In Progress: The Shard / Renzo Piano

Flickr user © Nicnac1000

Renzo Piano’s Shard is quickly climbing up ’s skyline.  The 1,016 ft high skyscraper will provide the mixed use density the city needs, as it incorporates apartments, office space, a spa, hotel and restaurants within its sleek pyramidal form.  Inspired by perhaps a ship’s mast from the Pool of , or a modern take on the church spire, the Shard will become a prominent fixture in the skyline as it nears it completion.  Check out these images  illustrating the Shard’s progress – the crisp aesthetic commonly found in Piano’s projects is becoming evident as the low-iron glazing is applied to the structure.

More images after the break.

Flickr user © Nicnac1000
Flickr user © Nicnac1000
Flickr user © Nicnac1000
Flickr user © Allhails
Flickr user © Allhails

Be sure to view our coverage of the tower here.  Images from Flickr users: Nicnac1000, Allhails,and  Cybertect

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "In Progress: The Shard / Renzo Piano" 13 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 17 Sep 2014. <>


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    I have been a skeptic of this Piano building since it was first proposed and at the time thought that its one potential saving grace could be the masterful detailing synonymous with Piano projects. That is why I am pleased to see the same lightness, transparency and rigor in the built curtain wall that was so exaggerated in the proposal.

    There have been numerous criticisms of the Shard for its form, its height, its lack of context, its materiality… but there is much more to a skyscraper than its vertical component. To be a successful urban design the base of skyscrapers must be wholly integrated into the existing urban fabric with a level of detail and scale found in its surroundings. Commenting from the available renderings and personal experience with other Piano works this could very well become the endearing strong point for the design. Yet, until this aspect of the Shard is completed I will reserve final judgment and I hope London does the same.

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    The quality of the cladding is excellent, but the real icing on the cake will be the crown of the building.

    I guess I speak for most Londoners when I say I’m very much look forward to going up to the observation floors once the shard’s complete. It’ll be the best vantage point in the city.

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    I have to agree with Henry that the key to the success of this building is its integration into the urban context at the ground level. From some of the earlier renderings it appears that there is a 2 level entrance lobby that invites in visitors. The part that appears to be most successful about this entrance is the light shading that comes out over both levels. Rather than having the person on the sidewalk or street stare straight up, it almost protects them from the harsh height and angle of the building, and directs them to come inside. Of course if the viewer wanted to appreciate the height of the building, the shading appears to be fairly translucent.

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      …and of course it wards off all the slipping rain water which would hit the pedestrians! (would be funny without it :) )

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    This will be a beautiful masterpiece once completed. I can’t wait to see the final result. I feel this building will be different from other tall skyscrapers in that it will have a more delicate aura due to the precision Piano is known for — but the shards on top will balance that delicacy with its pointed accuracy.

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    I also agree with Henry, the elegant detailing that is known through Piano’s work that can be seen in a couple of the photographs provided transforms the building into what i first thought, was just another excuse for London to add to its skyline. However, i now am really excited to see the progression and especially just how the materiality is used throughout the interior.

    I still think the preliminary sketch is nothing short of a masterpiece though…

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    The main issue I have with this tower is that all the most interesting formal moves with the curtain wall are at the top, where they are all but invisible from the street. That being said, from what we see here and in the renderings, it looks like this will be a beautiful building.

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    I agree with Brad that some of the more interesting moves are invisible from the street, however people on the street are not the only people viewing the building. I think the building will probably read better as a whole from a distance. It also seems that the view from one of the upper floors down would allow a person to see some of those interesting moves.

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    How will the building appear at night? Will it be lit up with lights, Or have some sort of beem or light at the top like some skyscrapers have?

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