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Top 10 Facts about The Shard in London


You cannot miss this imposing building in the London skyline along River Thames. This building is one of the most recognized in the world.

It opened its doors in 2013 and has garnered popularity among local and foreign tourists.

The Shard offers the highest viewpoint of the city better than the London Eye.

It has a total of 95 floors and is 1,106 feet tall earning it the title of being the tallest building in the city. In the world ranking, The Shard is the 108th tallest.

All the floors on this building have fascinating information. There are more facts about this building that I will share today.

Here are the Top 10 Facts about The Shard.

1. The design of the building was inspired by its surrounding

The design of The Shard was inspired by the surrounding environment. The architect, Renzo Piano, first drew the rough plan on a piece of paper.

He used a wooden shard to create a model of the building after he conceived the idea. The inspiration of the building was from the railroad tracks near River Thames.

Piano, the architect, loved the perspective of the tracks and how the lines integrated.

The building was therefore designed to be part of the outlook to create an illusion of an iceberg rising in the river.

This building has an open-top that allows it to ‘breath’. It has a steep design resembling church spires from historic London.

2. It’s the tallest building in Western Europe

By Ввласенко – Wikimedia

The Shard stands at 306 metres tall and was the tallest building in Europe until two towering skyscrapers were built in Moscow.

It has 95 storeys, the tallest in the UK and the fourth tallest in Europe and the 105th tallest in the world.

The construction of The Shard began in 2009 and was completed in 2012 followed by an inauguration the same year.

The observation deck on The Shard was open to the public in 2013. 72 floors are occupied housing a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor.

3. The Name Shard of Glass and why it stuck

Piano’s design of the building was not embraced by many during its inception. Many people referred the building to be just a shard of glass.

The critics thought that it was going to be an eyesore amid historic London. From that criticism, Piano borrowed the name the Shard and stuck to it.

He further added a spire-like structure at the top similar to most in the London skyline.

4. The Shard is an eco-friendly building

By valadi, Sam – Wikimedia

Although many opposed the construction and design of The Shard, Piano had better ideas for the building.

He used 95% of recycled material to construct the skyscraper. It is one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the United Kingdom.

The remains from the Southwark’s Tower office building that was demolished, were used to construct The Shard which now stands in its place.

What’s more, is that each floor on The Shard is 100% soundproof. This was achieved by using special screed isolation material on each floor.

There are only 48 car parking spaces in The Shard. This ensures that there is less carbon emission since most visitors use public transport.

5. The Shard is a vertical city

An interesting fact about The Shard is it is a city within a building, hence the term vertical city.

When Piano was designing the building, he not only wanted to create the tallest building in Europe but one that served different needs.

27 of the floors are office spaces, 3 restaurants, 18 floors are for the five-star Shangri-La hotel, 13 residences, 2 service floors and 5 observation floors. The remaining floors cover the spire.

The first sketch of this building was drawn on the first meeting between Piano and the building owner.

6.  The Shard was once home to a fox named Romeo

A fox nicknamed Romeo was discovered on the 72nd floor of the Shard in 2011.

The fox was surviving on food scraps left by construction workers and is believed to have reached that far through the 306 flight of stairs.

He was rescued by the Riverside Animal Centre who later released him to the wild, Romeo became the unofficial mascot of The Shard.

7. The Shard is equipped with an innovative blind control system

Photo by Simon Stratford on Unsplash

Piano ensured that The Shard’s construction included a blind control system. This innovation regulates the blinds such that they provide shade by blocking the sun’s rays.

The visitors and other residents of The Shard are therefore protected from sunburn and glare from the sun. It also makes the building cool.

Throughout out the day, the blinds automatically adjusts itself providing shade whenever necessary.

However, they obstruct the views of the city. The building changes its appearance in different weather.

8. Construction of The Shard was opposed by many

The construction plans of The Shard were officially submitted in 2002.

Several people were opposed to the construction including organizations like the Royal Parks Foundation and English Heritage.

Leaders from a nearby Cathedral opposed it too stating that it would cast a shadow over the church due to its size and height.

There were protests in London that stated the building would be ruining the skyline of Historic London area.

This did not stop the approval of the plan which was granted a year later.

9. The Shard windows are cleaned manually

By Colin- Wikimedia Commons

Cleaning of the Shard is done manually. There are about 11,000 panes of glass on the entire building.

Six ropes are used by the cleaners who work on one side of the building for a week It takes the six workers, four weeks to clean all the four sides then start all over again.

Just before its official opening, a window cleaner had a mishap when the cradle he was on became unstable. The winds were fast that day and he was on the 72nd floor.

Firefighters came to his rescue, luckily, he suffered minor injuries.

10. The View from The Shard is on the upper floors

The View from The Shard is a tourist attraction found on the upper floors of this building. Visitors can get amazing views of the city of London.

One of the observation decks houses an indoor gallery situated on the 69th floor. There is also a partially open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor.

This observation deck known as Skydeck is 244m up on the 72nd floor. The View from The Shard is made up of three floors, that is the 68th, 69th and 72nd floor. They have interactive multimedia telescopes.