THE SHARD, also referred to as the SHARD OF GLASS, SHARD LONDON
BRIDGE and formerly LONDON BRIDGE TOWER, is a 95-storey skyscraper
London , that forms part of the
London Bridge Quarter
development. Standing 309.7 metres (1,016 ft) high, the Shard is the
tallest building in the
United Kingdom , the fourth-tallest building
in Europe and the 111th-tallest building in the world . It is also
the second-tallest free-standing structure in the
United Kingdom ,
after the concrete tower at the
Emley Moor transmitting station .
The Shard's construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30
March 2012 and inaugurated on 6 July 2012. Practical completion was
achieved in November 2012. The tower's privately operated observation
The View from The Shard , was opened to the public on 1 February
2013. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors, with
a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at
a height of 244.3 metres (802 ft). It was designed by the Italian
Renzo Piano and replaced
Southwark Towers , a 24-storey
office block built on the site in 1975.
The Shard was developed by
Sellar Property Group on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by
Sellar Property (5%) and the
State of Qatar
State of Qatar (95%).
* 1 Background
* 1.1 Planning
* 1.2 Funding
* 2 Architecture
* 2.1 Layout
* 3 Construction
* 3.1 Gallery
* 4 Height
* 5 Tenants
* 6 Urban exploration,
BASE jumping and climbing
* 7 In popular culture
* 8 See also
* 8.1 Similar structures
* 9 Footnotes
* 10 References
* 11 External links
In 1998, London-based entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and his
then-partners decided to redevelop the 1970s-era
following a UK government white paper encouraging the development of
tall buildings at major transport hubs. Sellar flew to
Berlin in the
spring of 2000 to meet the Italian architect
Renzo Piano for lunch.
According to Sellar, Piano spoke of his contempt for conventional tall
buildings during the meal, before flipping over the restaurant's menu
and sketching a spire-like sculpture emerging from the
River Thames .
In July 2002, the then-Deputy Prime Minister ,
John Prescott ,
ordered a planning inquiry after the development plans for the Shard
were opposed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built
Environment and several heritage bodies, including the Royal Parks
English Heritage . The inquiry took place in April
and May 2003, and on 19 November 2003, the Office of the Deputy
Prime Minister announced that planning consent had been approved. The
government stated that:
Mr Prescott would only approve skyscrapers of exceptional design. For
a building of this size to be acceptable, the quality of its design is
critical. He is satisfied that the proposed tower is of the highest
architectural quality. The
Southwark Towers office block, which
was demolished in 2008 to make way for
Sellar and his original partners
CLS Holdings plc and CN Ltd (acting
for the Halabi Family Trust ) secured an interim funding package of
£196 million in September 2006 from the Nationwide Building Society
and Kaupthing Singer "> Audio description of the building by
Steven Berkoff Internal structure of the Shard's spire and
radiator floors, seen from the 72nd-floor observatory
Renzo Piano , the project's architect, designed the Shard as a
spire-like sculpture emerging from the
River Thames . He was inspired
by the railway lines next to the site, the
London spires depicted by
the 18th-century Venetian painter
Canaletto , and the masts of sailing
ships. Piano's design met criticism from English Heritage, who
claimed the building would be "a shard of glass through the heart of
historic London", giving the building its name, the Shard. Piano
considered the slender, spire-like form of the tower a positive
addition to the
London skyline, recalling the church steeples featured
in historic engravings of the city, and believed that its presence
would be far more delicate than opponents of the project alleged. He
proposed a sophisticated use of glazing , with expressive façades of
angled glass panes intended to reflect sunlight and the sky above, so
that the appearance of the building will change according to the
weather and seasons. The building features 11,000 panes of glass,
with a total surface area of 56,000 square metres (600,000 sq ft).
The Shard was designed with energy efficiency in mind. It is fitted
with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, operating on natural gas
from the National Grid . Fuel is efficiently converted to electricity
and heat is recovered from the engine to provide hot water for the
Following the destruction of New York 's World Trade Center (WTC) in
the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 , architects and structural
engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures.
The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to
be amended following the publication of the US National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) report into the collapse of the WTC.
The building is designed to maintain its stability under very onerous
conditions, with its post-tensioned concrete and composite floors,
load-bearing pillars and tapering shape giving it a sway tolerance of
400 millimetres (16 in).
The Shard claimed first place at the
Awards, recognising buildings over 100 m (328 ft) completed in the
previous twelve months. The
Emporis judges hailed the building as "a
skyscraper that is recognized immediately and which is already
considered London's new emblem".
758 m2 (8,159 sq ft)
The View from The Shard (observatory)
5,772 m2 (62,129 sq ft)
5,945 m2 (63,991 sq ft)
Restaurants (Hutong, Oblix and Aqua Shard)
South Hook Gas
52,322 m2 (563,189 sq ft)
New State Corporation
The Office Group
The Office Group
52,322 m2 (563,189 sq ft)
Warwick Business School and Foresight
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera UK
London studio and offices
Mathys & Squire
The Shard pictured from
Great Tower Street in April 2012
In February 2009, a mobile crane and a small piling rig arrived on
site. In early March 2009, the crane began putting steel beams into
the ground, as part of preparations for the core of the building. Full
construction began on 16 March 2009. Demolition work on New London
Bridge House started in May 2009, as part of the concurrent London
Bridge Place project. The first steelwork went into the Shard's piles
on 28 April. Five cranes were used to build the Shard, with four of
them 'jumping' with the tower as it rose. Crane 1 was erected in
September 2009 and Crane 2 was erected at the beginning of October.
By 20 October 2009, steel beams began appearing on site, with concrete
being poured at the northern part of the site, ready for Crane 3.
By March 2010, the concrete core was rising steadily at about 3
metres (9.8 ft) a day. After a pause in March–April 2010, it
continued rising, reaching the 33rd floor in mid-June, almost level
with the top of Guy\'s Hospital , which stands at 143 metres (469 ft).
On 27 July 2010, the core stopped rising, having reached the 38th
floor, and was reconfigured for further construction. By mid-November
2010, the core had reached the 68th floor, with the tower's steel
reaching the 40th floor and glass cladding enveloping a third of the
building. In late November, the core's height exceeded 235 metres (771
One Canada Square
One Canada Square 's 18-year reign as Britain's tallest
The Shard's concrete core topped out at the 72nd floor in early 2011,
standing at 245 metres (804 ft). The early part of January 2011 saw
the installation of hydraulic screens, which were used to form the
concrete floors of the hotel and apartment section of the tower, and
rose with the floors up to the 69th floor. On 25 January 2011, the
concrete pumps began pouring the first concrete floor at the 41st
floor. By the end of February 2011, concrete flooring had risen to the
46th floor, with a new floor being poured on average every week. The
cladding of the structure also progressed, mainly on the tower's
In February 2011, a
Red fox (V. vulpes) was discovered to be living
on the partially-completed 72nd floor, having climbed the building
site's central stairwell. Nicknamed 'Romeo' by the RSPCA, the animal
was rescued and later released back into the wild. The
The Shard on 5 July 2012
August 2011 saw steady progress in construction, with cladding
enveloping more than half the building's exterior. Pouring of the
concrete floors reached the 67th floor, and progression on the tower's
cladding reached the 58th floor. By mid-August, the core box had been
removed. By 19 September 2011, the tower's steel was approaching the
height of the completed core, reaching almost 244 metres (801 ft). On
24 September, a final crane – at the time, the tallest ever built in
Britain – was erected to install the skyscraper's upper spire. The
spire was pre-fabricated and pre-assembled based upon 3D models, and
underwent a "test run" in
Yorkshire before being lifted onto the
building itself. By late December 2011, the Shard had become the
tallest building in the
European Union , superseding the Commerzbank
Tower in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Shard's steel structure was topped out on 30 March 2012, when its
66-metre (217 ft), 500-tonne spire was winched into place. The steel
structure thus reached a height of 308.5 metres (1,012 ft). The final
516 panes of glass were added shortly after, topping the tower out at
its full height of 309.6768 metres (1,016.000 ft).
The Shard was inaugurated on 5 July 2012 by the Prime Minister of
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani , in a ceremony attended
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York . The inauguration ceremony featured a
laser light show comprising 12 lasers and 30 searchlights , which
illuminated the building on the
London skyline. Practical completion
of the building was achieved in November 2012.
Aerial view of the Shard, December 2016
The Shard dominating the City of
London skyline, as seen from
Forest Hill in July 2013
Standing 309.7 metres (1,016 ft) at its highest point, and 308.5
metres (1,012 ft) at the highest point of its steelwork, the Shard
became the tallest building in the
European Union in December 2011,
and the tallest completed building in Europe on 30 March 2012. It thus
Commerzbank Tower , which, at 259 m (850 ft),
was Europe's tallest building between 1997 and 2005. Thereafter, the
Shard successively exceeded the heights of three Moscow skyscrapers,
Naberezhnaya Tower , and
City of Capitals , each
of which had held the European height record for roughly 2.5 years.
However, upon its completion in November 2012, Moscow's 339-metre
Mercury City Tower
Mercury City Tower replaced the Shard as the tallest in
The Shard may eventually be surpassed as the EU's tallest
building by the 323-metre (1,060 ft)
Hermitage Plaza building, which
is planned to be completed in
La Défense , Paris, in 2019.
The Shard is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United
Kingdom , after the 330-metre (1,083 ft) concrete transmission tower
at Emley Moor . Another planned
London skyscraper, the Pinnacle , was
originally proposed to rival the height of the Shard, but was reduced
to a height of 287.9 metres (945 ft) because of concerns from the
Civil Aviation Authority .
In February 2013,
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times reported that the developers of
the Shard were in negotiations to secure the first tenants of the
building's 25 floors of office space. In May 2013, the Daily Mail
reported that only six of The Shard's 72 habitable floors were in use,
as a combination of high prices and poor situation discouraged buyers.
At the time, potential tenants included financial restructuring
Duff & Phelps , private equity firm Hatton Corporation and
the South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas Company .
The Shard's fourth, fifth and sixth floors host the HCA (Hospital
Corporations of America), part of
London Bridge Hospital. The Shard's
31st, 32nd and 33rd floors host three restaurants: Oblix, Hutong and
Aqua Shard. The building's
Shangri-La Hotel , occupying floors
34–52, was initially expected to open by the end of 2013, but its
opening was ultimately delayed to 6 May 2014. In March 2014, Mathys
it is capable of running an entire channel independent from Al
Jazeera's other hubs, and is the network's second-biggest hub after
its facility in
Doha , Qatar.
In January 2015, further tenants for the Shard were announced,
including IO Oil border:solid #aaa 1px">
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* List of tallest buildings and structures in
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* ^ The building's operators officially stylise its name as The
Shard, with the word "the" capitalised.
* ^ A B http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?buildingID=2611
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(Registration required (help)).
* ^ "History of The Shard,
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* ^ "
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* ^ "
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* ^ "Al Jazeera to open new TV studio in The Shard".
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* ^ "Al Jazeera moves into The Shard". The-Shard.com. 2014.
Retrieved 15 November