the required 2,000 candelas. It uses low power consumption and the unit can be flashing or steady.

Electrical Equipment

There is electrical equipment that regulates the power to the rest of the building on the mezzanine floor. Some of the electrical generators on the mezzanine floor are powered by micro-hydro water turbines, sourced by water pumped up to the roof.

Roof Material

The steel comprises a galvanised steel core, with a multi-layered protective coating and granular finish for better performance characteristics. The tile is in three satin finishes and a high-gloss silver and can be transported in situ in a building's roof.

Cleaning The Roof

The pyramid itself is cleaned by special maintenance personnel who abseil from the light beacon opening at the very top of the roof. Not only do they have to deal with the height, as well as the winds that interfere with their ropes, but they also need to inspect the steel roof.

Pyramid Roof Lights

The pyramid roof lights up in the evenings and can be seen 20 miles (32 km) away. It is a permanent lighting of the Canary Wharf tower pyramid using a thousand electronically controlled fluorescent tubes capable of sequence programming for special occasions and festive seasons. The 4000 lights are highly energy efficient, and have an annual running cost of £23,360, rather than £116,800 if traditional incandescent bulbs had been used.

Lightning Conductors

One Canada Square uses a traditional roof circuit for its lightning protection system. The roof holds 5 lightning conductor rods. This rooftop network of conductors contain multiple conductive copper paths from the roof to the ground. The steel cladding does not form part of the lightning protection system, as it was considered too dangerous.


At the peak cooling times, the HVAC (climate control ) system requires cooling equivalent to that provided by 2,000 t of melting ice in one day. The building has a condensate collection system, which uses the hot and humid outside air, combined with the cooling requirements of the building and results in a significant amount of condensation of moisture from the air. The condensed water is collected and drained into a holding tank located in the basement car park.


One Canada Square has 3,960 windows and was one of the first buildings to incorporate metallicised windows and other advanced window technologies, to assist with the building's energy efficiency plans. The tower uses super-insulated windows at triple-pane glazing (with a high solar heat-gain coefficient), low-emissivity (low-e) coatings to prevent heat loss in winter months, UV coatings, scratch resistant outer layers, sealed argon / krypton gas filled inter-pane voids, 'warm edge' insulating glass spacers, air-seals and specially developed thermally designed window frames. The windows were manufactured with ehigh R-values for the time, thereby the thermal resistance is one of the highest rated in the world for the entire window including the frame.


The tower uses low energy consumption external lighting through intelligent lighting controls systems. This computer controlled system generates the visually interesting lighting displays on the exterior of the building. The uplighters that are usually seen on the exterior of the building are inductive fluorescent lamps that can be colour rendered and dimmed. The floodlights use compact fluorescent lamps used to provide controlled lighting at the base of the tower. The lighting control system has photocells that will automatically switch on the display when it is dark.

The tower also has a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display. The technology was developed by Australian firm Laservision and cost approximately £2 million.


In the event of a fire, One Canada Square is not fully evacuated. The floor that has the fire and all other floors above are evacuated. The air conditioning is set to work in reverse to extract smoke and fresh air is blown into the fire escape staircases to increase air pressure and therefore slow the entry of smoke into these areas. The sprinkler system will not operate unless there is sufficient heat acting on any sprinkler head (which are independent of each other and do not operate in unison).

The only time when One Canada Square was fully evacuated was on 30 October 2001, during a test drill in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks . The test drill was unsuccessful as tenants were notified beforehand, hence evacuation was much quicker than expected by Canary Wharf Security.

Procedure For Fire Alarm

When the fire alarm activates on a floor, audio instructions tailored to each floor of the building sound. All floors will receive an evacuation message, with a controlled evacuation message replayed to each floor in order of priority. On floors below the source of the alarm a stand-by notification is given. Digital signage throughout the building displays alert messages followed by instructions tailored to each floor of the building. On certain floors, the instructions ask employees to leave the floor. Exit signs flash. The access control system unlocks doors as necessary. Fire dampers open. Throughout the building, cameras turn on and look for problems that intelligent video software applications have been programmed to detect. Within 2 minutes, the access control system sends a memo to the Security Director itemising how many people have left the affected floor and how many remain.


One Canada Square has a steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper . The pendulum sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts of wind. The building can sway 33.02 centimetres (13 inches) in the strongest winds.


The lobby is 36 feet (11 m) high, clad in 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2) of marble imported from Italy, Guatemala and Turkey

The stained glass and the roundel in the foyer were designed by Charles Rennie, and are an original design. The design represents Canary Wharf, Water and Boats, illustrating the signs of London Docklands. The slate used here and in various places around the foyer on site is made from the Welsh slate shelving used in the repositories of the original Banana Warehouse at Canary Wharf.

The staircases in the four corners of the lobby leading down to the basement floor are embellished with a four-piece sculpture by Keith Milow .

Art Work

The lobby displays many art works. Canary Wharf Winter Lights usually are on display during January.

During 3 April - 2 June 2017, the lobby is showing many works from Richard Rome. Rome is famous for his bronze and steel sculptures. On display, the works include Fold and Cut (1976/77), Maquette (1984), and Cardenas (2015). In total, the lobby is displaying 36 pieces of his works, and another 5 pieces across Canary Wharf.


The tower has thirty two lifts for tenants to use, where 8 lifts serve roughly ten floors of the building. All tenant passenger lifts serve the ground floor and the following groups of floors – floors 5–17, floors 18–28, floors 28–39 and floors 39–50 (note that level 5 is the first office floor and there is no level 13). In addition there are 2 firemen's lifts which serve all floors in the building. These have colour designations with blue being in the northeast core of the building and green being in the southwest. From the building's initial construction until late 2009 there were 2 large freight lifts at which point another was added. This lift was built inside a vacant lift shaft and has the designation GL37 (GL for goods lift and 37 as it is the 37th lift in the building). The tower uses 'Gearless Traction Elevators' by Otis. These lifts were installed in 1990 (aside from GL37 – 2009) using a gearless traction machine. They have woven steel cables called hoisting ropes that are attached to the top of the lift cabin and wrapped around the drive sheave in special grooves. The other ends of the cables are attached to a counterweight that moves up and down in the hoistway on its own guiderails. It takes 40 seconds by lift from lobby to top floor (The Canary Wharf website has not been updated to include the new goods lift GL37).


There is currently no public observation floor. However, there was an exception during 12 October 1992 – 15 December 1992, when bankruptcy administrators for Olympia "> A view from the top floor, May 2000

The ground floor, foyer area and basement levels of One Canada Square are open to the general public, having an underground retail area and a transport interchange from Canary Wharf tube and Docklands Light Railway stations. Access from the basement also links to Canada Square shopping mall. The floors above the lobby are not open to the public, as they contain offices.


In November 2013, a new restaurant opened in the lobby called One Canada Square Restaurant and Bar, serving high-end food and drinks. The bar only has 30 places, and the restaurant has 100 places. It is the only retailer in the main lobby, whereas the others retailers at One Canada Square are below ground.


The international BREEAM standard has awarded One Canada Square for best practice in sustainable design and environmental performance for buildings. To achieve the rating, the building had to meet or exceed a challenging score of 85% against strict criteria, and included environmental innovations such as the use of 80% recycled aggregate within the concrete used, and the recycling of waste heat to cool and warm the building. Aggregates used in the office build were from predominantly recycled sources, part of a strategy to integrate sustainable products and materials throughout the site, delivering both affordable and sustainable environmentally friendly features to the building.


Canary Wharf Management Ltd are responsible for the maintenance of the building. There are about 130 in-house and contract staff who maintain, manage, secure and clean the building. There are normally ten maintenance personnel on-site during working hours and three at night to attend to routine repairs and adjustments to the internal environment. Critical spare parts for the electricity, gas and water systems are kept within the building.


Lights left on at Canary Wharf

One Canada Square has been 'named and shamed' for being the top building to leave the lights on unnecessarily. The research carried out by the BBC 's _Inside Out _ programme found that on midnight Sunday, One Canada Square left more lights on than any other building in London.

However, Canary Wharf Group said that some tenants have staff working around the clock, and 100% of the energy comes from renewable resources .


Current Office Tenants

(This listing differs from Canary Wharf Group's list as it is outdated. This listing also does not match Royal Mail / The Post Office list when searching for companies in One Canada Square )

* SoftServe SoftServe Inc * Abbey business centres Trading as Abbey Offices * Minotaur FX Group * Bank of New York Mellon * BBVA * Cad & the Dandy - Bespoke Savile Row tailors. 29th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London * Canary Wharf Group PLC (including Canary Wharf Contractors and Canary Wharf Management) * CFA Institute * Citihub Ltd * Clearstream Banking / Deutsche Börse AG * Clydesdale Bank * Coutts & Co * Currencies Direct * Diligence * Engageability * Euler Hermes UK (formerly Trade Indemnity) * Financial Conduct Authority (Previously Financial Services Authority) * Gekko Global Markets * HSBC * High Speed Two * International Business Times UK IBTimes * International Grains Council * International Sugar Organization * JP Morgan * K&B Accountancy Group * Mahindra Satyam * Moody\'s * MetLife * NatWest Bank plc * Netscout * Newland Chase * NYSE Euronext * Ocean Media Group * Regus Business Centers * Samsung Electronics London 2012 Olympic Office * SAMGarde * State Street Bank * Trinity Mirror Group (which includes _ The Daily Mirror _, "The Wharf", _ The Sunday Mirror _ and _ The Sunday People _) * Wide Network Solutions

Previous Office Tenants

* Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé * Alvarez & Marsal * Atkins ( Faithful+Gould ) * Bear Stearns International * Cheltenham & Gloucester * Citibank * City University, London , ( Cass Business School ) (Canary Wharf Campus) * ConocoPhillips Burlington Resources * European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations * E-Trade * GATX International Limited * Global Sage * Hartford Life * Knight Frank * KPMG * London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) / London 2012 * Maersk * Maine Tucker * Médecins du Monde UK * Michael Page International * Michael Stone Associates Ltd * Morgan Stanley Dean Witter * Novartis Europharm * Primus Communication * QSR Management * Quadrant Capital * Royal Bank of Scotland * Satyam Computer Services Ltd * Sirhowy Group * Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom * SWX Swiss Exchange /Virt-X (Swiss Stock Exchange) * Teach First * Telegraph Media Group. _The Daily (and Sunday) Telegraph_ moved to Victoria in late 2006. The Daily Telegraph formerly occupied floors 11–16. * Van der Moolen Holding NV


The ownership of One Canada Square has changed since it was constructed. The table below shows who have previously owned One Canada Square, and also who are the current owners.

Any use of a holding company has been excluded from this list, as it is easier to trace the true owner.


1988–1991 (Building under construction) Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited (Ultimate parent: Olympia & York Developments Limited)

1991–1992 Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited (Ultimate parent: Olympia and the Past Doctor Adventures novel _ The Time Travellers _, in which it was the headquarters of the British Army in an alternate timeline .

One Canada Square also features prominently in an early issue of the Grant Morrison comic series _ The Invisibles _, in which Dane MacGowan is encouraged to jump from the top by his mentor, Tom O'Bedlam, as an initiation rite that will allow him to see beyond reality and join The Invisibles.

Video Games

One Canada Square is featured in Sim City 3000 as a placeable landmark.



Street view of One Canada Square *

Side view of One Canada Square *

One Canada Square, London *

A view from the top floor of One Canada Square *

One Canada Square from the DLR *

Sculpture at Canada Square, London. On the right is the Citigroup building, and on the left is Waitrose.


* Canary Wharf * List of tallest buildings in the United Kingdom


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