The Shard - London Bridge - London, UK

Renzo Piano in association with Broadway Malyan
Date Built
Completion projected for 2012
beside London Bridge station.
The Shard is London's tallest building by some way at 310 metres.  Rising up beside London Bridge Railway station, it is home to office space, a 5 star hotel, restaurants, apartments and a public viewing gallery and open-air observation deck that offers an unrivaled view of the city. 

The construction of the building followed a formal planning inquiry, ordered in 2002.  At the conclusion of the inquiry the government released a statement which read, "Mr Prescott (Deputy Prime-Minister) would only approve skyscrapers of exceptional design. For a building of this size to be acceptable, the quality of its design is critical. He [Mr Prescott] is satisfied that the proposed tower is of the highest architectural quality."

An article in the Guardian in 2011 said this about the Shard, "What the Shard does do is change the sense of scale in the whole centre of the City. It's as if a zoom-out button has been pressed, making hefty works like Tate Modern and Tower Bridge look a bit smaller. This is not the first time such a shift has happened: Inigo Jones's Banqueting House, which now looks petite, once dwarfed its neighbours and buildings such as St Pancras station and Harrods led previous jumps in scale. The Shard happens to be the biggest yet. It is a visitation from a hyperverse where different dimensions apply and also different orders of money."

Renzo Piano says that, "The design of the building is determined by the site: the building is 'sculpted' naturally by the curve of the railway lines rising higher to the east towards London Bridge Tower, and lower to the west toward's Southwalk's Cathedral."

The Shard Under Construction

November 2011

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