The Shard + London's New Skyline

Posted on by Lauren M

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest in international architecture news, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about The Shard by architect Renzo Piano in recent weeks. At 310 meters (1016 feet), it has the singular status of being the tallest building in not only London, but all of Western Europe.


Officially inaugurated last week, the glass structure located at the South Bank of the Thames River is already a defining feature of the city skyline, though it won't officially be completed until February 2013 when the much-anticipated Viewing Gallery, offering 360 degree views of the city, opens to the public. For a sneak peek from the top, check out this 360 degree interactive panorama.


Considered the ‘centerpiece of the historic London Bridge Quarter’ and described as the Vertical City, The Shard incorporates commercial, hospitality and residential spaces, as well as and restaurants and retail. The landmark building is also a key component of the redevelopment plan at the existing infrastructure hub, where a new transit station and public spaces aim to revitalize opportunities and activities in the urban realm.

Named for its design concept, The Shard employs about 11,000 panes of glazing to convey the aesthetic of 'a shard of glass through the heart of historic London'- a metaphor for the city’s capacity for reinvention.

From the website: Well-connected and comprehensively serviced by central London's transport infrastructure, facilities and amenities, the Shard is a timeless reminder of the power of imagination to inspire change.


Of course, there are a wide range of opinions regarding the addition to London’s urban fabric, with countless articles, opinions, and reviews on the design and its anticipated impact on the site… We’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve had the opportunity to see the process first-hand!

Until then, however, the film below is a great example of construction time-lapse, showing several months' progress from varying locations throughout the city.

Another well-executed film beautifully documents the city from a birds-eye perspective, providing imagery of The Shard in the larger context of London's well-known landmarks. 'Dusk and night aerial footage over London' from Jason Hawkes is a unique visual experience of London from above.

...And for those feeling adventurous, make sure to check out this great Domus article, Scaling the Shard by Bradley Garrett, featuring the stunning images and story of the urban explorers who climbed to the top of The Shard in the darkness of night several months ago. It not only offers some of the most eye-catching images taken of London from various construction sites, but provides further insight into urban exploration. More photos and details on ‘Climbing a Shard of Glass’ can be found at placehacking, a great site to explore for those interested in a different perspective of the public realm...