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The Shard

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The Shard
Shard London Bridge, London Bridge Tower, the Shard of Glass


Structure in General

existing [completed]
core plus outrigger
composite structure
curtain wall
active heating (unspecified)


residential commercial office hotel
restaurant café bar swimming


  • The building has been officially inaugurated on July 5, 2012.
  • At the lower levels, the tower extends the existing public concourse and opens up routes connecting Guy's Hospital, King's College and the southern residential areas to the business communities stretching along the river.
  • Southwark Towers was demolished to make way for the building.
  • The Shard's extensive use of energy-saving materials and techniques contributes to the building using 30% less energy than other high-rises of comparable dimensions.
  • Following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the London Bridge Tower was structurally redesigned to improve stability and reduce evacuation times.
  • The tower's design features angled glass façade panels which result in a multiformity of changing reflected light patterns.
  • The tower's form and proportions recall the church spires of the City and the masts of ships which plied their trade along the adjacent Thames.
  • The tower is environmentally friendly and at 306m (1,003ft) is Western Europe’s tallest habitable building.
  • The project is a response to the Mayor’s policy of promoting high density development at key transport nodes.
  • The Shard is the first skyscraper in Western Europe to both reach and exceed 1,000 feet in height.
  • Unlike other cities such as New York or Hong Kong, the Shard is not part of an existing cluster of high rise buildings. References included the masts of ships docked in the nearby Pool of London and Monet’s paintings of the Houses of Parliament.
  • The project was given final approval following a Public Inquiry on 19th November 2003.
  • The building opened the gallery with 360 degree panorama views of London in February 2013.
  • The internal areas are used as follows: public areas on floors 1 to 3; offices on floors 4 to 31; a mid-level public area and viewing gallery on floors 34 to 36; a hotel on floors 37 to 51; 114 apartments on floors 52 to 64; and an upper viewing gallery on floors 65 to 66.
  • The building's design has been described by the architect as resembling a sharp, crystal pyramid.
  • The lower level is devoted to 27 office floors.
  • The building features a concrete frame which sits atop one made from steel.
  • Each floor features naturally ventilated 'winter gardens' with operable louvre windows.
  • The construction contract for the project was signed with Mace in late February 2009.
  • Europe's highest public viewing gallery in a building is situated at 244 metres (800 feet) on levels 68 to 72.
  • The building's façade is both double-skinned and ventilated, thus reducing solar gain whilst maximising light intake. In the “fractures” between the shards opening vents provide natural ventilation to winter gardens.
  • The main structural element is the slip formed concrete core in the centre of the building. It houses the main service risers, lifts and escape stairs.
  • Floors 34 to 52 are occupied by a 185-room Shangri-La hotel. It opened on May 6, 2014.
  • The original design for this project, by Broadway Malyan, featured a circular tower of 87-storeys, 365-metres in height. This design was then replaced by an 80-storey, 390-metre design by Renzo Piano, described by many as a 'shard of glass'. Due to further consultation, a height of 310-metres was decided on, and the tower was reduced to 66-storeys.
  • The building's movement is not restricted with any form of damping. Extra rigidity has been attained by employing a 'hat truss' at the building's top, which comprises outriggers that connect the perimeter columns to the core.
  • The lowest of the two public viewing galleries is situated at 121 metres (397 feet) and features 5-star restaurants.
  • Residential units are situated at heights from 192 metres (631 feet) to 224 metres (735 feet) and are the tallest in London.
  • Excess heat generated by the offices is used to heat the hotel and apartments, whilst any superfluous heat is dissipated naturally via a radiator atop the building.

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More Information


32 London Bridge Street
31 St Thomas Street
Shard Quarter
United Kingdom


CTBUH Skyscraper Award – Best Tall Building Award - Europe (2013)

Technical Data

1,003.94 ft
1,003.94 ft
801.51 ft
801.51 ft
Mar 2009

Involved Companies

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Features & Amenities

  • Double-decker elevators present
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Observation floor is available
  • Raised floors are available
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