Europe’s Tallest Residential Tower: Spire London

Lawrence Malcic
Senior Vice President, Director of Design
HOK, Inc., London

London has historically been a polycentric city. Canary Wharf created a new urban node based on business and office development. An urban hub, however, needs a mix of uses. Spire London, adjacent to Canary Wharf and excellent public transport, exemplifies how high-rise development can lead the way for appropriate residential densification. Spire London is the result of exceptional aspiration, thought and innovation. The tower is 235 meters tall, encompassing 67 floors with 861 homes, perhaps the most efficient residential land use in the UK; including market-priced and affordable homes. The tower will provide smart technology, convenience and security, containing within its footprint retail, social and community spaces, atria and roof gardens, and a health and wellness center, cinema, pool, spa and residents’ club. The building will enhance pedestrian movement, improve the urban realm with a pocket park, and add to the amenities of the adjacent conservation area. Four public transport stations are within a five-minute walk, reinforcing the case for densification and verticality. Spire London illustrates how architecture and planning for residential buildings can create a distinctly unique form, visibly differentiated from nearby high-rise offices.

The complexities of place-making are mirrored in the technical complexity of Spire London: various structural solutions were evaluated to find a design that addresses the geotechnical challenges of a waterside location and a tower literally spanning over two tube lines. Energy conservation and sustainable design have driven innovative tools to produce integrated, efficient building systems. These engineering issues, and their solutions, are essential to the design story, and are part of the mosaic of considerations that results in an extraordinary addition to the London skyline.