A group of urban explorers have found fame after illegally scaling the tallest building in Europe, Renzo Piano’s The Shard, still under construction. The band of daredevils who attempted the feat have now released photographs of them sitting on scaffolding at the apex of the building as ‘proof’ of their achievement and have given a number of interviews detailing their reasons for scaling the tower.
Despite high levels of security at the construction site (The Shard is due to complete in June) the ‘London Consolidation Crew’ managed to access the building in February, one of the members, Bradley Garrett, posting confirmation images on his blog a few days ago. It seems that the group will not be stopping with The Shard as Garrett confirmed: “We are working on a couple of projects in London and a couple more across Europe, linking up with urban exploring groups in different cities. One thought that we are quite interested in is the idea of holding dinner parties on rooftops or tea parties in unusual places.”
Despite the illegal stunt allegedly occurring just a few months ago, the building’s developers Sellar Property Group and contractors Mace have suggested that it was in fact during December 2010, stating: “The breach was discovered very soon afterwards and security immediately tightened. Today security on the site is tight with 14 night-time security guards on duty continuously, as well as 25 CCTV cameras together with a laser alarm system.”
It is thought that London Consolidation Crew, which is said to include several dozen student and professional climbers, has scaled 300 buildings in eight countries over the last three years. Speaking to British tabloid The Sun about his urban adventures, Garrett explained: “I’ve gone as far as Poland on long road trips, spending weeks on end sleeping in derelict buildings. We’ve discovered old Soviet military bases, abandoned hospitals and derelict industrial sites. We’ve thrown parties in the network of sewers beneath London and we’ve sat on the top of the chimneys at Battersea Power Station on 5th November, at eye level with the fireworks set off down below. Every time a firework went off you could feel the chimneys rumble.
“My friends have been on the rooftops of the British Museum and St Paul’s Cathedral. Sadly I missed those trips but that’s the nature of what we do. When you see an opportunity, you have to take it because it may not be possible days later. So as soon as my friends and I saw the construction plans for The Shard and heard it was going to be the tallest building in Europe, we knew we had to climb it. We actually went up it half a dozen times, taking pictures and documenting the construction process. Amazingly, the views from The Shard were not the best we have ever seen, because it is so high you can’t really see anything. You are just floating in the clouds.”