Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by CanaryDevelopmentAdmin

stone cladding showing east and west view from horizons tower

Horizons by Telford Homes


26-storeys

Isle of Dogs, E14

Horizon Tower is a two building development a short walk away from Canary Wharf. The development consists of two mid-rise towers, rising to 26 and 7 stories.

Designed by RMA architects, the Telford homes development is located to the immediate east of the Canary Wharf estate. The main tower — Horizons — incorporates 131 homes, made up of one, two and three-bedroom flats alongside duplexes.

Featuring expansive balconies and wide-reaching views, the well-liked development had huge initial success. Ninety-five percent of apartments sold off-plan before the completion of the building.

Interior fit-out finished in 2016, with the launch of the final six duplex, two-bedroom penthouse units. Horizon Tower promises affordable and spacious, modern apartments in E14.

So, what’s the catch? Here we take a resident’s look into the pros and cons of living in Horizons.

Horizon Tower — Quick look

Developer: Telford Homes

Architect: RMA Architects

Height: 26-storeys / 81 m

Apartments: 131 open market, 59 affordable

Bedrooms: 78 × 1 bed; 58 × 2 bed; 50 × 3 bed; 2 × 4 bed; 2 × 5 beds

Site size: 0.27 hectares

Location: 0.4 km east from Canary Wharf

Overview

The main Horizon Tower — sometimes known as Horizons — consists of a 26-storey apartment block designed in a minimalist style. The development also came with a generous 35% of affordable homes, constructed in a low-rise 7-storey building adjacent to the main tower.

Concrete clad, the square tower aims to maximise the views within its simplistic design style. Floor to ceiling windows provide exceptionally light apartments, with integrally designed expansive balconies to every single apartment.

Canary Wharf has some of the highest density, and tallest housing in the UK. Areas of South Quay in particular have so many 50+ storey apartment buildings, that even the highest floors can be overlooked. While comparatively short for the Canary Wharf area, Horizon’s location is on the eastern edge of the peninsula. Set within an area of low-rise buildings, the tower commands great views from all aspects.

A design challenge to maximise the spectacular panorama from this site located close to the bend in the river

Horizons — RMA Architects
horizon tower yabsley street viewed from blackwall dock
Horizon’s Tower stands tall above its low-rise neighbours

Referred to by the architects as a hierarchical design, Horizon’s prioritises the most dramatic views — east and west towards the 02 Arena and Canary Wharf. The designers have achieved this subtle hierarchy by encasing the balconies on these two aspects in a lighter, stone-like cladding.

Planning was submitted in 2012, with the final apartments fully completed in early 2016. The small 0.27 hectare site was previously derelict, with approved planning permission for two buildings of 6 and 17 storeys since October 2008.

In a real rarity for the Isle of Dogs area, the final planning permission heights for Horizon Tower were scaled up rather than down.

  • After the initial planning permission for 17 storeys in 2008, nearby development of New Providence Wharf and Charrington tower to the northeast were approved, raising the area’s average height.
  • This change in the local landscape meant that when developers Telford Homes returned to Tower Hamlets with updated plans in 2016, they were allowed to be significantly increased in height to reflect the neighbouring developments.
architects render of horizons tower with nearby Charrington Tower and New Providence Wharf
An early architects render of the Horizon development, showing the height of Ballymore’s New Providence Wharf

There are 59 affordable homes, and Horizons is notable for providing a high proportion of larger, family sized affordable-homes. There are sixteen, 3-bedroom apartments, two 4-bedroom homes, and even two 5-bedroom houses — a real rarity for affordable homes near Canary Wharf.


Amenities

Horizon Tower provides a nice balance between older residential developments with minimal amenities, and some of the most luxurious Canary Wharf developments with an array of amenities but an expansive service charge to match!

Residents are greeted with a 24-7 concierge service. There is a small shared resident’s courtyard, with 475 square meters of the tiny plot dedicated to a ground floor children’s outdoor play area. On the first floor there is an expansive gym, open 24-7.

Cyclists are welcomed! Two hundred and forty-four residents’ cycle spaces are located in the basement. Underground parking is available, but restricted to 42 car parking spaces — enough for 22% of the residents. These were sold to as an additional extra and reserved to the largest apartments first.


Location and transport

The nearest DLR Station is Blackwall, located approximately seven minutes walk to the north of the site.

From Blackwall DLR station trains connecting to the Bank in the City of London are every 10 minutes, with a 12-minute journey time.

Canary Wharf Jubilee Station and DLR stations are also within 15 minutes walk. In 2022, the opening of Crossrail will further improve connectivity, also around 15-minutes walk.

Map location of Horizons Tower, 1 Yabsley St, London E14 9RG, UK

Pros and cons of Horizons Tower

A summary of things to consider before buying or renting in Horizons.

The current site in its derelict state presents a gap in the urban fabric, which the new development will look to repair.

RMA Architects — Planning Application

In 2016 when Horizon’s Tower fully completed, access to the main transport hub of Canary Wharf was limited. It was approximately a 20-minute walk to the Jubilee Line station, through a lengthy and under-developed route. However, the construction of Wood Wharf — an entirely new residential estate situated between Horizons and Canary Wharf — has built a bridge between the two areas.

Construction work at Wood Wharf is ongoing, however the development brings new shops — such as Amazon’s futuristic Amazon Fresh — bars, and restaurants. It also brings new green space, a community centre, school, and healthcare centre. As a result, Horizon Tower now finds itself almost on the Canary Wharf private estate, closer to ultra-prime developments like Dollar Bay, and the group’s own Wood Wharf properties.

This neighbouring development area both transforms the local provisions, but also provides a slightly quicker access route through to the upcoming Crossrail station and the current Jubilee line station. It shifts the centre of Canary Wharf eastwards towards Horizons, and will continue to have a regeneration effect on the local area.

To make the most of the panoramic views, the Horizon Tower’s simple design has incorporated outdoor amenities space to every single apartment. These are in the form of ground floor gardens, roof terraces or generous-sized balconies.

horizon tower under construction in 2015 with canary wharf behind
Horizons Tower under construction in 2015

Unlike some neighbouring high-rise buildings — where balconies feel like an afterthought — Horizon’s spacious balconies are an integral part of the design, and span the width of the building’s facade.

They provide significantly more outdoor amenities space than is required by London’s planning guidance, and with glass fronted railing and fixed flooring, are an extension of the apartments. These balconies are a significant improvement on bolt-on style balconies, and provide a real usable outdoor space.

Horizon Tower doesn’t have an expansive list of luxury amenities — there are no spas or sky bars here — but the gym space is a real highlight.

Spanning 134 square meters, the space is located on the upper ground level, providing a light an airy workout space in contrast to the many nearby residents gyms located in basements.

horizon tower gym with technogym eqiupment

As a relatively small development — there are only 131 homes with access to the gym facilities — the gym is generously proportioned and frequently quiet. Well-equipped with modern technogym equipment, the spacious gym has free-weights, yoga, and stretching areas, alongside an array of cardio machines.

While the 0.27 hectare site was derelict before construction began in 2013, the neighbouring Thames side location had been the site of Tower Hamlets council’s Waste Transfer Station & Reuse Recycling Centre for several years.

Since then, the council now operate a small recycling centre, with the waste transfer portion of the site managed by Cory Environmental.

The site is screened from the development by a 2.5 meter wall along the boundary, however due to the compact nature of the site the Horizons Tower is located within touching distance. There are numerous residents complaints about noise and smell from the site.

Cory Environmental waste management barge towed along the Thames
Cory Environmental waste management barges are loaded by Horizons

Interestingly, a 2012 extensive 68-page environmental impact report completed before planning approval did mention the noise from the site. The waste management site has a licence to operate 364 days a year, and between 06:00 and 22:30 on weekdays. Noise reports categorised the lower apartments in Horizon Tower has falling into category C, requiring significant mitigation from noise:

Planning permission should not normally be granted. Where it is considered that permission should be given, for example because there are no alternative quieter sites available, conditions should be imposed to ensure a commensurate level of protection against noise.

Environmental Review — 2012 Planning Application

Initial planning permission had a resident’s roof terrace in addition to the ground floor courtyard space. However, after a subsequent redesign to increase the penthouse flat provision from 4 to 6, this communal roofspace was incorporated into private apartment roof terraces.

Described as a beautifully landscaped courtyard, the remaining shared provision is less than 300 square meters, with the remainder of the ground floor space taken up by a small children’s play area.

Partly the reason for this is the design of the small plot:

  • RMA Architect’s design for two towers meant fitting them both into the 0.27 hectare site, left only a small slice of land against the eastern boundary.
  • Instead of communal space, a large portion of this outside space is divided and used as small residents terraces / gardens.
  • This has a benefit to some ground floor residents — of both Horizons Tower and its 7-storey sister block. With some larger affordable homes having over 50 square meters of outside space.

While dividing the minimal ground space up has enabled some residents to have spacious gardens, it has meant that the communal ground level residents amenities are minimal. With a trend towards pocket parks and biophilic construction in newer neighbouring builds, this development’s lack of greenery stands out. Nearby developments, such as The Madison, also have small footprints, but manage to fit expansive parks.

Summary

Horizon Tower is an interesting prospect. The no-nonsense construction style means that there are no awkward shaped apartments, with light and expansive rooms. Developers Telford Homes went on to repeat the success of the clean lined, expansive balconies design with similarly designed nearby development The Liberty Building, which also sold out before construction had finished.

The location provides impressive views and ensures that despite its 26-storey height — tall but nowhere near the height of nearby super-talls such as Landmark Pinnacle — there is no issue with overshadowing from neighbouring developments.

Equally, the location means that residents on the lower floors are potentially subjected to noise and smell from a recycling plant, up to 364 days of the year at a time. With minimal amenities or landscaping, Horizons doesn’t have the star-factor of some of the more luxurious developments nearby. However, it is also significantly cheaper, promising higher rental yields (circa 6%) and more manageable service charges.

Wood Wharf’s construction, has built a bridge towards Canary Wharf and tied this underdeveloped part of E14 into the fantastic range of shops, bars, and transport links that the financial estate brings. This nearby development — regenerating the area to the east of the Canary Wharf estate, looks set to continue to improve the appeal of Horizons Tower over the coming years.