Shard soars skywards ... 72-storey central core is complete | Mace

Shard soars skywards ... 72-storey central core is complete

  • The Shard London Bridge is now the tallest building in the UK.

The Shard, London’s new landmark mixed-use building, has become the UK’s tallest building as construction of its 72-storey central core completed this week. As a result the current structure is now 244 metres high and has already become an exciting addition to the capital’s skyline. On completion the Shard will have risen to 87 storeys at 310 metres (1,016 ft) and be Europe’s tallest commercial building.

A vertical city in its own right, the Renzo Piano designed Shard will comprise 595,000 square feet of office space, a collection of high quality restaurants and bars occupying three floors at the mid levels, a five star de-luxe Shangri-La hotel and spa, exclusive residences and a high level viewing gallery providing unprecedented 360 degree panoramic views of London.

Today represents a further milestone for this ground breaking development. Since construction commenced in March 2009 the Shard has established a series of “firsts” for a UK building. This includes Renzo Piano’s first UK commission, a pioneering “top-down” construction strategy enabling the substructure and the superstructure to get underway simultaneously, “jump-lifting” the central core, London’s largest ever continuous concrete pour at 5,500 cu metres (delivered and poured over a 36 hour period) and UK’s tallest crane currently at 255 metres high.

Importantly the Shard is spearheading a much wider £2bn regeneration of the area immediately around London Bridge Station. Piling is already underway for the development of London Bridge Place, a substantial 600,000 sq ft gross state-of-the-art 17-storey corporate headquarters building that will provide occupiers with stunning “winter gardens” and a huge roof terrace offering fantastic views of the capital. Together with the Shard the two buildings will provide permanent employment for as many as 12,500 people.


In addition, the masterplan for London Bridge Quarter includes a £22m investment to create a new station concourse that will transform London Bridge into a modern 21st century transport hub and vastly improve the facilities for the estimated 400,000 people who use it every day. Transport facilities will be further enhanced with a new bus station and improved road lay out as well as additional access points to the underground network. And finally the concourse will extend into a public piazza that will link the station to the Shard and London Bridge Place.

Last week’s milestone, when the 69th floor was completed taking the Shard to 236 metres high, compared to One Canada Square’s 235.1 metres, was marked by London’s Mayor Mr Boris Johnson being taken to the very top of the building, accompanied by Mr James Sellar, CEO of Sellar Group which is developing the scheme on behalf of LBQ Ltd. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "If you want a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession, the Shard is it, rising confidently up to the heavens. Once complete, this huge engineering feat will be the tallest building in Europe, and is destined to become as iconic a landmark on London's cherished skyline as the Gherkin, St Paul's or Big Ben."

A Sellar Group representative commented: “We are delighted to have reached this latest milestone in the Shard’s development. The Shard has already become the capital’s most talked about building as it rises daily over the London skyline. We believe Londoners and visitors to the city are genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing a world class building take shape as it reflects both quality of its architecture and the capital’s dynamism.

“It has been a long journey from inception to this milestone and we look forward to its completion in under two years time.”

Stephen Pycroft, Chairman and CEO of Mace, the principal contractor constructing the scheme, commented:

“From a standing start 20 months ago we are making strong progress on the build programme with the concrete core already at its completed height of 72 storeys, the steel frame up to level 40, and 3,500 of the 11,000 panes of glass already installed. There is a lot of hard work to do but the speed with which the Shard has risen out of the ground and the quality of the construction is testimony to the determination, innovation and team spirit of all those working on the project.”

Completion of the entire London Bridge Quarter development is anticipated during Q1 2013.


Media coverage:

BBC Today Programme

Daily Mirror

BBC Newsround (available after 9pm, 09.12.2010)