The Shard in January 2013
|Location||32 London Bridge Street
|Construction started||March 2009|
|Completed||July 2012 (opened February 2013)|
|Cost||~£435 million (contract cost only)|
|Antenna spire||309 m (1,014 ft)|
|Roof||284.7 m (934 ft)|
|Floor count||87 (including plant floors)
|Floor area||110,000 m2 (1,200,000 sq ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Sellar Property Group|
|Structural engineer||WSP Cantor Seinuk (structural engineers), Robert Bird Group (concrete temporary works), Ischebeck Titan on most floors 40+ (concrete support)|
The Shard,[a] also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is an 87-storey skyscraper in London that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. 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. Its privately operated observation deck, The View from The Shard, was opened to the public on 1 February 2013.
Standing approximately 309 metres (1,014 ft) high, the Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station. 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 244.3 metres (802 ft). It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. The Shard was developed by Sellar Property on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by Sellar Property and the State of Qatar.
In 1998, London-based entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and his then partners decided to redevelop Southwark Towers following a UK government white paper encouraging the development of tall buildings at major transport hubs. Sellar flew to Berlin in spring 2000 to meet the Italian architect Renzo Piano for lunch. According to Sellar, Piano spoke of his contempt for conventional tall buildings during the meal, before flipping over the restaurant's menu and sketching a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames.
In July 2002, the then-Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, ordered a planning inquiry after the Shard development plans were opposed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and several heritage bodies, including the Royal Parks Foundation and English Heritage. The inquiry took place in April and May 2003, and on 19 November 2003, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced that planning consent had been approved. The government stated that:
Mr Prescott would only approve skyscrapers of exceptional design. For a building of this size to be acceptable, the quality of its design is critical. He is satisfied that the proposed tower is of the highest architectural quality.
Sellar and his original partners CLS Holdings plc and CN Ltd (acting for the Halabi Family Trust) secured an interim funding package of £196 million in September 2006 from the Nationwide Building Society and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. This enabled them to pay off the costs already incurred and to buy out the Southwark Towers occupational lease from the building's tenants, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Vacant possession of the site was secured a year later, after PricewaterhouseCoopers completed the relocation of their operations.
In September 2007, preparations for the demolition of Southwark Towers began. However, later in the month, turbulence in the financial markets reportedly put the Shard's construction in jeopardy, threatening to render the project an example of the Skyscraper Index.
In November 2007, building contractor Mace was awarded the contract to build the Shard for a fixed price of no more than £350 million. However, this price increased to almost £435 million in October 2008.
In April 2008, demolition of Southwark Towers was visibly under way, and by October, the building had been substantially reduced in height, and was no longer visible on the skyline. The demolition was completed in early 2009, and site preparation began for the construction of the Shard.
In late 2007, the gathering uncertainty in the global financial markets sparked concerns about the viability of the Shard. However, in January 2008, Sellar announced it had secured a consortium of Qatari investors who had paid £150 million to secure an 80% stake in the project. The consortium included Qatar National Bank, QInvest, Qatari Islamic Bank and the Qatari property developer Barwa Real Estate, as well as Sellar Property. The deal involved a buyout of the Halabi and CLS Holdings stakes, and part of the Sellar Property stake. The new owners promised to provide the first tranche of finance, allowing construction of the tower to begin. In 2009, the State of Qatar consolidated its ownership of London Bridge Quarter, including the Shard, through the purchase of the private Qatari investors' stakes. London Bridge Quarter is today jointly owned by the State of Qatar and Sellar Property.
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 56,000 square metres (600,000 sq ft).
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 the 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 progressed following the publication of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report into the collapse of the WTC. The building was 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 metres completed in the previous twelve months. In a statement, the building was hailed as "a skyscraper that is recognized immediately and which is already considered London's new emblem".
|Floors||Floor area||Space designation|
|68–72||758 m2 (8,159 sq ft)||The View from the Shard (observatory)|
|53–65||5,772 m2 (62,129 sq ft)||Residences|
|31–33||5,945 m2 (63,991 sq ft)||Restaurants (Hutong, Oblix and Aqua Shard)|
|18-28||52,322 m2 (563,189 sq ft)||Offices|
|17||Warwick Business School|
|16||Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera UK London Studio and Offices|
|3–15||54,488 m2 (586,504 sq ft)||Offices|
|1–2||6,036 m2 (64,971 sq ft)||Retail and office reception|
|Ground||Hotel, restaurant and observatory entrances|
In February 2009, a mobile crane and a small piling rig appeared on site. 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. Demolition work on New London Bridge House started in May 2009, as part of the concurrent London Bridge Place project. The first steelwork went into the Shard's piles on 28 April.
Five cranes were used to build the Shard, with four of them 'jumping' with the tower as it rose. Crane 1 was erected in September 2009 and Crane 2 was erected at the beginning of October. By 20 October 2009, steel beams began appearing on site, with concrete being poured at the northern part of the site, ready for Crane 3.
By March 2010, the concrete core was rising steadily at approximately 3 metres (9.8 ft) a day. After a pause in March–April 2010, it continued rising, reaching the 33rd floor in mid-June, almost level with the top of Guy's Hospital, which stands at 143 metres (469 ft). On 27 July 2010, the core stopped rising, having reached the 38th floor, and was reconfigured for further construction.
By mid-November 2010, the core had reached the 68th floor, with the tower's steel reaching the 40th floor and glass cladding enveloping a third of the building. In late November, the core's height exceeded 235 metres (771 ft), ending One Canada Square's 18-year reign as Britain's tallest building.
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. On 25 January 2011, the concrete pumps began pouring the first concrete floor at the 41st floor. By the end of February 2011, concrete flooring had risen to the 46th floor, with a new floor being poured on average every week. The cladding of the structure also progressed, mainly on the tower's "backpack".
August 2011 saw steady progress in construction, with cladding enveloping more than half the building's exterior. Pouring of the concrete floors reached the 67th floor, and progression on the tower's cladding reached the 58th floor. By mid-August, the core box had been removed. By 19 September 2011, the tower's steel was approaching the height of the completed core, reaching almost 244 metres (801 ft). On 24 September, a final crane – at the time, the tallest ever built in Britain – was erected to install the skyscraper's upper spire. The spire was pre-fabricated and pre-assembled based upon 3D models, and underwent a "test run" in Yorkshire before being lifted onto the building itself. By late December 2011, the Shard had become the tallest building in the European Union, superseding the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany.
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 306 metres (1,004 ft).
The Shard was inaugurated 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 inauguration ceremony featured a large laser light show, comprising twelve lasers and 30 searchlights, which illuminated the building on the London skyline. Practical completion of the building was achieved in November 2012.
Standing 309 metres (1,014 ft) at its highest point, and 284.7 metres (934 ft) at the highest point of its steelwork, the Shard became the tallest building in the European Union in December 2011, and the tallest completed building in Europe on 30 March 2012. It thus surpassed Frankfurt's Commerzbank Tower, which, at 259 m (850 ft), was Europe's tallest building between 1997 and 2005. Thereafter, the Shard successively exceeded the heights of three Moscow skyscrapers, the Triumph-Palace, Naberezhnaya Tower, and City of Capitals, each of which had held the European height record for roughly 2.5 years. However, upon its completion in November 2012, Moscow's 339-metre (1,112 ft) Mercury City Tower replaced the Shard as the tallest in Europe. The Shard may eventually be surpassed as the EU's tallest building by the 323-metre (1,060 ft) Hermitage Plaza building, which is planned to be completed in La Défense, Paris, in 2017.
The Shard is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the 330-metre (1,083 ft) concrete transmission tower at Emley Moor. Another London skyscraper, the Pinnacle, was originally proposed to rival the height of the Shard, but was reduced to a height of 288 metres (945 ft) because of concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority.
In February 2013, the Sunday Times reported that the developers of the Shard were in negotiations to secure the first tenants of the building's 25 floors of office space. In May 2013, the Daily Mail reported that only six of the Shard's 72 habitable floors were in use, as a combination of high prices and poor situation discouraged buyers. Potential other tenants included financial restructuring specialists Duff & Phelps, private equity firm Hatton Corporation and the South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas Company.
The Shard's 31st, 32nd and 33rd floors host three restaurants: Oblix, Hutong and Aqua Shard. The building's Shangri-La Hotel, occupying floors 34–52, was initially expected to open by the end of 2013, but its opening was ultimately delayed to 6 May 2014. In May 2014, the Foresight Group, an investment firm, moved its head UK office into the Shard on the 17th floor.
In July 2013, the Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera Media Network announced that it would open a new television studio and newsroom for Al Jazeera English in the Shard. The channel moved in to the Shard on 13 September 2014, and their first live broadcast from the building took place on 10 November 2014. In March 2014, Mathys & Squire became the first law firm to take tenancy in the building.
Urban exploration, BASE jumping and climbing
In December 2011, a group of recreational trespassers calling themselves Place Hackers evaded security and made their way to the top of the Shard building site, climbing one of the tallest cranes in the process. They later posted photographs of the London skyline taken from the top of the Shard on the Internet and received wide media attention. One member of the group, Oxford University researcher Bradley Garrett, later revealed to various news outlets that over 20 urban explorers had made their way to the top of the building during its construction. In a 2012 article for Domus magazine, Garrett wrote that "the conceptual barrier to places in our cities is brought about by a process of engineered exclusion" and that the explorers were "cultivating the creative city that money can't buy".
In addition, BASE jumpers reportedly jumped from the Shard more than a dozen times between 2009 and 2012. Four jumps were reportedly made by Essex roofer Dan Witchalls, who had filmed one attempt with a helmet-mounted camera. The highest jump was said to have been from a height of 850 feet (260 m).
On 3 September 2012, a team of 40 people, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York, rapelled from the tower's 87th floor. This feat was performed to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. In November 2012, the French urban climber Alain Robert was spotted in the building by security guards. At the end of the month, the Shard's owners won an injunction to prevent him from entering or climbing the building.
On 11 July 2013, six female Greenpeace volunteers scaled The Shard and unfurled a flag in protest against Arctic oil drilling by Royal Dutch Shell. The women announced they were 'experienced climbers', but medical personnel were summoned to the base of the tower nonetheless. The Shard's staff closed the tower's observatory and gave the women a safety briefing and other advice during their climb. After completing their 16-hour climb, the six were later arrested by police on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
In popular culture
- The Shard appears in the 2012 short film The Snowman and The Snowdog and its tie-in computer game.
- The Shard has a significant role in the 2013 Doctor Who episode "The Bells of Saint John". In the episode, people working for the Great Intelligence use it as their headquarters. The Doctor reaches the leader Miss Kizlet's office by riding an anti-gravity motorcycle up the side of the building.
- The View from The Shard
- List of tallest buildings and structures in London
- List of tallest buildings in the world
- Similar structures
- The building's operators officially stylise its name as The Shard, with the word "the" capitalised.
- "The Shard Opens Viewing Deck To Visitors". Sky News. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "The Shard, London: Cost of Europe's Tallest Building". TheRichest.org. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "The Shard – The Skyscraper Center". Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Piano, Renzo (2013). The Shard: London Bridge Tower (in English and Italian). Matador. p. 74. ISBN 978-88-6264-006-0.
- The Shard: The Official Guidebook. Thames & Hudson (2013). p.22. ISBN: 9780500342848.
- The Shard at Emporis. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Bar-Hillel, Mira (24 February 2009). "£28bn Shard of Glass to start its ascent". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Work starts on Shard of Glass". New Civil Engineer. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "London Bridge Tower, London". Designbuild-network.com. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Weaver, Matt (15 April 2003). "Battle begins for London Bridge Tower". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- "Shard funding crisis: Tower finances cast shadow over project". World Architecture News. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Why do tall buildings have such silly names?". BBC News. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- "Shard Tops Out". Skyscrapernews.com. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Shards of light cut through the sky above London in dress rehearsal for opening ceremony of Europe's tallest building". Daily Mail. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "The Shard opens up to share its high, wide and handsome view". The Guardian. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- "The Shard may open for events, but not until late 2013". Event. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "Emley Moor". TheBigTower.com. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Whitten, Nick (20 May 2009). "Shard observation deck to be Europe's highest". Cnplus.co.uk. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Qatar and Sellar buy new London Bridge Quarter site". CoStar UK. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Bourke, Chris (20 January 2010). "Shard Developer Sellar to Seek Highest Office Rents Since 1980s". New York: Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- Milmo, Cahal (25 July 2002). "London's 'Shard of Glass' must face public inquiry". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "'The Shard' set to change the London skyline". Londonoffices.com. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Sudjic, Deyan (18 May 2003). "Sold down the river". The Observer (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Weaver, Matt (19 November 2003). "'Shard of glass' set to join London skyline". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "Shard construction moves closer with £196 million deal". London SE1. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- Lane, Thomas (2007). "Imagine that you are on level 80 and you want a sandwich. How long will that take you?". Building (36) (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Monaghan, Angela (17 September 2007). "London's tallest skyscraper grounded by global credit crunch". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Richardson, Sarah; McMeeken, Roxane (17 October 2008). "Mace's price for Shard rises by almost £85m". Building (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Rogers, David (2 April 2008). "Cleveland Bridge favourite for Shard of Glass steel prize". Construction News (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Thomas, Daniel (23 January 2008). "Qataris back London's 'Shard'". Financial Times (London). Retrieved 3 February 2013. (registration required (. ))
- "History of The Shard, London Bridge". Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Kenneth Powell (2003). New London Architecture. Merrell. ISBN 1-85894-232-2.
- "Key facts". Turner & Townsend. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "The Shard Combined Heat and Power Plant". Clarke-Energy.com. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Shard at London Bridge Tower". Structure. June 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "The Shard – Europe's tallest building". Engineering & Technology Magazine. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- CNN Staff (20 May 2014). "World's best new skyscraper is ...". CNN. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "Explore the Shard – Vertical City". The-Shard.com. 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Al Jazeera London, The Shard". Billionpoints.de. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- "Shard Building Report". Estates Gazette. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "Shard Tower Crane Rises". Skyscrapernews.com. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Matt Brown (10 February 2010). "In Pictures: The Shard Rises Damnably Fast". Londonist.com. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Kennett, Stephen (30 April 2010). "The Shard: Foot of the mountain". Building. London. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- Glancey, Jonathan (23 November 2010). "Shard to become EU's tallest building – but will the market follow it up?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Eyewitness: The Shard". The Guardian. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Crane Gives Dizzying Bird's Eye View of London". Sky News. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Prigg, Mark (15 November 2011). "Now comes the Shard part ...". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Qatar's Shard the tallest building in Europe now". Gulf Times. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Shard's spire now in place on Europe's tallest building". BBC News. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "London's Shard gets spire to become Europe's tallest building". Metro. UK. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "April 2012 News". Londonbridgequarter.com. April 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Shard owners shatter abseiling ambition of Hague Snr". The Independent. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- 'The sky's the limit' (Editorial). Financial Times (London). 6 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012. (registration required)
- "Russia's Mercury City tower cuts the Shard down to size". The Guardian. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Toppled by the French! London's Shard will soon lose title of Europe's tallest building to Hermitage Plaza in Paris". Daily Mail. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "The Pinnacle". Emporis. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Almost empty after a year ... The Shard turns into the tallest white elephant in the world". Daily Mail. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "At last, Shard lures tenants". Sunday Times. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "Shard Said to Get Duff & Phelps as Tower's First Tenant". Bloomberg. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Restaurant: Oblix, London". The Guardian. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Hutong at The Shard". The Handbook. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- "Aqua Shard". Time Out. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "Excitement builds for Shangri-La's summer opening at The Shard". Hospitality Interiors. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Shard's luxury hotel hit by fit-out delays". Building.co.uk. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Shangri-La London opens in the Shard". The Daily Telegraph. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "May 2014 news". The-Shard.com.[dead link]
- "Al Jazeera to open new TV studio in The Shard". London Evening Standard. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Al Jazeera moves into the Shard". The-Shard.com. 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
- Joanne, Harris (21 March 2014). "IP firm Mathys & Squire becomes first firm to move into Shard". The Lawyer. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Kate, Allen (13 February 2014). "Shard finds more tenants as Irvine Sellar steps up lettings". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Trespassers reached top of London's Shard skyscraper". BBC News. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Shard hacking: group sneak to top of Europe's tallest building". The Guardian (London). 9 April 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Garrett, Bradley (9 July 2012). "Scaling the Shard". Domus. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Matthew Holehouse (13 April 2012). "Base jumper films himself parachuting off The Shard four times". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Cooke, Jeremy (3 September 2012). "Prince Andrew abseils down Shard". Southwark, London: BBC. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Prince Andrew To Leap Off Shard Skyscraper". Sky News. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Forget the Green Goblin ... Shard to stop French 'Spiderman' Alain Robert – with an injunction". The Independent. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Greenpeace protesters reach summit of The Shard in London". BBC. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "The Snowman and the Snowdog, Channel 4". The Arts Desk. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "The Bells of St John heralds Doctor Who's return". Doctor Who News. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- Powell, Kenneth (2003). New London Architecture. London: Hugh Merrell. pp. 218–219. ISBN 1-85894-232-2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shard London Bridge.|
- Official website
- The Shard on CTBUH Skyscraper Center.
- The Shard Special. Estates Gazette. 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- Live daylight webcam image via Google Sites.
- Internal and external photos of the Shard via Shardldn.com.
One Canada Square
Tallest building in London
309 metres (1,014 ft)
One Canada Square
Tallest building in the United Kingdom
309 metres (1,014 ft)
City of Capitals
Tallest building in Europe
309 metres (1,014 ft)
Mercury City Tower
Tallest building in the European Union
309 metres (1,014 ft)