Novotel, Canary Wharf

The Accor development at 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf is situated close to the Thames and as well as 310 bedrooms, the flagship hotel offers guests luxury conference, leisure facilities and a roof top bar. At 40 storeys tall, there are outstanding views of the city as well as the River Thames. 

Following demolition of an existing 5 storey office building, construction commenced on site in late 2014 with the construction of piled foundations. Accor purchased the site in early 2014 with BUJ’s proposals for the scheme having been approved by the Planners for a 120m tall glazed tower and a projecting feature ‘yellow box’ at lower levels with a mix of different glazing & frit types.

Shortly after acquiring the site, Manhire Associates were appointed by Accor to develop proposals for the building. Working closely with Leach Rhodes Walker and DMS, Manhire Associates identified a number of challenges – the small confined site, existing pile obstructions, the retention of an existing contiguous piled wall, the provision of a loading bay and surface water attenuation tanks, as well as overcoming constraints imposed by an adjacent public footpath were just some of the factors affecting the design.

Understanding construction methods and plant informed the design of the foundations and piling as well as the superstructure. Manhire Associates were appointed to undertake a ground investigation and the investigations confirmed that, as with the adjacent ‘Landmark’ development, the stiff Thanet Sands could be reached with CFA rigs, thus avoiding the need for large diameter piles and the need for drilling fluid or bentonite. With such high column and pile loads, pile caps were arranged carefully to avoid existing piles and to also minimize cap depth. The piled raft was carefully designed to facilitate construction in 2 pours and settlement studies undertaken to establish likely absolute and differential settlements across the site. Soil/structure interaction studies were used to assess pile loads as well as raft reinforcement levels for a range of soil and stiffness parameters.

Whilst forming a key aspect of the architecture, the double and triple height feature ‘vee’ and ‘cruciform’ columns support 40 storeys and are expressed with varying cross sections and form. The columns were modelled in 3 dimensions and geometries developed with planar faces avoiding warped surfaces that would be difficult to form. 

With just 4 lifts and 2 stairs, the core is limited in its extent, and the challenge in designing the core for wind loads was to avoid the need for outrigger walls to mobilize the perimeter columns. Various forms were considered and wind tunnel modelling by BMT Fluid Mechanics indicated that anticipated wind induced vibrations were within accepted comfort levels. The dynamic response of the building was improved by optimizing the slab depth to 200mm reducing the effective mass of the building.

Storey height transfer walls were integrated into an intermediate plant level as well as at level 3.  

The 310-room development is the tallest hotel building in the UK and is just one block away from Manhire Associates’ ‘Landmark’ residential development which was completed in 2009.

ClientAccor UK & Ireland Hotels Ltd
Architect:Leach Rhodes Walker
ContractorO’Halloran & O’brien, Yuanda
  • Hotels
  • Building next to Water
  • Expressed Structure
  • Facades
  • Geo-Environmental
  • Ground Movements
  • SUDS
  • Tall Buildings
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