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

‘the shard’ by renzo piano, london, england with view towards canary wharf image © sellar




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.


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.

‘the shard’ is located within the london bridge quarter image © sellar

view from tower bridge image © sellar

‘the shard’ along the london skylineimage © sellar

light show inauguration image © sellar

view from millennium bridge image © michel denancé

panorama image © michel denancé

image © sellar

the facadeimage © sellar

office entrance image © sellar

winter garden image © sellar

restaurant image © sellar

viewing gallery image © sellar

spire image © sellar

the 360 degree views from ‘the shard’ lookout decksimage © sellar



site image © renzo piano building workshop



site 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



section 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:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news