Engineering the Shard
When The Shard is completed in May 2012 it will be a spectacular structure on the skyline of London; the tallest building, not only in the country, but in the European Union – and engineers have played a vital role in making it happen!
The final tower will be 310 metres (1,017 feet) tall, overtaking One Canada Square (Canary Wharf Tower) which had been the UK’s tallest building since 1991 (235 metres/770 ft). The Shard will rank as the 45th tallest building in the world.
The building, which looks like a large, sharp shard of glass, will be made from granite, glass and steel in order to blend in with surrounding areas of London (as best it can for such a tall building!).
The architect, Renzo Piano, said the design was inspired by London church spires in historic paintings, as well as the masts of ships that used to sail along the nearby River Thames, and it’s been the job of engineers to make these ideas into a practical reality.
A number of different engineers have worked on the Shard, including structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. They have been involved with everything in the Shard’s construction, from making sure the planned area is made suitable for building such a large tower, to choosing suitable materials for the building and helping to minimise the Shard’s impact on the environment. Developers claim that The Shard will use 30% less energy than other high-rise buildings of a similar size.
The Shard will have 95 floors when it is completed. The first 26 of these will be new offices. There will be a 200 room hotel from floor 37 to 51 and people with a head for heights will be able to live in apartments from floor 52 to 63. There will be public viewing points at different levels of the tower for excellent views across London, and 39 lifts will whisk passengers up and down the Shard, with double-decker lifts for office workers.
The project is thought to have created 300 engineering jobs. The developers hope that 1000 jobs will be created after its completion as business is attracted to the area… The area will also get many more tourist visitors by people keen to see this spectacular structure.
Tomorrow’s Engineers spoke to a young engineer who worked as a structural engineer on the Shard from engineering company WSP. You can read about what it’s like to do her job, and watch a video of her on the Tomorrow’s Engineers’ site.