The Shard, London Bridge

Location: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
Architect: Renzo Piano
Sector: Financial

The Tower has enough glass to cover eight football pitches.  Each pane was cut by a factory in the Netherlands and fitted in a particular order to create the impression of shimmering. Unfortunately all this glass creates huge solar gain turning the building into a giant greenhouse.  To combat this, triple glazing has been used with motorised roller blinds which are activated when the sun comes out.  However, updated building regulations meant that designers needed to become 25% more efficient and reduce future buildings’ carbon use and emissions.

To help with its green credentials the Shard was built using 140,000 blocks from Lignacite Ltd that contain over 50% recycled material.  These have gone into the four basement levels,  providing a substantial base for the entire tower.

Lignacite is a unique mix of sand, graded wood particles and cement.  The particular blocks produced for this project contained 10% recycled sand, 27% lightweight recycled aggregate and 15% recycled wood.  The wood comes from off cuts from the building industry which the company collects in two ex Post Office vans from all over the Eastern counties.  This wood is then shredded, washed and incorporated into the mix at Lignacite’s factories in Suffolk and Essex.

140mm blocks were used to build the Shard and every 1m2 of Lignacite blockwork on the project locked up 17.2kg of C02.  The blocks require no energy to cure as the exothermic reaction of the cement in the mix produces all the natural heat required.  Lignacite also have their own borehole at Brandon and recycle all the water used in the production and curing process.

Lignacite blocks has recently been used on six Olympic projects including the Velodrome and the main stadium.  A new range of facing masonry, incorporating recycled glass, was used to great effect on the Olympic Village.


Blocks Used in this Project