Last Updated on January 8, 2022 by CanaryDevelopmentAdmin
55-storeys — Isle of Dogs
Wardian London is a Ballymore and EcoWorld London joint project.
Taking a modernist style, it is a striking development of two of the tallest residential towers ever built in London, standing at 55-storeys (187m) and 50-storeys (158m), respectively.
The two towers, east and west, are linked by an expansive two-storey podium. This serves as the entranceway and focus point for the development, with the double-height lobby containing large quantities of plants and ferns.
There are 766 apartments in total, the majority comprising of: studios, one-bedrooms, and two bedrooms. At the top of each tower, there are also two bedroom, double-height penthouses.
Wardian’s interesting beginning
The development area itself has a bit of a chequered history. Ballymore had owned the docksite plot for over 25 years before this residential construction. Initially they planned to build some 525,000ft of offices on the plot, taking advantage of the proximity to the Canary Wharf estate.
Ballymore got as far as constructing the basement levels for this office plot before a lack of interest from commercial tenants derailed the plan.
About the same time as the commercial development was stalling, the Canary Wharf group were expressing a desire to move towards residential development for a new part of the estate — now known as Wood Wharf. Ballymore had had great success in ultra-luxury property development on the peninsula, with their 2009 development Pan Peninsula.
This change in approach led to development of Arrowhead Quay, and the residential twin tower block that we see today, designed by architects Glen Howells. In 2015, two major developments occurred:
- Ballymore rebranded Arrowhead Quay as Wardian London
- EcoWorld took a 2.8 billion euro stake in 3 of Ballymore’s London developments, including Wardian
EcoWorld are a Malaysian global property group, who have the majority of their overseas developments in London and Australia.
Despite being a 75% stakeholder in the newly formed Ballymore EcoWorld Holding company LTD, Ballymore maintain management of the developments. For the consumer, this is effectively a Ballymore development.
The buildings topped out in August 2019. Residents began moving into units in the east tower in mid-2020, with completion for all of the units in the east tower in 2021. Completion of the gymnasium and outdoor swimming pool was also completed in 2021.
The second tower is structurally complete, with many units occupied, but interior work is expected to continue until mid-2022.
Area and transport
Wardian London is located centrally in the Isle of Dogs, on the edge of the Canary Wharf estate.
Wardian London, Wards Place, London E14 9TP
With South Quay footbridge around 150m away, it is about as close to living on the private Canary Wharf estate as you can get without living in the new Wood Wharf development.
For this reason, transport links are excellent, and Canary Wharf tube station is a 5 minute walk. The Crossrail station is not much further, at around a 10 minute walk, and there are two choices for the DLR either South Quay or Canary Wharf DLR stations.
The development is relatively car friendly, being located on Marsh Wall, the main road that runs east west across the peninsula. There is a pick up and drop off area infront, and underground parking beneath the development.
The real bonus of this development is the botanical theme, and the amenities are no exception. Ballymore have embraced a trend towards biophilic architecture, and welcomed nature throughout this development.
- Garden lobby area
- 25 meter swimming pool
- Retail units and waterfront cafe to be implemented
- Rooftop observatory and bar
All of these stick to the botanical theme, with two of the most interesting being the rooftop observatory and bar, and the swimming pool — arguably the closest thing to swimming in Canary Wharf docks!
The indoor outdoor pool stretches from inside the podium area on the ground floor into an open air conservatory type area, designed by high-end spa design consultancy Buckingham Pools.
In some modern developments, fitness and spa facilities can often feel like an afterthought — tucked away in a basement with minimal natural light. At Wardian London the pool and spa area feels ultra-premium, and would not be out of place at a luxury hotel.
The rooftop observatory is set in the taller east tower, and offers great skyline views across Canary Wharf.
While ‘vibrant rooftop observatory’ is probably stretching it — with London having the highest light pollution levels of anywhere in the country — this novel amenities space looks like a great place to relax and take in the views.
Having a gin garden theme, the observatory’s double height area is used to enable the landscaping team to bring in larger indoor plants, similar to the downstairs atrium.
Fantastic balconies and garden theme
With the heart of this development revolving around nature and outside space, its only fair that residents get their own area. To this benefit the design of Wardian is fantastic. Unlike nearby ultra-tall developments, Landmark Pinnacle and South Quay Plaza, balconies are not limited here!
An integral part of the building, the cantilevered balconies extend 6 feet around the entirety of the building.
Not only does every single flat get a balcony, even the smallest flats have spacious balconies.
As an example, even the smaller studio flats — at circa 400 square foot — have over 100 square foot balconies. Some of the two bedroom flats balconies stretch to over 400 square foot, or roughly 40% of the size of the apartments themselves. With expensive sliding doors and large curtain window walls, these balconies really do provide a usable outdoor space — something high-rise developments are often lacking.
Ballymore have also partnered with landscaping company, Camlins Landscaping. The specialist company have created a package marketed as Sky Gardens, using their knowledge to transform the high-rise space into something more suited to a forest floor! Owners taking up the package have the reinforced balconies modified to hold soil and gravel, with the expert supervision and suitable planting from the landscaping company creating real gardens.
Its a really unique feature to this development, and I think will provide a welcome respite from, at times, the grey monotony of city living.
Exceptional build quality
No stranger to ultra luxury developments, Ballymore started the trend at their first development in the area Pan Peninsula. At Wardian London there is more of the same, with some really nice details, like marble chevron flooring in the bathrooms.
The building facia is clad in solid dark aluminium panels, that provide excellent insulation but also add to the no-expense spared feel. Wardian has a minimalist style, slender rectangular towers with striking white edged balconies that contrast the dark aluminium cladding.
While arguably less interesting than developments like Maine Tower — and its more colourful Art-Deco style theme — the minimalist and high class finish here should age well.
Sticking with the Wardian case theme, glass and bronze is used liberally throughout this development, tying the apartments and the communal areas together.
While the design theme based on the Wardian case, has been implemented throughout, its a little dissapointing to see that some of the nicest features are not included as standard. This is not a con with the building per se, but more of a questionable move on the developers behalf.
To have individual outdoor gardens maintained by a landscaping firm will obviously require an ongoing additional contract, but it seems strange to market features of this ultra-premium development without offering them as standard.
Wardian London looks like the one of the most interesting developments in Canary Wharf in years. Architects Glenn Howells have followed the botanical garden theme throughout, even down to little details like the beautiful glass shelving units in the kitchen. But instead of offering this as a standard fit, is it branded as a kitchen pack, and charged at an additional several thousand pounds.
Even the balcony gardens, a seemingly integral feature of the development, come with the caveat that installation is a significant additional extra.
In a less premium building, upselling features is often expected, some flats in Wardian London break the £1600 per square foot mark — a high watermark for the Canary Wharf area.
The building is right at the prime end of the E14’s property market, and directly competing with the Canary Wharf Groups own ultra luxury offerings, like One Park Drive.
To advise prospective buyers that to have the balcony fitted to the standard displayed throughout all of the marketing is an additional cost — circa £20,000 for a two bedroom apartment — seems like a bit of an odd move on behalf of Ballymore.
Location brings some difficulties
The architects words are unlikely to be seen on a brochure, but they may have a point about the plot for Wardian London. On one hand the location is great, it is both at the waterfront, and perfectly placed for access to the financial district of Canary Wharf.
However, the elevated Docklands Light Railway line snakes right next to the eastern edge of the plot:
- Ambitious plans for creating a new footbridge and covered walkway underneath the DLR tracks known as The Underline, might make the proximity of the rail tracks a feature one day.
- However, the tracks also create a significant noise nuisance, requiring carefully mitigation from the architects in the building design.
- The elevated podium raises flats higher, and the lowest levels apartments on the eastern side of the east tower have fully glazed in wintergardens instead of balconies to reduce noise.
In addition to the DLR proximity, there is currently contentious plans to redevelop Quay House — a plot to the immediate east of Wardian London. While construction is yet to begin, plans have been approved for this new skyscraper, despite acknowledgment from Tower Hamlets council that it will reduce light to over 200 apartments in Wardian London.
Neither of these issues completely overshadow the development, and the towering buildings of The Wardian will provide great views across Canary Wharf from many other aspects, but they do limit the appeal of some apartments.
This development is a breath of fresh air, and a welcome shift in focus for the area. Architecturally strong, and putting a real focus on greenery for its residents, Wardian London captures an overall trend towards a desire for bringing nature back into our cities.
While it doesn’t go as far as some biophilic developments such as the globally famous Bosco Verticale, Ballymore have put a real focus on this design theme throughout, rather than approaching it in a token manner.
Having procured the 100+ species of plants early on in the construction process, some plants grew in their glass Wardian cases alongside the development for over two years.
There were initial difficulties with the plot, and prospective buyers will have to be careful to choose flats height, and aspect, wisely in this development. However, by coupling the botanical theme with the notably high quality of the build and the close proximity to the financial centre, this will undoubtably be a very successful development.