65-storeys — Isle of Dogs
Consort Place — An overview
Aspen at Canary Wharf is the name given to the tallest of the three towers planned in a sprawling mixed use development known as Consort Place — just south of the Canary Wharf estate.
There will be three key buildings within the £210 million development:
Residential tower named Aspen
Dorsett Hotel with 231 rooms
Residential tower with affordable homes
In addition, there will be a new health centre, primary school and a community centre located on the Consort Place site.
Finally, the centrepiece of the development lying between the towers is the North Pole — a 160+ year old listed pub.
The development is planned by the Far East Consortium — a group with over £1.4 billion in development projects across the UK. The group’s UK operations started with opening of the Dorsett Hotel in Shepherd’s bush in 2014. Since then, they have focused on both residential and hospitality development, primarily in Manchester and London.
Construction and design of Aspen
The principal building at Consort Place — known as Aspen — will stand at 65-storeys and 217 meters. Once complete will be the third tallest residential building in Canary Wharf, behind Landmark Pinnacle and South Quay Plaza.
Aspen tower will house 495 apartments, ranging from studios all the way to three-bedroom flats. Interestingly, it is also linked to a smaller 20-storey building, which will become the newest addition to the Dorsett Groups growing portfolio of UK hotels.
In total the development will provide 634 residential units for the area, with the allocation of affordable housing constructed in the separate 124 meter, 34-storey building to the immediate west.
While a relatively new architectural firm — Pilbrow and Partners were formed in 2014 — they are familiar with large-scale developments and the local area, having conducted several large development masterplans across the UK. Their portfolio also includes extensive work in nearby Greenwich, and on the Market Building in the Wood Wharf development.
Construction timeline for Consort Place
While only launched in January 2020, Aspen and the Consort Place development has been in the pipeline since early 2014.
Previously known as Alpha Square, planning permission has been through several iterations with Tower Hamlets approving the latest site plan in 2016.
As of the end of 2020, construction of the Aspen tower basement is well underway, with the 34-storey affordable residential tower out of the ground. Construction is estimated to take another two and a half years, with estimated completion in mid-2023.
Location and Consort Place site
Spanning three streets — Marsh Wall, Manilla Street and Byng Street — the Consort Place plot is an interesting prospect with significant architectural challenges.
While the location is very close to the Canary Wharf financial estate itself, the plot is an awkward wedge shape, wrapping around the Canary Wharf Novotel with a 160-year-old listed building in the centre. This is because it is an amalgamation of two plots.
In 2014 The Far East Consortium spent £16.7 million on the largest eastern portion of the site and later £6.5 million on the smaller western plot to combine the two and create the space now known as Consort Place.
It also suffers the same problem as the adjacent Novotel, the ground falls away dramatically between the front and the back of the plot. This is an issue that the Novotel overcame by implementing an outside lift and small stairs, alongside an interesting X-shaped concrete support system to provide the stability required for a building of that height.
In contrast to the Novotel design here, with a larger plot the architects of Aspen have chosen to make use of the sloping site, and are planning cafés bars and outside space between the three towers. This will link the space so that you can enter from the north or south on foot without steep steps or stairs — as required to access the Novotel from the south.
Aspens key features
63rd floor terrace
Following in the footsteps of northerly neighbour Wardian, the tallest tower on the development, Aspen, is also offering a panoramic residents sky bar and lounge area.
Located across roughly half of the 63rd floor, this amenities level is set to have three main areas:
- A smaller more intimate room branded “the snug room”
- An expansive double height residents lounge area
- Open-air rooftop viewing terrace, to take advantage of the views across London
With such a high perch, views from this floor should be well clear of the neighbouring residential buildings. This will give the terrace unobstructed views towards the south and some sought after westerly views of the central London skyline.
North Pole public house
While the smaller office buildings that occupied the plot are long gone, one building that was unable to be demolished is the North Pole. The heritage building dates back to the original London docks in 1860!
As one of only a few public houses of its era that remained standing throughout WW2 and the Blitz, it has significant cultural heritage and will form the centrepiece of this development.
The building has been carefully braced and hidden behind hoardings whilst construction work at Consort Place continues around it. It will have a complete interior renovation, sympathetic to its local history, and reopen in 2023.
21st — 22nd floor amenities
Pools with a view are back! Continuing the theme of clustering amenities together to provide a social hub — a large range of amenities form the entirety of the 21st and 22nd floors at Aspen.
A dining room, wine room are planned on the 21st floor — which will link across to the Dorsett hotel. Residents should be able to obtain hospitality functions from the 4-star hotel, and hire the rooms for private functions. Completing the 21st floor is a proposed business suite and screening room.
Aspen will be the second development in the local area — after Greystar’s Sailmakers — with a cinema room with a view.
On one hand, it seems like a waste of precious high-level space, but it does maintain a hub point of amenities and it seems more appealing than visiting the basement — where the majority of the Canary Wharf developments place their respective cinema rooms.
One floor up, the 22nd floor is planned to house a leisure suite. Plans include:
- steam room
- changing rooms
- a vanity pool
Albeit slightly smaller, once complete the 22nd floor vanity pool will slightly top The Collectives 20th-storey pool. If you’re into swimming pool trivia — that will make it East Londons highest pool!
The Consort Place development looks to be an ambitious regeneration of the well-placed but difficult site.
Aspen is an stylish landmark tower — and the curving glass facade at a staggering 217.5 meters — will be an interesting addition to the Canary Wharf skyline.
For residents, it should offer all the top class facilities the ultra-luxury Canary Wharf residential market has come to expect. Here they have been placed thoughtfully throughout the building to take advantage of the views on offer.
There are significant advantages to the local area too. The mixed-use Consort Place development is not only replacing dilapidated office buildings but bringing a new school health centre and much needed affordable homes — alongside returning the North Pole pub!
Aspen is currently at a very early stage in the development process, however the Consort Place masterplan looks like an exciting new addition to the Canary Wharf area.