Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 20 Fenchurch Technical Tour
Conference Technical Tour
June 13, 2013
Alan Cronin, Hilson Moran
View from the top of the Walkie Talkie building.

LONDON - Set to complete in 2014, 20 Fenchurch Street is already a feature of the London skyline. The 38-story, 177-meter tower has been nicknamed “The Walkie Talkie” because of its distinctive shape and stood proudly in front of the tour group as it arrived at the marketing suite directly opposite the site to begin the technical tour.

The tour started amidst the models in the marketing suite, where Kiran Pawar of Land Securities and Andrew Heath-Richardson of Canary Wharf Group described how the two companies had joined forces to develop 20 Fenchurch Street. The 16 tour members were then talked through the architectural aspects of the project by Marcos Blanes of Rafael Viñoly Architects and Andrew Ashfield of Hilson Moran, the Engineering and Sustainability consultant, who presented the overall services strategy for the building.

The group donned its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and transferred to the Project Meeting Room on-site, where a presentation on the project began. What became most evident, was how important 4D BIM technology had been to the Project Team, which had used it at concept through to detail design, and now into construction, showing how using technology enabled lettable space to be maximzed, and the building designed to a density of occupation of one person per eight square meters throughout. 

Level 32, south facade

This has resulted in tenants being able to occupy 20 percent less space, while accommodating the same number of people. BIM and 3D Revit modelling had enabled the design team to optimize the space to incorporate all of the services into the most efficient area possible, without compromising on performance. It was clear that the digital technology had not only influenced design but also construction even to the point of planning road closures and site logistics with the City of London authorities. This collaborative approach has been key to the success of the project.

The delegates then went on-site to the basements, where the benefits of integrated design approach were clear to see, as large areas of plant sat neatly in place with services distribution seemingly planned to the millimeter. The group then passed the eventual location of the 300 kilowatt fuel cell.

View of Tower 42, the under-construction Leadenhall Building and the Gherkin.
The tour continued onto level 11 to observe one of the typical, smaller office floors. Uninterrupted views across the river Thames opened up upon leaving the goods lift.

Although the roof structure, an extension of the the fins that hug the curves of the tower, are still being put in place, it didn’t take much imagination to see why the strap line on the site hoarding of the building ‘with more on top’ was adopted.

The location of 20 Fenchurch Street on the southern edge of the cluster of towers in the City of London provides 360-degree views over the City of London with the Gherkin, the under-construction Cheesegrater and Heron Tower in close proximity. Over the Thames, the Shard stood proud on South Bank. The Walkie-Talkie’s sky garden will also include a restaurant and provide three levels of public space.

The group then returned to level 32, and headed back via the goods lift, through the main lobby and back to the marketing suite.
Delegates got to explore the still under construction 32nd floor
The tour allowed delegates from the CTBUH Conference to closely examine a building they had already heard so much about during the event, with presentations on nearly every aspect of the project, from joint venture developers Land Securities & Canary Wharf Group, Canary Wharf Contractors, Rafael Viñoly Architects and engineer Hilson Moran.

A simple hand poll on the completion of the tour suggested that, in-line with the discussions at the CTBUH conference of the last two days, that 20 Fenchurch Street is already on its way to qualification as an iconic building in the City of London.
Facts and figures:
Commencement date First Qtr – 2011
Project Completion Date First Qtr – 2014
Total office 31 floors

Total floors of basement 2
7 Double Deck Low Rise Lifts  @ 4.0m/s
7 Double Deck High Rise Lifts @ 6.0m/s
2 Goods lifts at 3000kg
2 Fire-fighters lifts
2 Lorry Lifts at 20,000kg
Along with bicycle and passenger lifts within the Annex building
Total concrete 28,000m³
Total concrete used for core – 12,823m³
Total concrete used for raft -8000m ³
Structural Steel 8000 tonnes
Total reinforcement steel 5000 tonnes
 Metal Decking 69,000m²
Glass 32,727m²
Height of building 160m
NLA – 684,458 square feet
GIA – 1,112,356 square feet
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