Keith Jones, Director, Buildings, Ramboll UK

31 October 2023

Planning consent secured for Europe’s largest life sciences building

One North Quay will sit at the heart of a new life sciences hub in Canary Wharf.

One North Quay planning consent secured
Kiasm and Cityscape © copyright / Credit KPF
Planning permission has been granted for One North Quay, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group and Kadans Science Partner, which will create Europe’s largest commercial health and life sciences building. Ramboll was appointed as structural and vibration engineers on the project to design a unique vertical campus which will become a world-leading centre for life sciences and set a new benchmark in the development of life sciences laboratories and workspaces.
Designing the 23-storey, 823,00 sq ft life sciences building in Canary Wharf posed a number of challenges. To be suitable for its life science occupiers, the design has to limit floor vibration caused by footfall within the building, nearby infrastructure (including DLR trains) and lateral wind-induced sway of the building, for example. Further challenges stemmed from the need to build over the exiting dock water and bridge the Grade-I listed Banana Wall that forms the boundary of Canary Wharf’s North Dock.
However, by harnessing Ramboll’s extensive experience designing world-class science buildings, including the Henry Royce Institute and the Maersk Tower, the project team were able to overcome these challenges. Ramboll’s engineers also previously designed the DLR extension adjacent to the site so had a unique understanding of its structural complexities.
Limiting carbon emissions was another key challenge of the design process. In laboratory buildings, the structure of the building itself is, on average, responsible for 50% of the embodied carbon. But through continuous assessment, design refinement and with the use of automated tools during the design process, the project team was able to prevent 20,000 tonnes of CO2e structural upfront embodied carbon, reducing this between the Feasibility Stage and tender design. That equated to a 50% reduction in embodied carbon within the structure and is the equivalent of 9,000 individuals taking a return flight from London to New York. This reflects the ambitious low-carbon strategy in place across the project.
Through close collaboration with the Canary Wharf Group and Kadans Science Partner, as well as architects KPF, the development has progressed at speed. Planning permission was granted just 18 months after commencing the RIBA Stage 1 design with enabling works now well underway.
Commenting on the project, Ramboll Director Simon Banfield said: “North Quay has the potential to transform the life sciences sector in London and we are proud to have been able to contribute our unique expertise in life sciences construction to the project and apply a systematic approach to cut the embodied carbon of the structure throughout the design stages. The completion of the vertical campus will mark the next step in Canary Wharf’s ongoing development as a destination for life sciences.”

Want to know more?

  • Keith Jones

    Director, Buildings

    +44 7767 167905

  • Simon Banfield

    Director, Buildings

    +44 7929 055553

  • Lynden Spencer-Allen

    Director, Buildings

    +44 7436 542678

    Lynden Spencer-Allen

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