renzo piano’s ‘the shard’ racing ahead for completion all photos by cybertect




earlier this week italian architect renzo piano‘s shard building, currently under construction near london bridge, became the tallest building in the UK. the shard’s concrete core has now passed the 770ft (230m) mark on the journey to its final height of 1,017ft (310m) – it outgrew the previous holder, canary wharf tower in docklands, which stands at 235m (771ft). when it is completed in 2012, the shard, will also become the tallest in the EU at 310m.


the building contains 586,509 square feet of office space, residential apartments, europe’s first five-star rated shangri-la hotel, retail space, and restaurants. the building will be topped by a 15-storey public viewing gallery. the shape of the tower is generous at the bottom and narrow at the top, disappearing in the air like a 16th century pinnacle or the mast top of a tall ship. the architecture of ‘the shard’ is firmly based in the historic form of london’s masts and spires.


piano has implemented a sophisticated use of glazing, with expressive facades of angled panes intended to reflect light and the changing patterns of the sky. this will enable the form of the building to change according to the weather and seasons. the building will complement the irregular nature of the site. each façade of the building is a flake of glass tending inward and rising to the top, resembling a glass pyramid. the top corner of the tower is open as the glass shards or flakes do not touch each other. this is conceived as the breathing space for the tower.


renzo piano: shard tower   UK's tallest building workers cleaning the glass facade


renzo piano: shard tower   UK's tallest buildingfor more images of renzo piano’s ‘shard’ building see cybertect’s flickrstream


renzo piano: shard tower   UK's tallest building


renzo piano: shard tower   UK's tallest building


renzo piano: shard tower   UK's tallest building comparison of the tallest tower’s in the UK