The tallest building in Great Britain is was One Canada Square... Wait, what?

I too was rather shocked what I found out that too. It’s rather rare for landmarks to be named after other countries, even if we do happen to share a monarch. Probably due to this fact, the tower is oft referred to as the Canary Wharf Tower, after its location. While it is not the only tower located at Canary Wharf, it is still the tallest.

In the skyline, it easily catches the eye. A square monolithic structure of stainless steel and glass, it towers over its neighbours, and is topped off with a distinctive pyramid. The pyramid is made of stainless steel, and is lit up at night. It can be seen from over 20 miles away.

Construction on the building commenced in 1988, and was completed in 1991. It houses 50 floors, and depending on who you talk to, it is either 800 ft or 771 ft tall. The 800 ft claim is made by the building owners, whereas the 771 ft number is found on the official aviation charts. Either way, this is still tall enough to be granted the title of tallest building in Britain, for the time being. The Riverside South building, also at Canary Wharf, is slated for completion in 2011 and will be slightly taller than One Canada Square, at 774 ft, and the Shard London Bridge which is slated for completion in 2012 will tower over them at 1017 ft.

Update: Andrew Aguecheek says re One Canada Square: Possibly worth an update - the Shard is now the tallest building in Great Britain, and indeed the EU.,/p>

One Canada Square primarily houses office space, with some limited retail. Its total floor area is 1,238,000 sq ft, and the majority of the building is leased out. There is some shopping in the basement, as well as a link to the Canada Square shopping centre, as well as links to public transit. The basement and the lobby are the only parts of the building that are open to the public.

The tower was built by Olympia and York, with the primary architects being Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects. Olympia and York filed for bankruptcy in 1992, due in no small part to their inability to keep the building full, as part of a general downturn in the London commercial property market. But, eventually the market recovered, and One Canada Square’s fortunes, along with the rest of the Canary Wharf development, was boosted by the extension of the Jubilee line of the London Underground, which added a stop in Canary Wharf in 1999. The building is now owned by the Canary Wharf Group.

The tower was the target of an attempted terrorist attack in 1992, when the IRA tried placing a van rigged with a large bomb near the building. Fortunately, the detonator on the device failed, and there was no damage caused. However, this event led to stricter security in the building, including the closure of the observation deck on the 50th floor.

Now-a-days, One Canada Square is one of the primary financial centres of London, and by extension, the world. Over 9,000 people schlep to and from work at One Canada Square on a daily basis. We shall, of course, have to see how the ramifications of the global credit crisis of 2008 affects the fortunes of its occupants.

Wikipedia. "One Canada Square," Wikipedia, the free encylopedia. 13 Nov 2008. <> (13 Nov 2008.)
Wikipedia. "Canary Wharf," Wikipedia, the free encylopedia. 12 Nov 2008. <> (13 Nov 2008.)
Canary Wharf Group plc. "One Canada Square," Welcome to the Canary Wharf Groupl plc website. <> (13 Nov 2008.)
Skyscraper Source Media. "One Canada Square, Greater London," 2008. <> (13 Nov 2008.)

The Canary Wharf Tower was the highest building in the UK when it was built in 1991: at 243 metres (around 800ft) tall, it's visible from most high points in London. It's made of glass and steel cladding, weighs in at a chunky 1,000,016 kg, and was designed by Cesar Pelli Associates. The skyscraper's roof is topped by a glass pyramid, which catches the light on sunny days, and is lit up at night with a flashing beacon. As an icon of the city, it symbolises Thatcher, yuppies, and the days of big money and empty investment. See salimfadhley's excellent wu for more on Canary Wharf.

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