York Handmade provides 70,000 bricks for iconic shard

The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company is supplying 70,000 bricks to the iconic 87-storey Shard in south east London, which is now Europe’s tallest commercial building.

The contract is worth £85,000 and the Alne-based company have created a special brick called Autumn Sunset for this project. York Handmade will also be supplying bricks for the adjacent London Bridge Place development.

Both The Shard and London Bridge Place are being developed by the Sellar Property Group, backed by four Qatari banks. They are scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2013. The Shard is primarily built in glass, but the bricks will be used on the first few floors of the building.

David Armitage, the chairman of York Handmade, the leading independent brickmaker in the north of England, commented: “This is a very prestigious contract, which really puts York Handmade on the map. Our ability to produce attractive bespoke bricks to order means we are now on the radar of influential architects and builders across the country.

“It is fantastic that a Yorkshire company should be playing a significant role in the construction of the most iconic building of the decade in London,” he added.

The company has also recently won the biggest contract in its 22-year history. It is supplying more than 400,000 high-quality special bricks to the new Chetham’s School of Music in central Manchester. The contract is worth £500,000 and York Handmade has taken on four new staff to cope with the extra work.

The Renzo Piano-designed Shard will comprise 595,000 sq ft of office space, a collection of high-quality restaurants and bars occupying three floors at the mid levels, a five-star Shangri-La hotel and spa, exclusive residences and a high-level viewing gallery providing 360-degree panoramic views of London.

The Shard is spearheading a wider £2bn regeneration of the area immediately around London Bridge Station. Piling is already under way for the development of London Bridge Place, a 600,000 sq ft gross, 17-storey corporate headquarters building that will provide occupiers with stunning "winter gardens" and a huge roof terrace. Together with the Shard, the two buildings will provide employment for as many as 12,500 people.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, commented: "If you want a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession, the Shard is it, rising confidently up to the heavens.

"Once complete, this huge engineering feat will be the tallest building in Europe, and is destined to become as iconic a landmark on London's cherished skyline as the Gherkin, St Paul's or Big Ben."

A Sellar Group spokesman said: "The Shard has already become the capital's most talked-about building as it rises daily over the London skyline. We believe Londoners and visitors to the city are genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing a world-class building take shape, as it reflects both the quality of its architecture and the capital's dynamism."

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