Renzo Piano‘s latest project, the Shard, has recently moved to the construction phase. The 1,016 ft high skyscraper will be the tallest building in Western Europe and will provide amazing views of London. The mixed use tower, complete with offices, apartments, a hotel and spa, retail areas, restaurants and a 15-storey public viewing gallery, will sit adjacent to London Bridge station as part of a new development called London Bridge Quarter. Replacing the 1970′s Southwark Tower on Bridge Street, the Shard is a welcomed addition to the London skyline, and its central location near major transportation nodes will play a key role in allowing London to expand.
More about the tower after the break.
Known for his elegant, light and detail oriented building, Piano’s Shard consists of several glass facets that incline inwards but do not meet at the top. Inspired by the towering church spires and masts of ships that once anchored on the Thames, the Shard’s form was generated by the irregular site plan and open to the sky to allow the building to breath naturally.
Planned as a “vertical city” to address the city’s growing population and need to maximize space, the Shard’s program varies to provide a functional central structure for London. The ground level will include a public piazza with restaurants and cafes, in addition to areas for art installations. The 50,000 sqm of office spaces include naturally ventilated winter gardens while the 195 hotel rooms and exclusive apartments located on the upper floors showcase beautiful views. While the Shard offers luxurious spaces sure to be coveted by companies and residents, the building also caters to the public with viewing platforms on floors 68-72. Accessed directly from an entrance on the ground level, these viewing galleries are expected to attract over half a million visitors each year.
The mixed program is attractive to many and will allow the Shard to help London’s future development. The Shard is due for completion in 2012.
As seen on Inhabitat.