Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London, Office Interior Photos

Staircase at One Bank Street in London

27 Apr 2020

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

Design: tp bennett, Adamson Architects

Location: One Bank office tower, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, east London, England, UK

Staircase at One Bank Street London

‘Ribbon’ staircase links trading floors at Canary Wharf tower

The design of the 730,000 ft2 One Bank office tower at Canary Wharf is unusual in two ways. Developer Canary Wharf Group’s base-build architects, KPF, produced a receding convex main elevation which sits on a cantilevered lower segment. This bold architectural geometry takes an even more dramatic turn – several turns, to be precise – inside the building. Here, tp bennett, Adamson Architects and EeStairs collaborated to produce a remarkable asymmetrical ‘ribbon’ staircase linking three floorplate balconies.

Staircase at One Bank Street London

tp bennett, working for One Bank’s financial sector tenant, designed the overall interior fit-out scheme, having carried out a due diligence appraisal of the building’s suitability for 3000 financial sector staff. Andrew McLean, a tp bennett director, explained that the key moves, developed at an early design stage with KPF, were to slightly rotate the core and then design the fit-out to generate a dynamic and creative workplace atmosphere.

Staircase at One Bank Street London

The three large trading floors were designed to encourage staff interactions. The generally open-plan floorplates feature breakout areas designed to create alternative working and relaxation spaces. tp bennett used its own financial space design tools to maximise this flexible working environment, in collaboration with management and staff representatives.

Staircase at One Bank Street London

As a result, the interiors include a central hub, touchdown desks, informal meeting areas, and presentation areas. And tp bennett’s greening of the interiors with 9000 plants has contributed to One Bank’s BREEAM Outstanding environmental rating.

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

A key factor in the building’s creative and social atmosphere is the bravura feature staircase in the four-storey atrium. The staircase is asymmetrical in both plan and section, and rises between the slanting glass main façade and the radiused balcony-edges to link the trading floors.

Staircase at One Bank Street London

tp bennett produced the initial design concepts for the staircase. “We originally worked up the design as a spiral,” explained Andrew McLean. “But we have a designer who’s very interested in the geometry of stairs and he produced a more interesting ‘ribbon’ design.” The refinement of that SketchUp concept was carried out by Adamson Architects who developed the detailed design in close collaboration with EeStairs’ Eastbourne team, led by director Steve Bray and project manager-design engineer Paul Barton. tp bennett were involved in some of the staircase design workshops.

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

“I wanted to create a staircase that had a pure form,” said Simon Groves, a senior associate at Adamson. “Simplifying the ribbons of the inner and outer balustrade enclosures, and raising them to 1900mm, with no unnecessary undulation at the landings between the stair flights was key. This meant there were no stop-start points in the balustrades, just a pure form.”

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

And the gaps between the outer balustrades and the floorplates were minimised so that bridging was virtually non-existent – “which means that at levels six and seven, the ribbon is extremely close to the floorplate spandrels.” Engineers Arup examined and approved the structural integrity of the staircase in relation to the floorplates.

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

“To get these stairs to work took an awful lot of modelling,” said Andrew McLean. “We’ve worked with EeStairs before, and the tolerances they were working to were just exceptional.” And Simon Groves added: “Once we’d resolved with EeStairs how to support the installation of the stairs, from the top down, they flew with it. They just got on with it at their factory.”

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

One important move, proposed by EeStairs, was to fabricate the staircase as a monocoque steel structure with a cast GRG soffit, and higher than usual balustrade heights to conceal the rest-landings. This means the staircase is effectively a self-supporting structure – a remarkable outcome, given that the its ‘ribbon’ form begins with a relatively tight rotation at its base, followed by three progressively wider rotations as the stairs rise.

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

Steve Bray, of EeStairs, explained that the stair’s structural performance was ensured by the box-section steel balustrades, locked together by the folded steel treads and risers.

But he emphasised that the installation of the staircase was as complicated as its design. The staircase, which weighs 29 tonnes, was fabricated by EeStairs in three complete sections, which they then cut very precisely into sub-sections small enough to be transported and tower-craned into the building via the terrace on level five.

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

This meant the staircase could be reassembled and fitted by EeStairs installation team without compromising loading and weight restrictions for the floor slabs. “The installation was a really serious piece of design in itself,” Bray added. “We solved it by installing the stair sections, starting from the top balcony, which required a tandem lift with two spider cranes, and several 12m props tied to the building’s primary structure.”

Asymmetrical Ribbon Staircase at One Bank Street London

EeStairs Staircase at One Bank Street London – Building Information

Project title: Asymmetrical ribbon staircase installed at London’s One Bank Street
Client: One Bank Street
Architect: tp bennett / Adamson Architects
Site area: 730,000 ft square
Location: London
Status: Complete

TP Bennett

EeStairs Staircase at One Bank Street London in London, England images / information received 270420

Location: One Bank Street, Canarf Wharf, London E14 4JD, England, UK

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