Discovering The Shard | A New Shape on the London Skyline

The Great British city of London is both a modern cultural melting pot and a city of rich heritage. The grand old landmarks of Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral stand shoulder to shoulder with the Millennium Dome and the London Eye in a living metropolis of evolving architecture. These great structures are now joined by a rather different structure – The Shard.

Stretching just over 1000ft upwards, this oddly pointed structure resembles a Shard of glass piercing high in to the London skyline.

What’s ‘the point’ of the Shard?

Landmark buildings are more than just architectural flamboyance but a compelling advert for both their city of location and for what lies within. As great structures of the world frequently set new records for tallest building and with world architecture already awash with buildings of grandeur, shape seems to be the new height. London’s ‘Gherkin’ completed in 2004 is both distinctive and familiar as a shape – impressively transposing a familiar vegetable into a skyscraper with surprising success. Similarly The Shard replicates a familiar shape, this time a shard of glass, unfamiliar to structural design. However whilst The Gherkin’s exterior sheen and location in the heart of the City of London alludes to its corporate interior, The Shard leaves rather more of a mystery.

What will be inside the Shard?

Along with office space and exclusive residences, The Shard will also house a shopping centre, various international restaurants and the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel and Spa, with impressive views promised from the top four floors. The ground floor of The Shard will be a public area with seating and planting. As the interior of The Shard takes shape, this new London landmark promises an exciting venue for London days out and London corporate hospitality.

Facts about The Shard

  • The Shard is 1016ft (309.6m) high
  • 72 floors
  • 11,000 glass panels
  • The individual glass panels of the shards exterior are inclined gently inwards stretching from the ground to the top of the building
  • These ‘shards’ do not touch, leaving open corners and allowing the building to breathe.
  • Designer Renzo Piano is said to have been inspired by 18th century London spires and the masts of sailing ships.

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