8 Canada Square

8 Canada Square
General information
Location Canary Wharf
London, E14
United Kingdom
Construction started 1999
Completed 2002 (2002)
Height 200 m
Technical details
Floor count 45
Design and construction
Architect Foster and Partners

8 Canada Square (also known as the HSBC Tower) is a skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London. The building serves as the global headquarters of the HSBC Group.

The tower was designed by Sir Norman Foster's team of architects. Construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2002. There are 45 floors in the 200-metre-high (656 ft) tower, the joint fourth tallest in the United Kingdom with the nearby Citigroup Centre, and the second tallest in Canary Wharf.


With the movement of HSBC Group's headquarters from Hong Kong to London in 1993, the firm decided that having thousands of employees scattered across the City of London was not an ideal situation. Between 1995 and 1997 a number of proposals were considered, including the redevelopment of the previous Group Head Office at 10 Lower Thames Street, London. However the DS-2 plot at Canary Wharf was chosen for the location and space available.

Having been commissioned by the owners of the Canary Wharf Site to do the outline design prior to gaining site-wide outline planning permission, and because he had designed HSBC's last head office at 1 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, Sir Norman Foster (now Lord Foster of Thames Bank) was appointed as architect.[1] Arup became structural engineers for the project, and Davis Langdon & Everest (now Davis Langdon) quantity surveyors.


Construction began in January 1999, with work beginning on the installation of the 4,900 glass panels commencing in summer 2000. The work was carried out by Canary Wharf Contractors.[2] In May 2000, three workmen were killed in a crane accident.[3]

8 Canada Square.

The topping out ceremony took place on 7 March 2001, with the hoisting in of the final steel girder attended by bankers, journalists and contractors. The first HSBC employees began work in the building on 2 September 2002, with phased occupation completed by 17 February 2003, and the building's official opening, by Sir John Bond, taking place on 2 April 2003.

Surrounding buildings

Standing nearby the HSBC Tower are One Canada Square (popularly known as the Canary Wharf Tower); and the Citigroup Centre, which forms the British head office of the multinational US bank, Citigroup. It is also next door to Bank of America. The tower is not open to the public.

Financial cost

Counting from its official opening in April 2003, it was only four years before difficulties emerged in managing the building and its associated costs. In April 2007, HSBC Tower was sold to Spanish property company Metrovacesa, becoming the first building in Britain to be sold for more than £1bn.[4]

On 5 December 2008, HSBC Holdings re-acquired ownership of the building, declaring that the agreement had resulted in a £250 million ($368 million) profit in the second half of the year. However, on 13 November 2009, HSBC once again sold the building, this time to the National Pension Service ("NPS"), the public pension fund for South Korea, for £772.5 million.

HSBC's income statement on completion declared a gain of approximately £350million resulting from the transaction, which was finalised shortly before the end of the year 2009. In December 2014, Qatar Investment Authority, completed the purchase of this building at an undisclosed price, but the building was expected to fetch more than £1.1 billion (US$1.73 billion).[5] NPS was advised by the estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle and GM Real Estate.[6][7]

Notable features

In line with HSBC's environmental principles energy efficient systems like Telelift document an mail conveying system have been installed from the outset, along with recyclable furniture and equipment.

History Wall

A competition was held to select a feature for the ground floor lobby, unveiled by the then Group Chief Executive Sir Keith Whitson, the HSBC History Wall includes history, achievements and values of the Group from the 18th to 21st centuries. The wall is 6.6 metres (22 ft) tall, with 3,743 images, including documents, photographs, portraits and illustrations of staff, buildings, businesses and events.

The wall was manufactured and installed by Supersine Duramark (SSDM) – a company specialising in commercial graphics and large-format printing in the United Kingdom.

Stephen and Stitt

Main article: HSBC lions

8 Canada Square has a pair of bronze lions guarding the main entrance. These are copies of a pair nicknamed "Stephen" and "Stitt" which have stood outside the Bank's Headquarters at 1 Queen's Road Central in Hong Kong since 1935. The Hong Kong lions are named after yet another pair of lions that guarded the Bank's Shanghai headquarters on The Bund after it opened in 1923.

The original Stephen and Stitt were named for A G Stephen, the then Chief Manager and the driving force behind the Shanghai development, and G H Stitt, the Manager in Shanghai. This was an in-joke: The lions face each other, and one (Stephen) is portrayed as if roaring, the other sitting quietly. Messrs Stephen and Stitt were said to have personalities as diverse.

The lions were cast within sight of the development by the Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry in Limehouse.[8]

Key facts

Area of the HSBC headquarters in Canary Wharf


The nearest tube station is Canary Wharf serving the Jubilee line, which can be reached undercover via Canada Place shopping centre, and Canary Wharf DLR station serving the Docklands Light Railway. A bus service used to run to London City Airport, now replaced by the Docklands Light Railway.

See also


  1. "Projects – HSBC UK Headquarters – London, UK – 1997–2002". Foster + Partners. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. Canary Wharf Contractors website
  3. "Crane crash trio named". BBC News. 22 May 2000. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  4. SkyscraperNews.com (April 2007). "HSBC Tower Sold For Record Price". SkyscraperNews.com. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
  5. Wall Street Journal (15 December 2014). "Qatar Fund Buys HSBC's London Headquarters". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. Financial Times (24 April 2014). "Sale of HSBC tower hints at return to property boom times". The Financial Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  7. Euro Property (25 September 2014). "Middle Eastern investor to buy £1.1bn London skyscraper". Euro Property. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  8. http://www.bronzeage.co.uk Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry in Limehouse.

External links

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Coordinates: 51°30′19″N 0°01′02.6″W / 51.50528°N 0.017389°W / 51.50528; -0.017389

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