The Shard

Architect Renzo Piano’s ‘Shard’ skyscraper, is now the tallest building in Europe. Officially opened on July 5th, the celebration was inaugurated with a visual light display. Click on the video clip above, to see the show!

The Shard is a 310 metro glass clad spire (1,016 feet ) located in the London borough of Southwark, close to London Bridge station and Tower bridge. It is the landmark development as part of a larger regeneration project known as London Bridge quarter. Not only has it become the tallest building in the UK (and EU), but it is also the first ‘truly mixed use’ scheme being comprised of offices, retail, a 5* hotel, bars/café’s and luxury apartments.
It has been described as a ‘vertical city’ and according to its architect, Renzo Piano, it will be ‘living 24 hours a day and intensify the city life‘.

The mixed use lays out on the floor plan of the Shard is as follows:  1-3 – Lobby, 4-28 – Office Space,  31-33 - Restaurants and a viewing gallery, 34-50 – Shangri la hotel, 52- Spa, 53-65 - Apartments, 68-72 – viewing gallery and observation deck, and finally, floors 75-87 – Spire.

According to Renzo Piano, the shape and design of the Shard is influenced by a structure that had dominated the London skyline for hundreds of years, the church spire. The clear blue glass that makes up the Shards cladding is extremely high quality. It is designed to reflect the sky, clouds and sunlight so that on a sunny day,  the building will ‘shimmer on the London skyline like a Shard of glass’.

Reviews I have read, are mixed with Londoners’. Some feel the scale of the building is too dominant in the skyline. Others, applaud the form and beauty of the new building. No matter which side of the shard you sit, you have to admit, it is a dramatic display, energizing the architectural landscape in London. What do you think of the Shard?


Excerpts sourced at building website:

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