Day 299/365 of Steel – The Shard

Opening of the The View from the Shard on 1 February 2013.

The Shard is a 72-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London. Standing 309.6m high, The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the seventh-tallest building in Europe. The Shard’s construction began in March 2009 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors.

The Shard
Fig 1: The Shard
Photo: Bjmullan

Renzo Piano designed The Shard as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. Piano considered the slender, spire-like form of the tower a positive addition to the London skyline, recalling the church steeples featured in historic engravings of the city.

The Shard London Bridge under construction
Fig 2: The Shard London Bridge under construction
Photo: Pearse

The building is designed to maintain its stability under very onerous conditions, with its post-tensioned concrete and composite floors, load-bearing pillars, and tapering shape giving it a sway tolerance of 400 mm.

Five cranes were used to build The Shard, with four of them ‘jumping’ with the tower as it rose. By October 2009, steel beams began appearing on site, with concrete being poured at the northern part of the site. By March 2010, the concrete core was rising steadily at about 3 m a day.

The London skyline viewed from the Horniman Museum in July 2013
Fig 3:The London skyline viewed from the Horniman Museum in July 2013
Photo: Cmglee

By mid-November 2010, the core had reached the 68th floor, with the tower’s steel reaching the 40th floor and glass cladding enveloping a third of the building. By September 2011, the tower’s steel was approaching the height of the completed core, reaching almost 244 m. The skyscraper’s upper spire was pre-fabricated and pre-assembled based upon 3D models, and underwent a “test run” in Yorkshire before being lifted onto the building itself.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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