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11/07 2012

London Bridge Tower.
The Shard by Renzo Piano, in London.

© Rob Telford - Night view from the Thames

“La sua forma piramidale (…) ricorda le guglie a spirale delle chiese di Londra costruite dall’architetto di St. Paul, Christopher Wren, come precisi segnali urbani nella ricostruzione della città dopo il grande incendio del 1666.” Renzo Piano

London Bridge Tower, which is also known as the Shard, is a 72 storey mixed use tower located besides London Bridge Station on the south bank of the river Thames. The station, which combines train, bus and underground lines is one of the busiest in London with 200,000 users per day. The project is a response to the Mayor’s policy of promoting high density development at key transport nodes.
The form of the tower was determined by its prominence on the London skyline. Unlike other cities such as New York or Hong Kong, the Shard is not part of an existing cluster of high rise buildings. References included the masts of ships docked in the nearby Pool of London and Monet’s paintings of the Houses of Parliament.
The slender pyramidal form is suited to the variety of uses proposed: large floor plates for offices at the bottom, public areas and a hotel in the middle, apartments at the top. The final public floors, levels 68-72, accommodate a viewing gallery 240m above street level. Above, the shards continue to 306 m. The mix of uses add vibrancy to the project: public access was deemed particularly important for such a significant building in London.

Eight glass shards define the shape and visual quality of the tower. The passive double façade uses low-iron glass throughout, with a mechanised roller blind in the cavity providing solar shading. In the “fractures” between the shards opening vents provide natural ventilation to winter gardens. These can be used as meeting rooms or break-out spaces in the offices and winter gardens on the residential floors. They provide a vital link with the external environment often denied in hermetically sealed buildings.
The main structural element is the slip formed concrete core in the centre of the building. It houses the main service risers, lifts and escape stairs. A total of 44 single and double-deck lifts link the key functions with the various entrances at street and station concourse level.
The project also includes the redevelopment of the train station concourse and bus station. The existing roof is to be removed and replaced with a glazed canopy, and retail units relocated to open up visual connections between the train station, bus station and taxi ranks. Two new 30m x 30m public squares will form the centre of the scheme. Such improvements to the public realm are vital to the regeneration of this congested and neglected part of the city and will hopefully provide the catalyst to further redevelopment in the area.

TECHNICAL SOLUTION: the project involves the use of some of the most innovative technological solutions in the field of external facades in the area of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. In particular, the technology called “passive wall” will be applied: it will reduce fuel consumption for heating in winter and also it will limit overheating during hot weather. Objective: to ensure the optimum internal habitability in every season.
The Important innovation is the constructive work system. The construction of the foundations begins with the laying of the poles by immersion, on which a first portion of the structural core (core) has been laid. The excavation continues then below it (around the slender columns) for a further three floors
When the excavation is complete, a concrete core stabilizes the merging with the walls, forming a single structure. The construction of the building and then continues thanks to the use of high-pressure pumps that “push” the concrete up to the highest part of the nucleus.
In doing so, the core takes the form of a large central column on which begins the construction of floors, while the building continues to grow in height.
The core contains all the services and vertical movements.


TOTAL FLOOR AREA: 126.712 sqm (gross); 83.104 sqm (net)


FLOORS NUMBER: 87 floors, 72 of which are habitable and designed to accommodate luxury hotels and restaurants, as well as offices and residences.
Offices – Plans 4-28: 55.277 m²
Restaurant – Plans 31-33: 2 608 m²
Hotels – from floors 34-52: 17.652 m²
Apartments – Plans 53-65: 5 788 m² (10 apartments)
Gallery Overview – Plans 68-72: 1,391 m²

The London Bridge Tower
London, UK

Client: Sellar Property Group

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects
in collaboration with Adamson Associates (Toronto, London)

Phase One (Planning Application), 2000-2003
Design team: J. Moolhuijzen (partner in charge), N. Mecattaf, W.Matthews with D.Drouin, A.Eris, S.Fowler, H.Lee, J.Rousseau, R.Stampton, M.van der Staay
and K.Doerr, M.Gomes, J.Nakagawa, K.Rottova, C.Shortle; O.Aubert, C.Colson, Y.Kyrkos (models)

Consultants: Ove Arup & Partners (structure and services); Lerch, Bates & Associates (vertical transportation); Broadway Malyan (consulting architect)

Phase Two, 2004-2012
Design team: J. Moolhuijzen, W.Matthews (partner and associate in charge), B.Akkerhuis, G.Bannatyne, E.Chen, G.Reid with O.Barthe, J.Carter, V.Delfaud, M.Durand, E.Fitzpatrick, S.Joly, G.Longoni, C.Maxwell-Mahon, J.B.Mothes, M.Paré, J.Rousseau, I.Tristrant, J.Winrow and O.Doule, J.Leroy, L.Petermann; O.Aubert, C.Colson, Y.Kyrkos (models)

Consultants: WSP Cantor Seinuk (structure); Ove Arup & Partners (building services); Lerch, Bates & Associates (vertical transportation); Davis Langdon (cost consultant); Townshend Architects (landscape); Pascall+Watson (executive architect for the station)

©RPB Workshop–Renzo Piano’s Sketch

©RPB Workshop–Reference,the old London

©RPB Workshop–ph.Stefano Goldberg–Publifoto–Portrait R.Piano

©Rob Telford–view from St Thomas Street



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