A new London icon, the Shard, originally referred to the Shard of Glass or London Bridge Tower climbs a jaw dropping 95 storeys or 1016ft (310m) into the London skyline. It forms a central part of the recently redesigned London Bridge Quarter, and is at present the tallest building in the UK. With 11,000 panes of glass, London Duck Tours does wonder how much its window cleaners must charge! And remember no streaks!
Reflecting London’s History
Designed by architect Renzo Piano who envisioned The Shard as a spire like crystal emerging from the River Thames. The design was inspired by the elegantly tapering spires of the London churches as depicted by Canaletto, and the high-masted ships that would sail up the Thames in previous centuries. The effective use of glazing across the entire Shard enable the skyscraper to reflect the London in which it exists, the sunlight and sky from above, and the light affected by the British seasons.
A Shard with a view
Started in 2009 after years of legal wrangling and dispute around its controversial futuristic design, it was officially opened in July 2012. Within are several visitor experiences, including a viewing gallery and observation deck, exclusive restaurants and bars, and office space. The “View from the Shard” is a privately run experience (fee charged) opened in early 2013.
Anyone for vertigo?
Officially described as a “pyramidial tower”, the jutting glass structure has 72 habitable floors. The astonishing open air observation deck on the 72nd floor – not for those with vertigo – gives spectacular views across the Capital. You can even have a photo taken of you and the view as a memento!
Environmentally friendly and award winning, The Shard is energy efficient, equipped with its very own internal CHP or combined heat and power plant. The fragile looking structure is in fact designed to withstand a wobble of 16”, and with its concrete composite floors, is a very study structure indeed.
At London Duck Tours we especially love a sophisticated sunset cocktail in the salubrious bar on the uppermost floor of the Shard, whilst gazing across the stunning London skyline– bottoms up!