Construction of The Shard began this week and by the time of its completion, in early 2012, London will be the host of one of Europe’s tallest buildings and one of the most techno – logically advanced towers ever built.
The tower to stand at 1,017 feet (310 m) tall and have 72 floors, plus 15 further radiator floors in the roof, making it the tallest building in the country. Renzo Piano, the building’s architect, worked together with architectural firm Broadway Malyan during the planning stage of the project.
The Shard tower was announced with the hope that it would be the tallest building in Europe on completion, surpassing Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Tower, which at 849 ft (259 m) had been the tallest building in Europe since 1997. The Commerzbank has since been surpassed in height by two Moscow skyscrapers, Triumph-Palace and Naberezhnaya Tower, both of which the Shard tower would, in turn, surpass. However, since 2000, construction has started on three skyscrapers in Moscow that will rise higher than the Shard tower, including the 2,009 ft (612 m) Russia Tower that is now on hold. Even though the Russia Tower is on hold the other two, the Federation Tower East and the Mercury City Tower are still scheduled to be completed before the shard. Still, if completed on schedule, the Shard London Bridge may become the tallest building in the European Union.
Like the Empire State Building in NYC, Sears Tower in Chicago, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, The Shard at London Bridge will become a recognizable symbol of London throughout the world.
Architecturally breathtaking, the concept behind The Shard was designed within seconds in a Berlin restaurant by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, a few years ago. “The tower is designed to be a sharp and light presence on the London skyline, and to be sustainable from every point of view: human, technological, energetic and economic.” Says Piano and he really means it.
The Shard has many sustainable credentials and is expected to use around 30% less energy than other comparable buildings and will also be a virtually car-free building. Can you imagine that? A 320 meter building with parking space for only 47 cars! Modern offices and efficient, flexible spaces suitable for a range of different working environments. A hotel, to be operated by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts as their first European location, would be expected to take up around a fifth of the available space in the tower. A large pre-let for office space in the tower has been agreed in principle by Transport for London. World recession? We’ve read that 40% of the building has been leased.