Innovative FacadeXS solution for sustainable residential tower: Canaletto

  • The top of Canaletto Tower

Designed by Dutch architectural firm UNStudio and constructed by Ardmore Ltd, the Canaletto residential tower is situated on City Road in the Islington district of London.

This 31-storey high-end tower stands tall with its approximate height of 96 meters (314 feet) and is one of the significant developments in London’s skyline of the past years. Canaletto is marked by its uniquely shaped curved aluminum and glass facade. Additionally, the tower is designed to provide several sustainable benefits. Its shape and modeling creates opportunities for shading, balancing good internal daylight and views with reduced heat gains.

A significant landmark like Canaletto, nominated for the Award of Excellence of Best Tall Building Europe, deserves to be at its best at all times. Therefore the developer of the project, Groveworld, contacted and contracted XSPlatforms for the design, installation and handling of an innovative rooftop Building Maintenance Unit (BMU).

Maximum reach, minimum impact

The architectural value of a building is getting more and more important as more buildings reach for the sky in large development projects. Effective facade maintenance systems are no longer judged solely on how facades are reached, but also on how the system is kept or parked when not in use. One of the demands of the owner of Canaletto was to have a single BMU solution, which uses minimal amounts of roof space and that could be hidden out of sight when not in use. Since the BMU would be located right in the middle of a publicly accessible penthouse roof garden, this formed somewhat of a challenge.

The XSPlatforms engineering department took this challenge and they delivered. Designing a custom BMU solution consisting of a fixed, telescopic roof car that is installed near the center of the roof. The column of the roof car can extend in a vertical way, and the jib of the machine extends horizontally, ensuring that all of the facade can be reached. When all of the parts are retracted invisible parking is possible.

When activated for use, the vertical column of the BMU starts to top out with a vertical stroke of approx. 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) before the telescopic jib section is lowered to a horizontal position. Once vertically deployed and ready to extract, the telescopic jibs can be extended to a maximum outreach of up to 22 meters (72 feet). Combined with its 360 degree slewing function it is possible to reach all facade elements in each direction from a single center point on the roof.

Combined with a strong Glass Replacement Unit (GRU), with a maximum load of 750 kg (1653 lbs), this BMU design is the perfect fit for Canaletto.

Building Maintenance Unit for the Canaletto Tower

Adjustable cradle

When the BMU for Canaletto was installed, construction of the building was still in full swing. For this reason we delivered an extra gondola with the unit so that the roof car could assist in lifting materials during construction. When construction was completed and the roof cars main focus was to assist in maintaining the tower, the “construction gondola” was switched with the specially designed cradle for the BMU.

Because of the curved shapes of the facade the gondola that is used needs to be a perfect fit. The challenge for our engineering department was to create a cradle that could fit with each different areas. Therefore, this gondola is designed to be manually adjusted in width before being lowered along the facade. This way the operator of the BMU can choose the best configuration of the cradle before heading down to work.

Download our reference brochure

Interested in what more we can do or what other projects XSPlatforms designed facade access equipment for in Europe? Download our free reference brochure and see on what landmarks you can find our FacadeXS solutions.