Renzo Piano's Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe. This programme looks at how engineers WSP helped the architect realise his design in one of the most constrained sites imaginable. The programme focuses on three main areas: top down construction, the building's hybrid concrete and steel structure and construction of the building's 60m tall spire.

Key learning points:

  • The role of vierendeel and hat trusses
  • Why the WSP opted for a hybrid structure of alternating concrete and steel floors
  • An explanation of top-down construction
  • How the 60m spire was built

About the contributors

John Parker MA Ceng MICE MIStructE, Project director, WSP, graduated from Churchill College Cambridge in 1982 with a first class honours degree in engineering. He has worked for WSP since 1987 and is a Technical Director in the London structures team. His experience includes Canning Town station, Hungerford Bridge, the Rolls Royce Motors factory, London Bridge station redevelopment and The Shard.

John is particularly interested in enhancing architecture through expressed structural engineering.

Roma Agrawal, Project engineer, WSP, studied Physics at the University of Oxford and Structural Engineering at Imperial College London. She is an associate at WSP. Her projects range from tall towers to sculptures, in a variety of materials and include the Shard at London Bridge, the tallest tower in Western Europe.

She was awarded 'Young Structural Engineer of the Year 2011' by the Institution of Structural Engineers, and was a finalist for the 'Young Woman Engineer of the Year' Award run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

RIBA CPDDisclaimer: NBS TV programmes are the intellectual property of RIBA Enterprises and it shall be a breach of this right to copy, or in any way exploit commercially or show in public any of the programmes without the express permission of RIBA Enterprises.
The information contained in the programmes is not intended and accordingly shall not be relied upon either as a substitute for professional advice or judgement or to provide legal or other advice with respect to any particular circumstance. RIBA Enterprises accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the information contained in the programmes.