The Shard

Forces, Steel and Fazlur Khan

Episode 1: The Shard - Forces, Steel and Fazlur Khan

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The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe. A beautiful tower of concrete, steel and glass, it has redefined London's skyline. Visitors flock to see the stunning views of London from its gallery, up high at Level 72. But how are towers like The Shard built? What materials are used, and who are the visionaries behind their designs?

In our first episode, we hear firsthand from host Roma Agrawal, what it was like to work on the project. She was one of the engineers on the project from 2006 till 2012 and is still excited when she sees it from different bits of London (or growing out of her head). She records audio as she wanders around the base of the building and views it from London Bridge.

Structural Engineer Najwa Jawahar tells us about the forces that act on towers. From the predictable to the unpredictable, she explains how engineers anticipate these and the tools in our kit we can use to resist these forces and make our structures stand strong.

We then hear from material scientist, podcaster and comedian Anna Ploszajski. She tells us about one of the most important materials used in skyscrapers - steel. She runs her own excellent podcast called 'rial talk (yes that's a pun) which you should definitely check out for more materials yumminess!

And finally, in this jam-packed episode, the brilliant Yasmin Sabina Khan - author of Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan - tells us about her pioneering engineer father. Fazlur Rahman Khan, nicknamed 'Father of the tubular design of skyscrapers', is best known for an innovation that has enabled our tallest towers. She calls in all the way from California where she currently lives.

A tasty demo from Roma on how steel and iron are different.

Roma uses her infamous skiing analogy to explain Fazlur Khan's innovation. That's why her arms are out!

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