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The Shard, London (2000-2012)

This skyscraper is located next to the London Bridge Station. The aim of this multi-use tower is promote sustainable urban development (high density and next to public transport). It is 310 m tall, making it the tallest building in Europe.

The lower floors are offices, bigger than the upper ones due to the building’g pyramidal structure, the middle ones, resturation, hotels and public spaces; right above, private residences and at the top of the tower, a public viewing site.

I chose this building because it englobes the essence of Piano’s architecture: one made for the people, with the objective of improving life quality as well as walking towards sustainable architecture.

The name:

This building’s name comes from the eight ‘shards’ of glass that converge at the top of the building. They form the particular pyramidal geometry of the building that dissapears into London’s sky. As it is the city’s tallest building, this helps not to modify London’s skyline in a harsh way. This particular aspect, building respectfuly, was one of the main concerns of RPBW, as they are caracterized by a respectful approach to the placement and impact of the building in its surroundings.


Sustainability is always present in RPBW works, and the Shard is not an exception. As I mentioned before, this building is meant to contribute to the high-density development of this area of London. High-density development is a way to solve some of the sustainability issues modern cities have (mainly movility). With this, they have created a hotspot in the city, well connected with the rest of it thanks to being close to public transport nets.

Uses of the building:

According to the shards official page, this bulding’s aim was to create a full vertical city; with parks, recreation, offices, hotels, restaurants… And the work has been well executed.

From floors 2 to 28, The Shard is an office building; well connected to the public transport net. Right up the offices, there are resturants and bars. The well known hotel is right in the heart of The Shard. The private apartments are located above the hotel, where they can have a 360 view of the city thanks to the building’s slimness. Last but not least, 240 m above ground level, there is a viewing gallerie, the tallest one of the UK.

All in all, THe Shard is a caompact vertical city, which leads once again to sustainabiblity, the space it occupies is very little compared with the uses it has.

Resource: The Shard


Renzo Piano Building Workshop (2021). RPBW – The Shard. Retrieved from

WikiArquitectura – Edificio Shard Londres. Retrieved from

The Shard (2015). The Vision | The Shard. Retrieved from