Standing 309.6 metres tall, the Shard is the tallest completed building in Europe, and the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom. The tower, which was completed in April 2012, has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor, at the height of 245 metres.
The Shard was designed in an irregular pyramidal shape from the base to the top, and is clad entirely in glass. Inside there are 44 lifts. The overall cost for the whole construction was £435 million. The Shard was designed in 2000 by Renzo Piano, an Italian architect best known for creating Paris’s Pompidou Centre in collaboration with Richard Rogers from the Great Britain.
Piano wanted the slender, spire-like form of the tower to recall the church steeples featured in historic engravings of the city. He also proposed a sophisticated use of glazing, with 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.
Renzo Piano, the designer of the Shard 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.
The Shard contains premium office space, a hotel, luxury residences, retail space, restaurants, a five-storey public viewing gallery and a spa. The public viewing gallery is located on the 72nd floor, at 245 metres (804 ft), and is expected to draw over 2 million visitors a year once it opens in February 2013.
The Shard was designed with energy efficiency in mind. It is fitted with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, operating on natural gas. The gas engine is fuelled by gas coming from the National Grid. Fuel is efficiently converted to electricity and heat is recovered from the engine to provide hot water for the building.
The Shard was formally opened on 5 July 2012 by the Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, in a ceremony attended by Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The opening ceremony featured a large laser light show, comprising 12 lasers and 30 searchlights, which illuminated the building on the London skyline.
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. By March 2010, the concrete core was rising steadily at approximately 3 metres (9.8 ft) a day. 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. 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 309.6 metres.
Standing 309.6 metres tall, the Shard is the tallest completed building in Europe. It was designed in an irregular pyramidal shape from the base to the top, and is clad entirely in glass.