Learning from the Shard

The Shard of Glass has been topped out.  Still about 9 floors to go above the concrete core but the heart of the building is now as high as it will go.  The Shard will end up as the tallest building in the EU and the 15th tallest in the world when it is finished next year. It is a remarkable creation and I have watched it go up since the beginning of construction.

Ten lessons from the Shard

1. Build strong foundations:  the Shard has 53 metre deep piles to support the building.  That is a lot of concrete.

2. When they were building the foundations, it looked like the building would NEVER raise above ground level.  But the strong foundations were critical.

3. Less is more: the building has a concrete core; steel frame hung off that and then glass on the front.  Simple, simple structure but quite elegant.

4. You can build something magnificent even if you have only a small area to work in.  The floor pan of the Shard is remarkably small when compared with the height of the building.

5. Make very fast progress when you can.  At peak building speeds, it was growing by 10 metres a day.

6. Consolidate:  rapid growth was followed by periods when the superstructure caught up.  It did not look like progress but it was vital that the whole structure went up together.

7. Protect your core.  The concrete core was always surrounded by steel  as quickly as possible.

8. Communicate what you are doing:  each stage of the Shard had an illuminated display explaining the building process and the components being used like concrete poured, steel erected, glass installed etc.

9. Have a vision of the finished product:  there are massive images of what the Shard will look like in situ.  This shows the building from every angle and helps us make sense of the construction logic.

10 Never give up.  Planning permission was granted in 2002 yet building did not start until 2010.  In the interim there was a frantic rush for partners; sponsorships and even ownership of the site and development rights.

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One Response to “Learning from the Shard” - Leave a Comment

  1. Maybe one day we won't feel the need to build phallic symbols on such a scale!

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