Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Providence Tower is not just a new landmark at the heart of the world’s hottest property market, it is also a towering advert for the team that built it.
Building on the Thames, a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf - it’s hard to think of
a higher profile location, especially when it includes a 44-storey tower that can be
glimpsed from vast swathes of the capital.
New Providence Wharf is a mixed-use project by developers Ballymore and architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on an 8.2 acre riverside site. It stretches 400m back from the water and includes a 180-room Radisson Hotel and 1,050 residential units spread over several buildings including the 136-metre high new Providence Tower and the Ontario Tower, two of the tallest residential blocks in the UK.
The 12-storey Providence Tower building offers affordable housing in the form of rented social accommodation and shared ownership apartments as well as a handful of privately owned flats.
Neil Parratt, design lead for chief contractors Balfour Beatty at Providence Tower explained its importance for the partners behind it: “Everyone knows what is going on in residential property in London at the moment: it is the market to be in, and this is a very high profile project.
“So, we put a lot of effort into choosing products because we know that success here will help us to get to where we want to be in terms of securing other big projects in the future.”
On such a prominent and prestigious site the appearance of the buildings is a priority.
“It was important to consider how Providence Tower would blend with neighbouring buildings and the surrounding area.” said Neil Parratt.
“So the Providence Tower design team included Billings Associates, a design consultancy which specialises in facades, as well as Lindner, the subcontractors
installing the facades.”
In the end, the design team decided to follow Lindner’s recommendation and chose Taylor Maxwell to supply terracotta rainscreen panels to clad the Providence Tower building.
According to Lindner project manager Steve Nacson the light ivory-coloured terracotta rainscreen facade now looks “absolutely stunning” to the tens of
thousands of travellers who pass very close by every day on the Docklands Light Railway.
And he was also impressed with the product’s userfriendliness: “The support structure is much simpler system than conventional facades - you just put brackets into the wall then a vertical rail, rivets and clips in and the panels
hang on those clips. The installers liked working with it because it’s much more simple for them.”
And as he went on to explain, the terracotta rainscreen system also helped to keep costs down: “Normally you’d have both horizontal and vertical rails which would mean double the material cost and double the installation time. So you’re seriously reducing the amount of cost on the metal work to support the cladding and it’s a lot quicker.”
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The installation did present some challenges because Providence Tower is a curved building with plenty of windows and rails to design around. But Steve Nacson reported that the service he received from Taylor Maxwell meant that these complications were readily overcome: “Taylor Maxwell always co-ordinated the technical support that we needed and were very helpful.
“Taylor Maxwell’s regional manager Paul Mears was our one point of contact for everything from samples to structural calculations, quality certifications and scheduling as well as the technical advice. He was very knowledgeable, very efficient and very frank with us in terms of what could and could not be done.”
Neil Parratt was also impressed with the service from Taylor Maxwell: “The product quality, delivery speeds and advice on technical aspects of the panels such as durability and wind pressure testing definitely all met expectations - everything was to a high standard.”
And Steve Nacson is happy to recommend both terracotta rainscreen as a product, and Taylor Maxwell as a supplier.
“It’s the Taylor Maxwell system which is straightforward in comparison to alternatives. Terracotta is simply a substrate material and actually more complicated than standard metal panels. I’ve installed plenty of rainscreen cladding over the years but this as a system was simply very impressive - it did exactly what it said on the tin.
“I look forward to using it again. As a project manager, to have such a comprehensive package from a supplier, is exactly what I want.”
"As a project manager, to have such a comprehensive package available from one supplier is exactly what I want.”
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