The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 95-storey supertall skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development. Standing 309.7 metres (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 metres (801 ft). 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 (95%). The Shard is managed by Real Estate Management (UK) Limited on behalf of the owners.
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.
Text from Wikipedia.
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