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Tata Steel makes the cut with the Shard

7 January 2013 No Comment

Nothing makes a statement like The Shard – London’s newest skyscraper that redefines the city’s famous skyline to become a symbol for the capital, recognisable throughout the world.

Shooting up into the sky like a beautiful sharp pyramid of glass, it happens to be the tallest building in Western Europe standing at 1,016 feet high, and also beats One Canada Square’s 18-year reign as Britain’s tallest building.

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Tata Steel helps the Shard to become the symbol of London

Clad entirely in glass, the building holds its striking shape using only the very best materials, with all 87 floors made from high quality steel galvanised by Tata Steel at its Shotton factory in North Wales.

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Image source via Yvonne Bouman and SeeMyCity

Renzo Piano’s inspiring vision

International architect Renzo Piano designed The Shard to replace the Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built in 1975. Apparently, he was inspired by railway lines lying next to the site as well as the London spires depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto and the masts of sailing ships.

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But despite his inspiring vision, the building’s initial journey wasn’t a smooth one. In July 2002, the then-Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, ordered a planning inquiry after local authorities and heritage bodies opposed the Shard development plans. Following much investigation, the plans were approved and given the go ahead.

Just when everything was back on track, the building was put into jeopardy once again when the gathering uncertainty in the global economy sparked concerns about the entire project. It was almost cancelled until a new consortium of investors secured its future in early 2008.

Bringing together glass and steel in a truly iconic way

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With a big sigh of relief, construction finally began in early 2009 when the first steel beams were placed into the ground as preparations for the core of the building. By 2010 the concrete core of the tower began to rise steadily by three metres a day. Its steel structure was topped out in March 2012 when its 66-metre, 500-tonne spire was winched into place. The final panes of glass were installed shortly afterwards; completing the building we now see today, towering above London Bridge and the River Thames.

Tata Steel is cut above the rest for the Shard

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Officially opened on 5 July 2012, The Shard has 72 habitable floors with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor – all containing nearly 1,000 tonnes of S450 galvanised steel, which was produced on Tata Steel’s No.5 HDG line in April 2011. It offers everything from premium office space and luxury private residences to shops, restaurants and hotel facilities.

A beacon of hope for the capital city of London

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Given its somewhat interesting journey, you could say that The Shard acts like a beacon of hope for the capital, bringing together glass and steel to truly cut above the rest and make its mark as today’s true icon for London. And to think it almost didn’t make it…

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