The Shard

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The Shard
The Shard in May 2012
Record height
Tallest in European Union since 2011[I]
Preceded by Commerzbank Tower
General information
Status Complete (interior fitting-out underway)
Location 32 London Bridge Street, Southwark, London, England, UK
Coordinates 51°30′16″N 0°5′12″W / 51.50444°N 0.08667°W / 51.50444; -0.08667Coordinates: 51°30′16″N 0°5′12″W / 51.50444°N 0.08667°W / 51.50444; -0.08667
Construction started March 2009
Completed July 2012 (open February 2013)
Cost ~£435 million (contract cost only)[1]
Antenna spire 309.7 m (1,016 ft)[2]
Roof 304.1 m (998 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 95 (including plant floors)
72 (habitable)
Floor area 110,000 m2 (1,200,000 sq ft)
Elevators 44
Design and construction
Main contractor Mace
Architect Renzo Piano
Developer Sellar Property Group
Structural engineer Turner & Townsend (Project Managers), WSP Cantor Seinuk (Structural Engineers), Robert Bird Group (concrete temporary works) Ischebeck Titan on most floors 40+ for concrete support
Services engineer Arup

The Shard (also referred to as the Shard of Glass,[4][5] Shard London Bridge or the London Bridge Tower)[6][7] is a high-rise building in Southwark, London. The Shard was built in July 2012. It is 309.7 metres (1,016 ft) high.[2] It is the List of tallest buildings in Europe, tallest in the European Union and 96th tallest in the world. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the 330-metre (1,083 ft) concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station.

The Shard replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office building built on the site in 1975. Renzo Piano was the Shard's architect. Piano is best known for creating Paris’s Pompidou Centre in cooperation with Britain’s Richard Rogers. Piano worked with the architectural firm Broadway Malyan during the planning stage. The tower has 72 floors that can be used for offices, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK's highest – on the 72nd floor, at a height of 245 metres (804 ft). The Shard was designed with an irregular pyramidal shape from the bottom to the top, and is covered entirely in glass. Its structure was completed in April 2012. It opened to the public on 5 July 2012.

The Shard was designed in 2000. That year, the London-based entrepreneur Irvine Sellar decided to redevelop Southwark Towers, a 1970s office block next to London Bridge station, and flew to Berlin in March 2000 to meet Piano for lunch. According to Sellar, the architect spoke of his contempt for tall buildings during the meal, before flipping over the restaurant’s menu and sketching an iceberg-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. He got his ideas from the railway lines next to the site, the London spires in the paintings of 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of sailing ships.

In April 2008, demolition of Southwark Towers was going on. Scaffolding and white sheeting covered the building. By October, Southwark Towers was much shorter and was no longer visible on the skyline. The building's demolition was completed in early 2009, and site preparation began for the construction of the Shard.

Layout[change | change source]

Floors Floor area Space designation
73–95 Spire
68–72 758 m2 (8,159 sq ft) Observatory
53–65 5,772 m2 (62,129 sq ft) Residential apartments
52 Spa
34–52 16,198 m2 (174,354 sq ft) Shangri-La Hotel
31–33 5,945 m2 (63,991 sq ft) Restaurants
2–28 54,488 m2 (586,504 sq ft) Offices
1 2,102 m2 (22,626 sq ft) Lobby

Source: Shard London Bridge brochure, 2010

Sources[change | change source]

  1. "The Shard, London: Cost of Europe's Tallest Building". 15 July 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. The Shard at Emporis. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  4. Bar-Hillel, Mira (24 February 2009). "£28bn Shard of Glass to start its ascent". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  5. "Work starts on Shard of Glass". New Civil Engineer. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  6. "London Bridge Tower, London". 15 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  7. "Shard funding crisis: Tower finances cast shadow over project". World Architecture News. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 

Other websites[change | change source]

Preceded by
One Canada Square
Tallest building in London
310 m
Succeeded by
Preceded by
One Canada Square
Tallest building in the United Kingdom
310 m
Succeeded by