The Shard: A Vertical City
What do you get when you cross a skyscraper, a pyramid, and 11,000 panels of glass? If you are familiar with London, then The Shard probably comes to mind immediately. In reality, The Shard is the brain-child of Italian architect Renzo Piano - noted for the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, California Academy of Sciences, and Centro Botin. The Shard is currently the tallest building in the UK and the seventh tallest building in Europe.
The Shard From the Ground Up
The reality of The Shard is a type of irregular pyramid. This means that the base of the pyramid shape is not a polygon. As the building moves upward toward the sky creating a vertical city, the floors get skinner toward the spire at the top. There are 44 elevators, 306 FLIGHTS of stairs, 28 floors of living space, and 72 floors of office/retail space.
"The tower has 72 floors that can be used for offices, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK's highest.. The Shard was designed with an irregular pyramidal shape from the bottom to the top and is covered entirely in glass." (source)
Observation Deck of The Shard
The tip of The Shard does not come together at the top on purpose to allow for an open air experience from the observation deck. Like shards of glass breaking off of the building at the top of the spire, the glass sweeps up from the foundation to the top only to fragment in the sky and provides a breath-taking twist on Modern architecture.
"The Shard's steel structure was topped out on 30 March 2012, when its 66-metre, 500-tonne spire was winched into place. The steel structure thus reached a height of 308.7 meter. The final 516 panes of glass were added shortly after, topping the tower out at its full height of 309.6 m." (source)
Recycling Buildings & Construction Materials
The Shard currently stands where the 24-story office building Southwark Towers was built in 1975. To create a modernist building focused on the the environment, designers, architects, and builders used recycled materials.
According to the Guardian UK,
"95% of the construction materials are recycled and 20% of the steelwork is from recycled sources."
Learn more about the history and construction of The Shard.
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