Helix-London development

Helix London

Helix London

Two elliptical residential towers of different heights sit above a two storey podium in this mixed use development in London's Canary Wharf. One of Europe's largest McDonald's restaurants has been demolished to make way for it.

The concrete frame towers, one 28 storeys high and the other 35 storeys, are linked by spaghetti-like steel bridges. Each floor has a wrap-around balcony with views to the nearby marina. The podium below houses shops and a replacement McDonald's on the ground floor; and a children's playground, screened sports pitch and landscaped public space on the first floor.

A complex transfer system supporting the two towers has been integrated into the podium. Concrete beams and deep reinforced concrete walls have been strategically positioned as part of the external and internal walls of the large new restaurant. This both provides the restaurant with the open space it needs in the kitchen and seating area, and meets the overall structural requirements for the towers.

The architect's original bridge design was quite intricate. We refined the design using repeatable modules that could be rotated in different directions. This was both cost-effective and more easily constructed, while still achieving the architect's vision.

environmental impact assessment - EIA

Ramboll UK coordinated and delivered an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in support of the detailed planning application for this new high-rise development in London's Canary Wharf. The application included the demolition of an existing restaurant and associated facilities in favour of the construction of two elliptical residential towers of different heights, to sit on a two storey podium for mixed used development.

Key environmental aspects considered included potential impacts in relation to daylight/sunlight, solar glare, wind, flood risk, noise, air quality, land quality, waste management, socio-economics, townscape and visual context. Also key was safeguarding aviation operations at nearby London City Airport and minimising the potential for nuisance impacts of the buildings on television and radio signals.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets provided a formal Scoping Opinion based on legislative requirements and the views of additional stakeholders, including Natural England, Thames Water and Transport for London, which served to focus the scope of the EIA. Through the EIA process, the likely significant environmental effects of the proposed development have been studied and the potential impacts and scope for avoiding or reducing them documented in an environmental statement. This was duly submitted as part of the detailed planning application. Planning permission was granted in August 2009 and Ramboll continues to provide environmental consultancy for the project.

transport planning, traffic engineering and traffic safety

Our transport planning team helped inform plans to redevelop the former site of a McDonald’s restaurant on Trafalgar Way in East London, adjacent to a roundabout. The scheme is largely residential and also incorporates a crèche, a children’s play area, landscaped garden space and small retail sites intended for convenience-type stores.

We carried out a socio-economic assessment of the scheme, analysing the likely impact of the development on the surrounding area and, in particular, investigating whether existing social and economic targets would be met.

Our report took into consideration such aspects as job creation, housing provision and associated benefits to non-residents of the scheme: these included the new shops and the contribution of the planned nursery to local pre-school care. Projections of the numbers of children inhabiting the new residences were measured against the availability of sufficient school places, health care, leisure facilities and green space.

In all the areas we investigated, we found that the development is likely to bring the desired social and economic benefits to the neighbourhood as planned.


Ramboll UK coordinated and delivered a waste impact assessment as part of our work on the Environmental Impact Assessment in support of the detailed planning application for this project in London's Docklands. The project involves the demolition of an existing restaurant and associated facilities, and the construction of two residential towers comprising approximately 380 apartments, with additional public, commercial and retail services at ground level.

Early consultation with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) ensured the scope of the waste study was clearly defined and that all required standards were used to provide a robust assessment. We calculated waste arisings for the different waste streams and worked with the architect and transport consultants to design the necessary storage, collection and transfer operations. Ramboll UK also advised on the specification of compactors in order to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste so that storage space was located and sized efficiently.

The resulting waste operation strategy was adopted within the building design to ensure sufficient storage capacity on site and that there would be no significant waste impacts.


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