In just a few short years, The Shard has become an iconic addition to the capital’s skyline, showing that hard work and perseverance give rewards. The story of The Shard’s construction is something of a roller coaster journey, facing setbacks and challenges from day one. However, since completion, The Shard has gone from strength to strength and has proven to be one of London’s premier venues.
In this article, we’ll be looking at how this iconic structure came to be, the challenges faced during construction and how Gallowglass has been fortunate enough to work at this venue.
Introduction to The Shard
This location is not one draped in history or heritage, something that comes with being a new build. Instead, these have been swapped for elegance and mystique, setting itself aside from the other London skyscrapers. The story of The Shard begins in 1999, with Irvine Sellar, founder of Sellar Property Group, who had previously acquired Southwark Towers, an office complex that at the time was occupied by PwC.
The following year, a meeting is arranged between Sellar and Renzo Piano, an Italian architect, and Irvine pitches the idea of a “vertical city”. This idea was born out of the concept that people could work, live and spend time there, making the need for public access necessary; a rare occurrence in tall buildings in the city. At first, Renzo is not keen on the idea, as he had a distaste for tall buildings. However, the Thames and railway lines were what drew him in, leading him to sketch something on the back of his menu; the very first blueprints for The Shard.
Having been met with approval from then-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott regarding the architectural quality of the proposal, the project had to be put on hold until 2007. During this year, the occupational lease was purchased from PwC and plans were put in place to begin the demolition of the towers. Unfortunately, this too was put on hold due to financial issues off the back of the financial crisis in 2008. Funds were secured later that year from a group of Qatari investors, and in 2009, demolition of the Southwark Towers site took place, with construction for The Shard beginning in March.
During the years of 2010 and 2011, construction of the shard proceeds at a rapid pace, as the building increases in height by roughly three meters a day until eventually becoming the tallest building in the EU. Three years after construction commenced, in March 2012, the 66-meter spire was winched into place; the final process of construction.
Since completion, millions of people have visited The Shard, either dining at one of the restaurants, staying in accommodation or simply visiting the viewing platform. There have also been numerous events held in The Shard, which brings us on nicely to our work at this iconic venue.
Gallowglass at The Shard
Gallowglass has had opportunities to work at The Shard since it opened in 2012, with numerous events happening there over the last few years. Some of the highlights are:
Santander Spin Up – a campaign aimed at getting people used to the new hire bikes available in the city while allowing them to experience exciting views of London. Cycle classes took place high above the city streets in The Shard, along with other classes in Tower Bridge and the Kensington Roof Gardens.
WPP AGM – We had the opportunity to work with WPP to crew their AGM, which was held just a couple of years after The Shard opened its doors.
Shard Talks – The Shard also began hosting expert-led debates in 2014 and Gallowglass have had the opportunity to work in them.
Since we began working at this venue, over 700 crew have worked there accruing a total of over 5500 hours on site. At the moment, we are carrying out work to install The Shard’s beautiful Christmas lights, ready for the festive season!
If you would like to work at the iconic venues of London and the UK, why not fill out one of our application forms? We have event crew across the UK that have opportunities to work in some of the most famed venues organising both innovative and famed events. You can also read our blog to find more information on our industry.