Construction work has started on the 306 metre-high building, which will sit
on an irregular-shaped site adjacent to London Bridge station as part of a new
development called London Bridge Quarter.
The design consists of several glass facets that incline inwards but do not
meet at the top, and is inspired by the masts of ships that once anchored on the
The 72-storey building contains offices, apartments, a hotel and spa,
retail and restaurants and is topped by a 15-storey public viewing gallery (below).
The Shard will replace the 1970’s Southwark Tower building on Bridge Street
which has since been demolished in preparation for construction, which is due to
be completed in 2012.
Here’s some text from Sellar Property Group, the developer:
THE SHARD AT LONDON BRIDGE QUARTER – A WELCOME ADDITION TO THE LONDON SKYLINE
The Shard is one of the most enigmatic buildings to adorn the London skyline
in recent years. The vision of its creator, the much lauded Italian architect
Renzo Piano was for a vertical ‘City in the Sky’; and the Shard at London Bridge
Quarter with its mix of offices residences, hotel, restaurants and viewing
platforms will herald a new era in high rise development for London and will
become emblematic when all eyes look towards the city in 2012.
Increasing density in central London, particularly near major public
transport nodes, is key to London’s future development. Improving the efficiency
of the public transport system and maximising the use of space around transport
hub is essential.
Given the Shard’s location above one of London’s key commuter stations, bus
interchange and two main underground lines, a high density development was
deemed not only possible but very desirable.
At an inspiring height of 306 metres (1,016 feet) and with a total 72
occupied floors reaching skyward into a breathtaking 15 story spire, the Shard
London Bridge Quarter is set to be the tallest building in Western Europe.
The Shard immediately adjacent to London Bridge Station will rest elegantly
on the London skyline, providing a welcome new symbol for the world financial
capital. The Shard replaces the Southwark Tower, a 1970’s building located on
London Bridge Street.
The Shard offers high density vertical development at a transport hub and
will be the UK’s first truly mixed use tower, devised to interface with London
on many levels.
The master architect, Renzo Piano, designed the Shard as a ‘vertical city’
that includes a public piazza, 586,509 sq ft (54, 488 sq m) of world class
office space, an exclusive collection of residential apartments which will be
the highest residential apartments in the UK and will be serviced by Europe’s
first 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, retail space, restaurants, and a public viewing
This will all ensure that it becomes the beating heart of a regenerated
London Bridge Quarter. Inspired by the spires of London’s churches and the top
sails of the ships that used to moor on the Thames, the Shard will be a light
and elegant presence in London’s skyline. 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.
The Office Space
The Shard offers 54, 488 sq m (586,509 sq ft) of flexible prime office space
and is set to become the premier commercial address in London. Over 45% of the
Shard has already been pre-let to Shangri La (floors 34-52) and to Transport for
London (floors 4-10). The remaining available office space offers all the
amenities one would expect from a desirable central London address. The highly
flexible floor plates are efficient and effective with space nett internal floor
area ranging from 2,790 sq m (30,032 sq ft) to 1,349 sq m (14,521 sq ft). A key
feature of the office floors is the naturally ventilated winter gardens.
These spaces were first devised by Renzo Piano for his acclaimed Aurora Place
skyscraper in Sydney, Australia. These multifunctional areas make the most of
the stunning views across the Thames and from Hyde Park in the West to Canary
Wharf in the East from the Shard. The winter gardens can be used for a variety
of purposes and allow occupants to enjoy natural light and air within the office.
The offices within the Shard are accessed via a dedicated entrance on the
concourse level of London Bridge Quarter. The office entrance also benefits from
direct access to London Bridge mainline station, the bus station and the Jubilee
and Northern lines on the Underground.
The first Shangri-La Hotel in the UK will occupy floors 34-52 of the Shard
and will contain 195 rooms and suites. The hotel will operate on the simple yet
powerful philosophy of a warm, efficient and seamless service that has made the
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Group famous. The Hotel will also feature a
signature Shangri-La Spa on floor 52, which is available to guests as well as
the residents and workers in the Shard and London Bridge Place. The Hotel also
has its own entrance on St Thomas Street with valet parking and taxi drop off
point directly outside.
An exclusive collection of apartments at the Shard are arranged on floors
53-65 and are the highest elevation residences in the UK. With their amazing
vistas across the London skyline they will be one of the most coveted addresses
in the world. The apartments will be the ultimate in sophisticated and
contemporary living, with each being custom designed to the resident’s exact
specifications. The apartments will also benefit from all the services and
facilities of the Shangri-La Hotel. To ensure the maximum levels of privacy
synonymous with an exclusive address, residents at the Shard will have their own
private entrance on St Thomas Street.
The Public Viewing Galleries
Uniquely, the Shard will be open to the general public who can visit the
viewing platforms on floors 68-72. These viewing galleries offer breathtaking
360° views across London. The viewing galleries are accessed directly from an
entrance on the mezzanine level at below ground level so that visitors do not
cross over with any of the other users of the building. The galleries are
expected to attract over half a million visitors a year and with visibility at
800 ft (almost double the height of the pinnacle of The London Eye) are certain
to become a major tourist attraction.
The Shard will be a striking new addition to the London skyline, commanding
panoramic views across the capital doubling the height offered from the London
Eye. The Shard will become the tallest building in London as it reaches the
maximum height allowed by the Civil Aviation Authority with unobstructed views
thanks to its proximity to the river.
The Shard will contain an exciting mix of world class restaurants and cafes
for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. With its prime location on
top of a major transport interchange, the Shard is expected to become a
destination in its own right with people travelling from across London and the
rest of the UK to dine in one of its restaurants (located on floors 31-33) and
experience the highest view in the United Kingdom.
The development of the Shard and the creation of London Bridge Quarter has
provided the opportunity to transform the transport facilities at this major
London transport interchange. London Bridge Station is one of London’s busiest
railway stations, with an average of over 350, 000 journeys through the station
In addition to a new concourse for London Bridge Station, a bigger bus
station will be constructed to the north of London Bridge Place with 15 bus
routes, as well as riverboat and taxi stands. The train and tube stations will
be extended covering an impressive 61 underground and 247 rail destinations.
London Bridge Quarter will also include a significant new public square with
ever changing art installations, cafes and places for visitors to the area to
By bringing the soul back into the heart of the city, London Bridge Quarter
will benefit not only tenants and residents of the Shard but also the local
community by becoming a vibrant public space for everyone to enjoy. When
completed in Spring 2012, the Shard London Bridge Quarter will be an awe
inspiring part of the London skyline.
With its hotel, restaurants, luxury residences, flexible premium office space
and public viewing galleries the Shard is a welcome addition to this long
overlooked area of Central London. The Shard will form the nucleus of London
Bridge Quarter, a large scale regeneration program for the area by Sellar on
behalf of LBQ Ltd. This far-reaching program will improve the local district and
reinforce the importance of this gateway destination for the benefit of all of