The tallest structure in England, the Shard in London, boasts 95 storeys. This skyscraper situated in Southwark in London saw the laying of its foundation in March 2009. The construction was complete in March 2012 and opened to the public on 6 July 2012, but had its observation deck only completed on the 1st of February, 2013. The pyramidal part of the skyscraper contains 72 floors, with an observation deck on the 7th floor.
The Shard tower also is known as the Shard London Bridge, Shard of Glass or London Bridge Tower is 1,016 ft high. When compared to global skyscrapers, the London Shard holds the 87th place among them. However, it is the tallest in the European Union and the fourth tallest in Europe. While the Shard holds the second most towering position in the UK, the skyscraper at the transmitting station at the Emley Moor holds the first place among the tallest buildings in the UK.
Architect Renzo Piano designed and constructed the Shard. Sellar Property Group was the developer of the Shard along with LBQ Limited. At present, the Qatar government and Sellar Property jointly hold ownership of the tower. Irvine Sellar, the owner of the Sellar Property, and his partners took the initiative of the government to develop the Southwark Towers, which was there since 1970. Then he contacted Italian architect Renzo Piano, and they met in Berlin.
During this meeting, Piano suggested that conventional constructions would not beautify London but innovatively designed buildings. He sketched the idea he held on the menu card of the restaurant inspiring the developer very much. However, the plan was opposed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment along with several other environmentalists. After that, the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott called for an inquiry into the proposed project.
A discussion later held in April and May of 2003 and its result published on 19 November 2013. Based on the final report, the Deputy Prime Minister approved the plans of the Shard. His announcement on the day showed that he was impressed very much by the innovative design of the tower and hoped that the new construction would add significant value to the city in the future.
Sellar along with his partners CT Limited and CLS Holdings secured a fund amounting to £196 million Sterling Pounds in September 2006 from Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander and the Nationwide Building Society to carry out the development work of the Shard. After paying out for the original tenants of the Southwark Towers, the demolition of the old towers took place in September 2007. But it was later stopped because of the financial setback.
In November, Mace, a building contractor, took over the project and restarted the construction for a set price. But by 2008, the limit of the set price overlapped and neared to about 435 million Sterling Pounds. By 2009, the old construction was completely demolished, and the new development took place.
Today, Shangri-La Hotel occupies floors from 34 to 52 of the Shard in London. Oblix, Aqua Shard, and Hutong restaurants occupy the floors starting from 31 to 33rd. Foresight Group installed their head office on the 17th floor of Shard in May 2014. After that, famous firms such as Al Jazeera Media Network, Gallup and Office Group, IO Oil and Gas, and Robert Half International also moved their head offices to the Shard making the tower a most sought after location in London.