The Shard – ICE evening lecture

Last night’s ICE Essex evening meeting was exceptional.  The speaker was Dr Richard Mawer of consulting engineers WSP Cantor Seinuk and the subject of the talk was ‘The Shard – Structural Engineering‘.  Before Richard gave his talk we held a short Essex Branch AGM as our constitution requires and it was dispatched within 10 minutes as usual.

The main part of that AGM was my Chairman’s report but it also included the presentation of an ICE Certificate of Merit to our outgoing Honorary Secretary Paul Chaplin for his exceptional service to the  ICE over many many years. You can read more about this here.

The Shard – for those that don’t know – is a new mixed use high rise building development located within the footprint of London Bridge Rail Station just South of the Thames and within shouting distance of the City of London.  Dr Mawer is one of the senior structural engineers at WSP  who has been involved with The Shard for a number of years and who is responsible for the structural design of the reinforced concrete core structure and the new roof that has recently been erected over parts of the Station.

There is a fair amount of publicly available info about The Shard to be found on the web so I shan’t go into too much detail other than to provide the link to the developments website at A quick flick through the pages there will leave the eyes wide open at the scale and quality of this structure.

Richards presentation followed fairly closely this brochure from WSP’s website albeit with further detail and many more images and photographs.  I did ask if we could provide a copy of Richard’s slides but understandably some of the content was considered sensitive or not from WSP to provide so unfortunately the slides are not available.

Given time I was going to do a bigger write-up of what Richard covered but this meeting is already some weeks ago so I shall just include below some photos from the talk.  You’ll get the idea!  Loads more photos on my Picaseaweb photo sharing website here.  I did a short blog with photos of the Shard being constructed a while back.  You can read that blog here.

Richard did also show a video of the BIM model construction sequence. An older version of that can be found on You tube and is included at the end of the photos below.

An excellent turnout for the meeting as usual
Some of the parties involved in the Shard
An illustration of the height of the Shard
Talking about the history of London Bridge Station
Discussing wind loading and concept sketches
Discussing the pile arrangement and top down basement construction
Photo in the basement during top down construction. Some 13 storeys of core were constructed above ground floor level before the basement structure was completed
Looking down the core. The tower crane was actually hung off the slipform structure and so rose up as the core was constructed. CLEVER THAT!
Discussing the slabs and envelope features
Discussing the structural steel sections that make up the final height of the building. All test assembled off site to ensure that they would fit. (and they did).
Showing the 4D BIM animation of the construction sequence
Showing the 4D BIM animation of the construction sequence. Watch an older version of the video below.

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