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UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates "new type of privacy" in London

United Kingdom Architecture News - Nov 9, 2017 - 12:16   11233 views

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

UNStudio has completed its new residential tower in London by remodelling the building's façade with clustering and material variations that gives a different type of depth and privacy. The 31-storey building - named Canaletto Tower - is located at 257 City Road, Islington in London and draws a distinctive character throughout its extruded facade with different configurations and materiality. 

The importance of the project is that UNStudio applies for the first time some specific materials used in furniture design on a large scale project to test their durability and maintenance.

Encompassing a total of 22,000-square-metre area, the Canaletto residential tower employs the concept of clustering several floors together to establish a group of "vertical communities."

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

The Canaletto tower includes 190 individual living units in total, with other shared amenities including a swimming pool, health club, media room and resident’s club lounge with a terrace on the 24th floor. The specially-designed penthouse is placed on the top of the roof to offer a city view.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

Taking cues from Islington's residential character, the tower creates a distinct response to the city as well. UNStudio's design approach incorporates the remodeling of the facade, a streamlining of the building’s mass and a contrasting of scale and detail untypical of a residential tower. 

"The City Road Tower distinguishes itself from buildings in the nearby financial district of the City through variation; through materials, through clusters, through a scale that is appropriate to city streets and through a facade that creates its own residential identity by means of a varied and heterogeneous elevation," said Ben van Berkel, co-founder of UNStudio.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

The studio creates clustering on living units to provide different views thoughout the city and to offer near and distant townscape views. These views are enhanced through scale, detail, and material variation. The proposed building facade creates a modeled elevation in which clusters of adjacent floors are grouped together.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © EvaBloem

"In a residential building, we want residents to really feel like they are part of a unique work of architecture, something that is identifiably theirs. This is why the design of Canaletto really emphasises this clustering of different floors – small communities that are visibly unique from other nearby towers," added Berkel.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © EvaBloem

Using contrasting materials for each grouping, the 'outer' smooth metallic element is complemented by an 'inner' use of textured materials. Throughout the building the cluster concept of the facade is designed to maximise levels of transparency and frame the views towards the sky, thereby lending the tower a softer and more nuanced silhouette.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © EvaBloem

"The elevation additionally offers sustainability benefits. The surface modelling creates opportunities for shading, balancing good internal daylight and views with reduced heat gains," explained UNStudio.

"The articulation of the facade will additionally reduce wind down drafts and, in combination with canopy proposals at the base of the building, provide an improved pedestrian microclimate," the studio added.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © EvaBloem

The modelling of the balconies within each grouped cluster lends variability to the facade and the living experience for the residents in the building. As outdoor spaces play a large role in the enjoyment of living environments, the creation of unique, sheltered spaces of high quality was a driver in early design development. 

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

The aspect of using both textured and smooth materials contrasts with the expected contemporariness of a typical high-rise metal construction and lends this facade a residential 'twist.' 

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

"The detailing and contrasting of the materialisation of the façade and the balconies plays a key role in the identity of the building and is in fact borrowed from furniture design," detailed Ben van Berkel.

This is an approach which we more typically apply to designs for smaller private houses, however following extensive research into the potential for extending durability and maintenance we were able to create unexpected material variations on a larger scale," he added. 

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

The Canaletto tower also features a landscaped garden on Wharf Road, providing access to the residential lobby, whilst the ground floor garden frames the entrance lobby and provides a green oasis off the busy City Road. A public restaurant will also be located at the base of the building on City Road.

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Image © Hufton+Crow

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Mega frame diagram

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Balconies typology

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Program distribution diagram

UNStudio’s remodelled facade for Canaletto tower creates

Facade detail diagram

UNStudio recently completed Raffles City complex with twisted towers in Hangzhou, China and the studio also won a competition to transform the former Deutsche Bank site in Frankfurt, Germany. The studio is currently working on a new tower - named Wasl Tower -  which will feature one of the world’s tallest ceramic facades in Dubai.

Caroline Bos, co-founder of UNStudio, was one of speakers at this year's reSITE Conference and she presented UNStudio's focus and works on "a network infrastructure".

Project facts

Architect: UNStudio/Ben van Berkel, Wouter de Jonge with Imola Bérczi and Sander Versluis, Aurelie Hsiao, Wing Tang, Nanang Santoso, Derrick Diporedjo, Maud van Hees, Henk van Schuppen, Olivier Yebra, Jan Schellhoff, Fang Huan, Qiyao Li, Perrine Planché, 

Client: Orion City Road Trustee Limited

Development Manager: Groveworld Ltd

Location: 257 City Road, Islington, London, EC1V 1JE

Building surface: 21,732 m2

Programme: 31 Storey residential tower, 190 residential units, spa, swimming pool, gym, cinema, resident's lounge, restaurant, cafe, amenity shop, rooftop terrace

Advisors (prime):

Delivery Architect: Axis Architects

Civil & Structural Engineer: URS Scott Wilson Ltd

MEP Consultant, Fire Engineer, Acoustics: Hoare Lea

Façade Engineer: Buro Happold Ltd

Client Monitor & Employers Agent: Buro Four

Lead-Consultant/ Architect [Involved up to Planning Submission]: PLP Architecture

Interior Designer: UNStudio (public/amenity areas), Des Sources (Level 24 Lounge), apartment interiors by Johnson Naylor LLP, Goddard Littlefair and Waldo Works

Landscape Architect: Churchman Landscape Architects Limited

Extended Advisor List:

CDM Coordinator & Cost Consultant: E C Harris LLP

Planning Consultant: Gerald Eve LLP

CfSH/ Energy Consultant: Bespoke Builder Services Ltd

Lighting Specialist: Lighting Design International 

Townscape Advisor: Richard Coleman Consultancy

 Environmental Statement/ EIA: URS/ Scott Wilson

Access Consultant: David Bonnetts Associates

Traffic & Servicing: SKM Colin Buchanan

Wind Engineer: RWDI Anemos Ltd

Gym & Spa Consultant: Raw Corporate Health Ltd Management Company

Daylight/ Sunlight/ Overshadowing: eb7 - chartered surveyors and environmental consultants

Surveying: Greenhatch Group Ltd

Top image © Hufton+Crow

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