Is Urban Exploration Art ? Shard Climbers Unveiled
The Group that climbed the Shard document their quest through words and photography
An organised group of urban trespassers, part of an organisation that calls itself' The London Consolidation Crew', who broke into the incomplete Shard, Europe's tallest building and scaled the pinnacle, have defended their actions. Photographs documenting their assent to the summit of the 1,016ft (309.7m) skyscraper have been posted on the Place Hacking blog. http://www.placehacking.co.uk/thesis
Last December the group evaded security guards to mount a crane perched on top of the structure. A spokesman for the Shard's developer said security had been tightened but no action would be taken against the trespassers. The group said they entered the site at 02:00 GMT from a walkway near London Bridge Railway station before walking up staircases to the 76th floor. The blog explained: "We waited for the guard to finish his round and go into his hut. "It took a few minutes of lingering before the walkway was clear - we grabbed onto the scaffolding pipes and swung off the bridge."Hanging on the freezing pipes, we pulled ourselves on top of the walkway and laid down out of view, waiting for a reaction in case anyone had seen or heard us. It didn't seem so."
The stunt was all included as part of a PHD thesis written by Bradley L. Garrett. Mr Garrett stated that they had breached the security to climb the shard on three occasions The group have no intention to climb the Shard again but will now branch out to locations in Europe. "Barcelona is next and maybe Stockholm" he revealed in a Radio London interview.
The climb was described as; "It was a crisp night outside London Bridge station. It was still but our breath curled in the 2am air. Marc Explo and I were standing on a temporary wooden walkway looking through a viewing window into the ground level construction yard of the largest skyscraper in Europe. “Gary” walked up behind us and, with a hand on each of our shoulders, also peered through. “One security guard looking after the Shard huh?” We chuckled. We waited for the guard to finish his current round and go into his hut. It took a few minutes of lingering before the walkway was clear of people – we grabbed onto the scaffolding pipes and swung off the bridge. Hanging on the freezing pipes, we pulled ourselves on top of the walkway and laid down out of view, waiting for a reaction in case anyone had seen or heard us. It didn’t seem so. Staying low, we then descended the other side of the scaffolding, right behind the security hut where we could see the guard watching TV, not the cameras. Quickly, we scampered across the yard and found the central stair case, again pausing to see if there was any reaction from the yard, phones ringing or doors opening. It was silent. First we took the stairs two at a time. All three of us were in pretty good shape and could do 25 or 30 floors like that. But by the 31st floor, I was sweating heavily. Knowing that the sweat would sting when we emerged onto the roof, I tried to pace myself and breathe. By floor 50, my calves burned horribly and I was having to stop every once and a while to let them pulse a bit and untighten.At floor 70 the cement stairs turned into metal ones, indicating we were near the top. I was ecstatic. A final burst of enthusiasm took us from metal stairs to wooden ladders. We threw open one last hatch and found ourselves on top of the Shard at 76 stories. As I climbed up on the counterweight of the crane, my breath caught. It was a combination of the icy wind and the sheer scale of the endeavor that shocked me. Marc was looking down at London Bridge station and whispered, “the train lines going into London Bridge look like the Thames, it’s all flow.” Slowly, I pulled myself to the end of the counter weight and peered over the edge. Indeed, we were so high, I couldn’t see anything moving at street level. No buses, no cars, just rows of lights and train lines that looked like converging river systems, a giant urban circuit board. Later, standing next to the Thames, staring up at the little red light blinking on top of the crane, it seemed unimaginable that I had my hands on it just hours earlier. Ever after, whenever I see the Shard from anywhere in the city, I can’t help but smile. Unlike when I was up there, shaking with fear taking this self-portrait. You’ve got two months to get yours before the tower tops out. Act before you think". But is this art? We think so!
Here are some photos.