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The Changing Face of Canary Wharf


Since the 2012 Olympics, the Canary Wharf skyline has become famous nationally and around the world. However in the next few years the skyline on the Canary Wharf estate and at the top of the island will change dramatically.


Most visitors to Canary Wharf will be probably  unaware of the new developments  which are taking place in the east and west fringes of the estate. Over the last few months, there has been considerable work on the two major schemes New Phase (formerly known as Wood Wharf) and the Newfoundland development.


The developments are unusual due to the locality of the docks and the limited access onto the estate. Massive pontoons have been used to take large cranes between the sites and dredgers have been used to clean the bottom of the docks.


Both of the developments have built cofferdams that have reclaimed parts of the dock to enable building to be undertaken.


When completed there will be 58-storey residential tower on the Newfoundland site and the New Phase site will have a mix of uses, including a residential area for over 3,200 new homes, nearly 2 million sq ft of  commercial office space, and 335,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and community uses.


One major development approaching completion is the Crossrail station at Canary Wharf which becames operational in 2018. The station has been built in the North Dock of West India Quay using an innovative box method that was built in the dock itself. Since work began on the new station in May 2009 by creating a 250 x 30 metre watertight dam in the waters of North Dock it has been built ‘top down,’ below the water surface.


Other buildings gradually changing the skyline at the top of the Island is the new Novotel hotel, Baltimore Tower and the Dollar Bay development.

All these developments add up to some of the largest future buildings in London in one of the smallest areas. If Canary Wharf has changed dramatically in the last twenty five years, it is likely to change even more in the next twenty five years.

Having residential developments on the Canary Wharf estate will in many ways change the character of the area and will answer some of the critics who call the development ‘soulless’. However with the working population due to almost double in a decade it is still likely to remain a working destination rather than a place to live.

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