The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper in Southwark, London.
Standing 309.6 meters (1,016 feet) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the fourth-tallest building in Europe and the 105th-tallest building in the world.
It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station.
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.
The architectural style of the Shard is Neo-futurism.
The Shard was conceived as a building with multiple uses: a vertical city where people could live, work and relax.
The Shard’s construction began in March 2009 and was completed on 30 March 2012.
The building 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 total construction cost is estimated to be £435 million.
An impressive 95% of the construction materials are recycled.
The total floor space is 110,000 square meters (1,200,000 square feet).
There are 44 lifts, including double-decker lifts. They travel at speeds of up to 6 meters a second.
There are 306 flights of stairs.
The length of wiring in the building, 320 kilometers (200 miles), would stretch from London to Paris.
Its 11,000 glass panels have a total area of 56,000 square meters (602,779 square feet), which equals eight football pitches.
The Shard’s energy efficiency is boosted thanks to triple-glazed glass, with a layer of sun shielding glass sandwiched between the inner and outer sheets.
The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors.
It has 25 floors of office, three floors of restaurants, a 17-story hotel, 13 floors of apartments and a triple-height viewing gallery, as well as an open-air viewing floor on level 72.
The approximate price of each of the ten apartments between the 53rd and 65th floors is from £30 to £50 million.
The most exclusive room at Shangri-La hotel costs £14,000 a night.
The Shangri-La hotel’s swimming pool is located on the 52nd floor; It is Europe’s highest swimming pool.
From floors 68-72, and 244 meters (800 feet) above the city, the View from the Shard offers visitors unobstructed 360-degree, 65-kilometer (40-mile) views across the London skyline and beyond. After opening in February 2013, it welcomed 1 million guests in its first year.
The name “The Shard” is derived from the architect’s description of the development as a “shard of glass” during planning stages.
The Shard is jointly owned by The State of Qatar (95%) and Sellar Property Group (5%).
You can see the Shard from 65 kilometers (40 miles) away, from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary.
The Shard is kept shiny by a team of six abseiling window-cleaners. They tackle one side each week, and after finishing the fourth side they start back at the beginning, so their work is never done.
In 2014, the Shard claimed first place at the Emporis Skyscraper Awards, recognising buildings over 100 meters (328 feet) 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”.
A fox was found on the 72nd floor towards the end of construction. The fox, which was nicknamed Romeo by staff, is believed to have survived on food left by construction workers. The animal was rescued and later released back into the wild.
On 3 September 2012, a team of 40 people, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York, abseiled 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.
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 260 meters (850 feet). In March 2016 another person BASE jumped from The Shard.
The Shard appears briefly in the background of an establishing shot of the 2006 movie Children of Men, which is set in 2027. The Shard, which began build in February 2009, was in planning stage at the time of the production of the 2006 movie. The producers used architectural drawings to create it for the background of the movie scene.