Breezefree Creates Special Retractable Roof for Novotel Canary Wharf

Breezefree Creates Special Retractable Roof for Novotel Canary Wharf

Part of the Accor Group, this prestigious new 319 room hotel is known for its innovative design touches, thanks to Koncept Design and Mystery. The design incorporates Victoriana, vintage packing crates and naval engineering, alluding to the district’s shipping heritage. The fixtures and fittings cross time zones with neon-lit stairs and multi textured walls, including the work of renowned abstract artist Sam Peacock. Environmental touches include low energy filament lighting and even a beehive on the roof producing the hotel’s honey.

The roof terrace, which complements the hotel’s restaurant and bar on the top three floors provides 360o views of London to rival the Shard. So, the roof had to be aesthetically ‘on point’ to meet the hotel’s huge design credentials, and operationally perfect so that the terrace can be maximised throughout the year.

One of the principle challenges facing Breezefree was that when the building was originally planned, the 39th floor roof terrace had not been fully conceived.  The concrete roof slabbing was not designed to take a 32-square metre open-sided pergola structure with 92 Kilo Newton wind loads.

As a solution, the team at Breezefree proposed a 12-tonne steel lattice frame, spanning over the slabbing and fixed into the building’s perimeter columns. From the lattice, the whole pergola structure of the aluminium retractable roof stands free.

“When you have a roof structure at this height in an urban setting, it faces considerably higher wind loadings that would be experienced at ground level” says Simon Cotton, founder of Breezefree, “So our design successfully channels these loadings down the building’s main columns and importantly, no other point of the roof slabbing is taking any pressure”.

The lattice is comprised of 36 individual pieces of steel, each of which Breezefree designed, engineered, fabricated and installed. Beyond this engineering feat there were considerable logistical challenges to overcome. The complex steel lattice had to be designed, approved and fabricated in less than three months, so that its parts could be lifted to the roof for storage before the site’s hoist was dismantled to allow completion of the hotel’s rooms below. The completely bespoke pergola also needed to be built while the rest of the hotel’s construction programme was under way and could not delay any of these wider building works. Clear coordination with other stakeholders ensured minimal disruption whilst the steels were uploaded to the roof terrace.  The field teams then returned to the site several times, again fitting in around the building works, to erect the framework and install the louvred roof.

 

Breezefree Creates Special Retractable Roof for Novotel Canary Wharf