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One Canada Square, London, England

December 21st, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

One Canada Square, a skyscraper in London, England is the tallest habitable building in the United Kingdom, at 235 metres (771 ft) and 50 stories (reduced from original plans for 60). Designed by the Argentine architect César Pelli, construction was completed in 1991. Identifiable from a great distance as an obelisk-shaped tower with a flashing light on top, this building is a monument to 1980s-style capitalism. In 1990, during construction, it surpassed the United Kingdom's previous tallest building, Tower 42 (183 m; 600 ft).

The building now has two siblings that have sprung up alongside, which are not quite as tall (at 200 metres each; the pyramid provides the height advantage): HSBC Tower (8-16 Canada Square) and Citigroup Centre (25 Canada Square).

The building is remarkably similar in design to Three World Financial Center, a sister tower constructed in New York by the same developers and architects shortly before work started at Canary Wharf. The New York building is faced with stone while One Canada Square is faced with stainless steel panels.

Despite its status as the United Kingdom's tallest building, there is no public observation floor; the view from the upper windows is the sole preserve of the building's tenants. However, mirroring New York's World Financial Center, the ground floor, foyer area and basement levels of One Canada Square are open to the general public, housing an underground shopping mall and a transport interchange from Canary Wharf tube and Docklands Light Railway stations.

The square to the east of the tower was named after Canada because it was built by the Canadian firm Olympia and York, which was owned by the Reichmann family. The company went bankrupt in the face of a property crash which caused the upper half of the tower to stand empty for some time following its completion.

The building is commonly known as the Canary Wharf Tower after the Canary Wharf business complex of which it is the most prominent feature. It is a conspicuous London landmark, clearly visible at a distance from large areas of South London in particular. It can even be seen from sections of the A2 a full 25 miles from its location.

In November 1992, the Provisional IRA attempted to place a large bomb next to the tower. However, this was spotted by security staff and did not detonate; the tower itself was not damaged. Four years later the IRA did detonate a large bomb at South Quay, south of Canary Wharf, which killed two people and devastated several buildings. This explosion is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the "Canary Wharf bomb".

[Source: Wikipedia]

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