One Canada Square

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One Canada Square
Image:Night canary wharf london.jpg
Location London, England
Status Complete
Constructed 1987-1991
Use Commercial
Roof 235 meters
Technical Details
Floor count 50
Elevator count 36
Architect César Pelli

One Canada Square, a skyscraper in London, England is the tallest habitable building in the United Kingdom, at 235 metres (771 ft) and 50 stories (reduced from original plans for 60). Designed by the Argentine architect César Pelli, construction was completed in 1991. Identifiable from a great distance as an obelisk-shaped tower with a flashing light on top, this building is a monument to 1980s-style capitalism. In 1990, during construction, it surpassed the United Kingdom's previous tallest building, Tower 42 (183 m; 600 ft).

The building now has two siblings that have sprung up alongside, which are not quite as tall (at 200 metres each; the pyramid provides the height advantage): HSBC Tower (8-16 Canada Square) and Citigroup Centre (25 Canada Square).

The building is remarkably similar in design to Three World Financial Center, a sister tower constructed in New York by the same developers and architects shortly before work started at Canary Wharf. The New York building is faced with stone while One Canada Square is faced with stainless steel panels.

Despite its status as the United Kingdom's tallest building, there is no public observation floor; the view from the upper windows is the sole preserve of the building's tenants. However, mirroring New York's World Financial Center, the ground floor, foyer area and basement levels of One Canada Square are open to the general public, housing an underground shopping mall and a transport interchange from Canary Wharf tube and Docklands Light Railway stations.

The square to the east of the tower was named after Canada because it was built by the Canadian firm Olympia and York, which was owned by the Reichmann family. The company went bankrupt in the face of a property crash which caused the upper half of the tower to stand empty for some time following its completion.

The building is commonly known as the Canary Wharf Tower after the Canary Wharf business complex of which it is the most prominent feature. It is a conspicuous London landmark, clearly visible at a distance from large areas of South London in particular. It can even be seen from sections of the A2 a full 25 miles from its location.

In November 1992, the Provisional IRA attempted to place a large bomb next to the tower. However, this was spotted by security staff and did not detonate; the tower itself was not damaged. Four years later the IRA did detonate a large bomb at South Quay, south of Canary Wharf, which killed two people and devastated several buildings. This explosion is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the "Canary Wharf bomb".

A view from the top floor, May 2000

In 2002, French urban climber, Alain Robert, using only his hands and feet and with no safety devices of any kind, scaled the building's exterior wall all the way to the top.

The building houses the offices of several financial institutions as well as several leading British Newspapers including The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, The Sunday People and The Daily (and Sunday) Telegraph.


[edit] General information

  • The tower has 4,388 internal steps and 3,960 windows. 32 passenger lifts are in use. The journey from the ground floor to the 50th takes 40 seconds by lift if uninterrupted. There are several floors below ground and an equipment floor above the 50th, so no passenger lift in the building vertically traverses the entire height of the structure. However, there are two freight lifts and two firemen's lifts that travel to all floors.<ref></ref>
  • The 11 metre (36 ft) high lobby is clad in 90,000 square feet of marble imported from Italy and Guatemala.
  • The building is sometimes referred to as the 'vertical Fleet Street', after several of London's newspapers moved from Fleet Street in the City of London to One Canada Square.
  • One Canada Square is often mistakenly referred to as Canary Wharf: the origin of this is from the building's dominance over the development.
  • The light on at the tower's crown, which warns aircraft flying into London City Airport of the tower, flashes 40 times a minute; 57,600 times a day.
  • Construction of the tower was halted from March to June 1990, when the building workers went on strike.
  • The tower's loading bay handles over 80,000 deliveries each year.

[edit] Companies currently in the building

[edit] One Canada Square in popular culture

A near future sequence in the novel Freezeframes by Katharine Kerr, shows One Canada Square as a free college and youth drop-in centre. It is nicknamed "Major's Last Erection", although hardly anyone remembers who John Major actually was, and most assume it refers to an army major.

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 initation rite that will allow him to see beyond reality and join The Invisibles.

In the British television series Doctor Who, One Canada Square is the location of the headquarters of the London branch of the Torchwood Institute. Known as the "Torchwood Tower" to those in the know, the main purpose of One Canada Square is to investigate a hole in reality 600 feet above London created by a Dalek Void Ship. One Canada Square previously appeared in the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Millennial Rites in which the top floor was the headquarters of a yuppie who inadvertently turned London into a "dark fantasy" kingdom in which he was a powerful sorcerer, with the tower as his citadel.

In the movies One Canada Square has appeared as the CIA's London listening station in The Bourne Supremacy.

In Johnny English One Canada Square had another identical building next to it. One of the One Canada Square buildings was a hospital and the other was villain Pascall Sauvage's HQ.

[edit] See also

[edit] References


[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Canary Wharf, London
One Canada Square | HSBC Tower | Citigroup Centre | One Churchill Place | 10 Upper Bank Street | 40 Bank Street | 25 Bank Street | 1 Cabot Square | 5 Canada Square | 33 Canada Square | 10 Cabot Square | 25 Cabot Square | 25 North Colonnade | 20 Canada Square | 50 Bank Street | 20 Bank Street | 20 Cabot Square | 30 South Colonnade | 11 Westferry Circus | 1 Westferry Circus | 17 Columbus Courtyard | 20 Columbus Courtyard | 15 Westferry Circus | 7 Westferry Circus

Transport Links: Canary Wharf DLR | Canary Wharf Tube | Canary Wharf Pier | Heron Quays DLR | London City Airport | South Quay DLR

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One Canada Square

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