As a major landmark that has been associated with the UK’s capital for hundreds of years, The Tower of London, and its surrounding architecture, has long been celebrated for its pioneering look and feel. With billions of pounds invested in the capital throughout 2016, the development of One Tower Bridge, a brand new luxury development including 400 apartments and 80,000 sq. ft of retail, leisure and cultural space, stood out from the crowd.
Through the integration of pioneering materials, the build was designed to strike a balance between contemporary design and historic style. The product behind the concept was Wienerberger’s Smeed Dean London Stock brick – chosen for the project to complement the architectural character of traditional brickwork that has been used throughout the capital, including on prestigious London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London for close to two centuries. The brick is composed of a truly unique combination of materials; local chalk, brick earth, town ash and clinker preserved from the fire grates of Victorian London – giving it its celebrated look and finish.
With the expertise of some of the industry’s leading innovators, including Jon Cornish, Director of Taylor Maxwell, one of the UK’s leading facade solution providers; David Ottway of Smeed Dean; Rhonda Burr of Wienerberger and Damian Bates, a Senior Project Manager at Berkeley Group undertook material selection to ensure the project and the selected products were of the highest quality. The process included a visit to Wienerberger’s Smeed Dean Factory in Sittingbourne – the sole remaining brick factory specialising in the production of traditional London yellow stock bricks, where the original formula and method of manufacturing has remained unchanged for 200 years.
To ensure maximum quality was upheld on this large-scale project, Jon, David and Rhonda undertook a number of measures to confirm the size and shape uniformity of every brick. To meet these needs, half a million facing bricks supplied to One Tower Bridge were delivered strictly using the same batch, each fired in the same part of the kiln at the historic factory. Jon explained: “This is not usually a common practice and required a great deal of communication between Berkeley, Taylor Maxwell and Wienerberger. However, this indicates just how committed all parties were to making the scheme a success and how much effort has gone into the façade of the development, which has been reflected in the quality of the finish.”
Following a recommendation from brickwork contractors Harlequin Brickwork, decorative detailing in the form of hand set basket-weave brickwork, has also been added to the bricks of the first and top floors for a more contemporary edge. Billy Sutcliffe, Managing Director of Harlequin Brickwork, commented: “The consistency of the joints on the basket weave is very important. The brickwork has been executed to a very high standard on this project, the basket weave detailing and 5mm recessed pointing just enhances it all”.
Now completed, the apartments at the development are now in the process of being sold, with only the final phase of properties now available for purchase. The scheme has been a resounding success, with The Telegraph Property in particular offering praise for the design and views of the build. More information on the project can be found here: https://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/new-homes/london/tower-bridge