Update: The Shard / Renzo Piano

© Andy Spain Photography

The 70-story mixed use tower even while under construction is the tallest building in London’s skyline. Adjacent to London Bridge Station, the building offers increased density to a major public transport node, a key to and suggestive of future London development. London based architectural photographer Andy Spain shared with us photographs he took a few weeks ago of The Shard under construction.  Be sure to take a look at our previous coverage of The Shard.

More images after the break, including drawings and renderings from Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Adamson Associates
Location: London,
Client: Sellar Property Group

© Andy Spain Photography

Improving the efficiency of the public transport systems and maximising the use of space around the resultant nodes are essential. This view is being actively promoted by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. Given the site’s location above one of London’s key commuter stations, bus interchange and 2 main Tube lines, a high density development was deemed not only possible but desirable.

© Andy Spain Photography

The building will be 306 metres tall with a total floor area of 90,000 square metres. Conceived like a small vertical town in which ten thousand people will work and more will commute to and from, the tower is a holistic response to the sustainable development of the European city.

© Rpbw

Designed like a sharp crystal pyramid, the building is meant to be a light and elegant presence in London’s skyline. Inspiration for the shape comes from the spires of London’s churches and the top sails of the ships that used to moor on the Thames. The plan is generated by the irregular nature of the site. Each facet forms a shard, a plane of glass gently inclined inwards, rising towards the top. The corners are open and the shards do not touch, allowing the building to breathe. In turn the glass surface fragments as it rises and the tower dissolves into the sky.

© Rpbw

Also, a building of this scale must be accessible, open to the public, giving Londoner’s the feeling that the building belongs to them. All of the lower levels are given over to public functions and public viewing platforms are situated at the mid and top levels.

© Denance Michel

The variable size of the floor plates is ideal for a mixed use development. At the bottom the large deep floor plates are for offices, the middle floors an apartment hotel and the top floors apartments.

© Denance Michel

Through the extensive use of the latest energy saving techniques and materials, the building will need 30% less energy than typically required by conventional tall buildings.

A ventilated double skin façade will considerably reduce heat gain and increase comfort levels close to the facade while permitting the maximum natural day light. Excess heat generated by the offices will be used to heat the hotel and apartments. Any additional excess will be dissipated naturally through a radiator at the top of the tower. Naturally ventilated winter gardens with operable louvre windows will be located on each floor and will allow the occupants to connect with the outside environment.

Cite: Minner, Kelly. "Update: The Shard / Renzo Piano" 12 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=126348>
  • Joelmir Reyes

    “At the bottom the large deep floor plates are for offices, the middle floors an apartment hotel and the top floors apartments.” it sounds like Le Corbusier…

  • Florian Michael Baumgartner

    The Return of the Babylon Tower. Metropolis is back. I guess it is going to be in alot of movies as background for epic fight szenes or dramatic heli scenes

  • linsheng yang


  • vahid

    i just can say THAT renzo is the “GOD of ARCHITECT” really , really and really . . .

  • Pierre

    How does he do it?
    Everything he does seems so perfect.
    It’s an amazing thing to witness but at the same time makes me realize how human we all are in comparison…