Challenging high-rise conditions

Wicona has designed a high-performance, unitised facade system incorporating two new door designs for Newfoundland Tower, the tallest residential tower to be built within the Canary Wharf Estate.

Designed to perform well in challenging high-rise conditions, the doors feature ‘unrivalled’ weather performance, reduced sight lines and are aesthetically pleasing without detracting from the overall design intent of the building.

Newfoundland Tower is the first tall building to be designed and built by HCL Architects. Its slim flattened diamond plan responds to the narrow footprint of its tight site and the diagonal alignment of adjacent streets.

The landmark tower, which will provide 636 apartments, is situated directly above the Jubilee Line near Westferry Circus at the end of Middle Dock, one of three historic linear docks. The tower’s distinctive diamond pattern created by the external structure, provides lateral stability and is the most efficient way for a tall building to withstand wind forces.

Billie Lee, director of HCL Architects, said: “The diamond concept of Newfoundland enables the building to be extremely tall and slim and gives it a dynamic and striking appearance enjoyable from up close and far away. The project has been designed to maximise views and sunlight, with an orientation that enables panoramic views of London.”
The unitised facade system was designed by Wicona’s project engineering team in partnership with its client, Schneider GB.

Wicona’s project service, which involves collaborating with architects on a project-by-project basis, meant that it was well placed to design two door designs that integrated within the unitised facade and provide comfort to the users while managing the challenging high-rise conditions of this building.

Michael Spies, key account manager at Wicona, said: “Tall buildings are becoming more and more important for the cities of the future and with these innovative door solutions we have put the comfort (daylight, ventilation and safety) of the building users at the heart of the development.”

The first of these is Wicona’s ‘Pull Slide’ opening mechanism to a sliding double glazed door with integrated Juliette balcony. Unlike a conventional sliding door, when opened, this aluminium framed system pulls the door 8mm internally before it slides quietly and smoothly along its track. The action of turning the door handle releases pressure from the perimeter gaskets integrated around the door opening. When closing the door, the engineered mechanism compresses the door against the gaskets tightly sealing it and providing high wind and water performance.

Thomas Staiger, customer manager at Wicona said: “The first time we presented these door solutions was at Munich’s BAU 2017, where we received a lot of positive feedback and interest from architects. Since then, we have had requests for new building projects where these door systems will be used.”

Wicona also developed an inward opening Juliette balcony door that won’t slam shut in strong winds. Key to this is the new two-stage turn limiter designed by Wicona. This integrated safety feature provides an anti-slam function, which is necessary where doors are installed at height and exposed to potential high pressures.