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Who Designed and Built The Shard

The Shard, also known as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge or London Bridge Tower, is a 72 story building located in London, England. The building is 306 m (1,004 ft) high, which makes it the tallest building in the United Kingdom and the European Union. The building is best known for its unique triangular shape. The building is home to offices, a hotel, residences, shopping and restaurants. It also features a popular public viewing gallery. Let’s find out who designed and built this impressive structure.

The Shard opening night light show in 2013
The opening of The Shard in 2013, featuring a light show.
(original image DAVID ILIFF)

The design for the building was completed by multi award winning Italian architect Renzo Piano. Ironically, when he was first approached to design the building he expressed his dislike for tall buildings. However, he came up with the early design that day when he sketched a unique iceberg-like structure on the back of a restaurant menu! The inspiration for his design came from the masts of sailing ships, London spires and the railway lines near the site of the building.

The project management for this project was awarded to Turner & Townsend and the structural engineers were WSP Cantor Seinuk. The Robert Bird Group and Ischebeck Titan provided the concrete works. The main contractor for the building was Mace. Construction began in March 2009 and the building was completed in July 2012 for the official opening in February 2013. The initial cost of the building contract was £350 million, but this increased to £435 million before construction had even begun!

Did you know?
The design on the building was criticized by the English Heritage Commission, which believed the modern building would stand out in historical London. They went on the record to say that the building would be “a shard of glass through… historic London.” The name stuck and the building has since been known as The Shard!

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