EXCHANGE TOWER, 1 HARBOUR EXCHANGE SQUARE, E14
Designed by architect Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners and completed in 1989, Exchange Tower remained the tallest building in the Docklands excluding Canary Wharf for over 15 years until Discovery Dock surpassed it in 2005. Home of the Financial Ombudsman, one of the building’s most interesting features is the entrance consisting of a single half arch, which appears complete when reflected in the glass.
Although Harbour Exchange Tower may not look it, it was constructed as two distinct buildings splitting it down the middle, complete with two individual entrances, albeit sharing a common foundation. The scale of the basement concrete slab was such that at its peak 330 lorries carrying concrete were arriving every day to help fill it. 13,000 m3 of concrete were used with each pour amounting to 1,200 m3.
In the summer of 1988 the Sun newspaper ran a story about a skills shortage in the construction industry and based the story on bricklayers being paid an unheard of sum of £100.00 per day to work on Exchange Tower. As it happened, there were no bricklayers working on the project at all!
Upon completion there was already some concern that the Docklands Light Railway would have the capacity to serve the development, let alone other projects in the immediate area. This was only solved with the construction of the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf almost a decade later.