renzo piano: the shard in london opens to public
renzo piano: the shard in london opens to public renzo piano: the shard in london opens to public
jan 21, 2013

renzo piano: the shard in london opens to public

formally named ‘the london bridge tower’, but now commonly referred to as ‘the shard’ by italian architect renzo piano has been complete since the summer of 2012 and officially opens to the public on february 1, 2013. currently considered the tallest building in western europe, the needle-point structure stands 309.6 meters above the new london bridge quarter in the south bank district and is home to a number of programs including office space, restaurants, 5-star shangri-la hotel and residences.

‘the shard’ is located within the london bridge quarter
image © sellar (also main image)



situated at the top on floors 68, 69 and 72 are platforms, with the one on the uppermost level standing at twice the height of any other viewing deck in london offering panoramic lookouts of 64 km (40 miles). here, at the highest public level, 244m above ground – accessed by elevators travelling approximately 6 meters per second – one will experience the structural pieces of the glass that form the top of ‘the shard’ and disappear into the sky. a centerpiece to the 2 million square meter development, the 72-storey mixed-use tower was inaugurated with a nighttime light show, which combined 12 lasers and 30 searchlights to celebrate the skyline’s newest addition. read more about ‘the shard’ and see images of the construction phase on designboom here.

view from tower bridge
image © sellar

‘the shard’ along the london skyline
image © sellar

light show inauguration
image © sellar

view from millennium bridge
image © michel denancé

image © michel denancé

image © sellar

the facade
image © sellar

office entrance
image © sellar

winter garden
image © sellar

image © sellar

viewing gallery
image © sellar

image © sellar

the 360 degree views from ‘the shard’ lookout decks
image © sellar

image © renzo piano building workshop

image © renzo piano building workshop

site plan
image © renzo piano building workshop

top detail section
image © renzo piano building workshop

renzo piano’s sketch
image © renzo piano building workshop

image © renzo piano building workshop

mid level piazza
image © renzo piano building workshop

renzo piano’s sketch
image © renzo piano building workshop



project info:


country +start/end date: london (uk), 2000 -2012
client: sellar property group
destination of use: offices, residential, hotel, restaurant, café, commercial
total floor area: 126.712 sqm (gross); 83.104 sqm (net)
height: 306m / 72 public floors / 87 total
gross floor area: 126,712 m² / 1,374,692 sqft
offices: levels 4-28 : 55,277 m² / 595,000 sqft
restaurant: levels 31-33 : 2,608 m² / 28,073 sqft
hotel: levels 34-52 : 17,562 m² / 189,037 sqft – 200 rooms leased to shangri-la hotels
residential: levels 53-65 : 5,788 m² / 62,302 sqft – 10 apartments
viewing gallery: levels 68-72 : 1,391 m²/14,973 sqft
car parking: 48 spaces in car stacking machine
lifts: 44 lifts + 8 escalators
staircases: 306 flights
gross floor area: 31.4 acres
the piece: glass panels
how many pieces: 11.000

joint owner: state of qatar
joint owner: sellar property group
funding: qatar national bank
developer: sellar property group

architect: renzo piano building workshop

principal contractor: mace

project manager: turner & townsend

quantity surveyor: davis langdon
structural engineer: wsp cantor seinuk

services engineer (the shard): ove arup and partners
services engineer (the place): wsp buildings
commercial agents (the shard): knight frank, jones lang lasalle
commercial agents (the place): cbre, colliers international


*we have updated this article originally published on july 6th, 2012 with additional images and info.

  • helo
    very good thanks

  • Great work! Renzo, my respect to you!!!

    yoon-boum says:
  • Very neat light show! It reminds me a bit of the Luxor, with its pyramid top.

    btp says:
  • I think the Shard is gorgeous. It is perfect for London because of the contrast and the dynamic futuristic shape, ethereal and soaring to the sky… Renzo Piano you are a star.

    Liz says:
  • Very good.

    maj says:
  • What happened? The concept is beautiful. Fractured glass. Organic. A little terrifiing. Cutting edge. The implemetation is a square office tower with slanting sides. Unfortunate.

    JA says:
  • a nice plaace for office

    iman pirvali says:
  • shard is a british dream و Beautiful and Magnificent. شارد يك روياي انگليسيست ، زيبا و با شكوه

    Iman Pirvali says:
  • Beautiful sketches!

    Marloes says:
  • Magnificent!

    Orhan Nalın says:
  • I love Renzo Piano’s work. Fits great into the London city scape, and unlike Norman Foster’s city hall and Gherkin, this building really starts putting London on the map as a skyscraper city to be reckoned with. I wonder if London’s height and line of sight regulations for historic structures have been altered, since this is on the opposite side of the Thames.

    LincolnHo says:
  • BTW, I love London’s love-hate relationship with contemporary architecture. I mean how many cities name their buildings with such playful names like the ‘gherkin’, ‘pickle’, ‘shard’, ‘eye’? Even the Big Ben lol. The only other city would be Barcelona with the NSFW name I would give the Agbar Tower. =P

    LincolnHo says:

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