The Shard, also called Shard of Glass
The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, is a 95-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development. Standing 309.6 meters (1,016 ft) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the tallest building in the European Union, and the fifth-tallest building in Europe. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower of the Emley Moor transmitting station. It replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in 1975.
The Shard's construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. The tower's privately operated observation deck, 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 meters (801 ft).
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 602,779 square feet (56,000.0 m2) equivalent to the area of almost eight Wembley football pitches.
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 building.
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).
In 2014, The Shard claimed first place at the Emporis Skyscraper 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".
About the Architect
Renzo Piano, was born 14 September 1937) is an Italian architect. His notable buildings include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (with Richard Rogers, 1977), The Shard in London (2012), and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (2015) and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens (2016). He won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998.