The Shard

Hi everyone, since last week the days had gotten unbelievably colder, you wouldn’t think that Spring was around the corner, what with having bouts of snow up and down the country, it feels more like winter than the start of Spring. The seasons are all messed up right now, and because the days and nights are colder than what it usually is this time of year, will be the reason many of you are feeling unwell right now.

My husband has been poorly since the weekend and as the days have gone by, he has gotten a lot worse, it wasn’t until he had a phone call from the doctor where he was told he’s caught a virus that as been going around. When his work was informed, they were not impressed about him not being at work as they expect him to go in regardless of being poorly, even though his job means he interacts with the public every day.

Anyway, on with this week’s blog post about The Shard which had begun construction on the building twenty-four years ago today (March 16, 2009) and took just over three years to complete (July 5, 2012). Meet the developer and the architect behind this amazing architectural masterpiece, who brought us The Shard, as without them it simply would not exist, well not like this, as it could have looked so different.

The Shard is known by many different names, such as; the Shard London Bridge, and formerly by London Bridge Tower. This spectacular skyscraper stands magnificently tall in all its glory at 1,016 feet high. It simply takes your breath away from the moment you set eyes on it, and if you do manage to get up to the highest accessible point, you will find yourself looking out across the city, where you can see from all directions for miles. Even from the ground the exterior and interior are just as exquisite, you need to soak in every part of it, and see how it was constructed with the utmost precision, with every use of modern elements that makes it stand out for all to see, and it stands far above all the other buildings in the city, it spectacularly dazzles you with its architectural structure. This was designed by the master of creations, Italian architect Renzo Piano in Southwark, London, which forms part of The Shard Quartet Development.

The Developer: Irvine Sellar

Irvine Sellar is a London-based entrepreneur, he was born Irvine Gerald Sellar (September 3, 1934 – February 26, 2017). He grew up in Southgate, London, where he worked on the markets with his father, left school at sixteen and studied accounting, but decided to go out to work instead. Irvine’s career first started as an English fashion retailer, where he opened a chain of shops throughout London before it became well-known worldwide. Eventually, he sold the fashion chain to a South African Investor. Irvine decided to take his career in a different direction, and with his knowledge of retail, he incorporated into his future career of becoming a property developer, where he went on to become the founder of The shard.

The Architect: Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano was born in Genoa, Italy (September 14, 1937), his destiny was set from the moment he was born, as he came from a family of builders. His grandfather started a masonry enterprise, which it was expanded by his father and his brothers, they in turn created the firm Fratelli. While Renzo branched into architecture and studied at the University of Florence and Polytechnic the University of Milan, and finally graduated with a dissertation. Renzo went on to teach for three years at the Polytechnic University of Milan and then went on to expand his knowledge by working under two large international firms, for the modernist architect Louis Kahn in Philadelphia and for the Polish engineer Zygmunt Stanislaw Makowski in London. He would go on to design numerous well-known architectural projects throughout the world, and eventually go on to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. A few years later Irvine Sellar approached him to become the architect of The Shard, and a masterpiece was created.

The Shard is 309.6 metres (1,016ft) high, however, if you measure all the way up to the tip, it’s 310 metres. easily making it Western Europe’s tallest building.

There are ninety-five storeys, with level seventy-two being the highest accessible.

The viewing platform at The View from The Shard ascends to 244 metres, offering unparalleled views over London for up to forty miles.

The Shard is the tallest building in the UK and Western Europe; the fourth tallest building in Europe and the ninety-sixth tallest building in the world, with the Burj Khalifa topping the list at 828 metres high.

The Shard wasn’t always known by its current name, it was formerly called the London Bridge Tower. Alternative names for the building are Shard of Glass and Shard London Bridge, but everyone refers to the structure as “The Shard.

The construction features 11,000 glass panels, The area of the glass facade adds up to 56,000 sq. metres (602,779 square feet), which is the equivalent of eight football pitches!

It has 306 flights of stairs and forty-four lifts, including double-decker lifts.

The average speed of the lifts in the Shard is 6 metres per second.

Reception Area, Shangri-La Hotel, at the Shard

Architect Renzo Piano designed the Shard as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames.

Piano took inspiration from the London spires depicted by the eighteenth-century Venetian painter Canaletto as well as the masts of sailing ships.

Piano sketched his idea on a restaurant napkin while meeting property developer Irvine Sellar in March 2000. According to Piano’s architectural firm, RPBW, Sellar keeps the famous napkin in his offices

The concept of the Shard originated from English fashion retailer turned property developer, Irvine Gerald Sellar. He was the founder of the Sellar Property Group.

The Shard is based on Sellar’s imagining of a ‘vertical city’ with multipurpose use. Sellar and his team envisaged a structure that had a variety of spaces within. Of the accessible floors, twenty-seven are used for offices, three are purely for restaurants, eighteen are part of the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, and thirteen are used for private residences. There are two service floors, with five floors used for observation. The final twenty-three floors are taken up by the spire.

Construction costs are estimated to be a staggering £435 million.

The Shard can be seen from forty miles in any direction, and The View from The Shard provides views for up to forty miles across London. Step outside the Montcalm Hotel London and it won’t take you long to catch a glimpse of the spire.

The total floor space is eleven hectares (27 acres).

Retail Arcade

Over one million people visited The View from The Shard within its first year of opening.

Ninety-five per cent of the construction materials are recycled and twenty per cent of the steelwork is from recycled sources, making the Shard very environmentally friendly.

Further to this, the Shard is made from triple-glazed glass, with a layer of sun-shielding glass in between the inner and outer sheet meaning that it has good energy efficiency.

The design was influenced by the irregular nature of the site. Each facet forms a shard, a plane of glass gently inclined inwards, rising towards the top. The corners of the development are open, and the shards do not touch, allowing the building to “breathe.”

The thirty-fourth to fifty-second floors is commandeered by the Shangri-La Hotel, which has 202 luxury guest rooms available.

The most expensive accommodation is the Shangri-La Suite, which offers unbeatable skyline views, a jacuzzi bath, a bottle of champagne and a private one-way transfer from any London airport. You also receive the attention of your own personal butler, for the rate of £10,000 per night.

The Shangri-La’s infinity pool, the aptly named Sky Pool, is located on the 52nd floor, making it Europe’s highest swimming pool.

There are six restaurants and bars within the Shard, each with very different menus and styles – Bar 31, Aqua Shard, Oblix, Hutong, TĪNG and GÔNG.

Sky Lounge & Bar

Looking for the highest restaurants in town? Boasting incredible views, floors thirty-one to thirty-three are home to three different restaurants from Modern Northern Chinese cuisine to contemporary British fare. Head further upstairs to the fifty-second floor for some of the highest drinks in the city.

Located on level fifty-two, GŎNG Bar is the highest hotel bar in Western Europe and offers incredible views with your sunset cocktail. Their cocktail menu, A Miscellany of Inventions, is inspired by the greatest inventions of all time, including the hot air balloon, helicopter, Penicillin and the barcode.

Viewing platform, The View from The Shard host regular Silent Discos where guests can dance the night away above the twinkling lights of the city.

A fox called Romeo made himself at home at the top of the Shard during its construction. After being discovered by the construction workers on the seventy-second floor, he was captured and taken to the Riverside Animal Centre in Wallington where he was fed and checked out before being released back into the wild.

Since his discovery, Romeo has become a mascot for the Shard. Romeo plushes are available for sale at the tower, with the proceeds going to a local charity. They can be found in some of the rooms at the Shangri-La too.

As a classically romantic proposal venue, the Shard even offers a ‘proposal package’ which enlists the services of Kate Macdonald to coordinate the perfect moment. The package includes 30 minutes of exclusive hire of The View from The Shard, champagne for two, a personalised soundtrack and a goodie bag. You also have a personal proposal concierge to ensure the experience runs as smoothly and as romantically as possible.

On March 12, 2016, a mystery man snuck his parachute into The Shard and base jumped from The View from The Shard. Upon landing safely outside Borough Market, the man abandoned the parachute and fled to the Underground station at London Bridge before police officers could take pursuit. His identity is still unknown.

On July 11, 2013, six Greenpeace female activists scaled the Shard to send a message to Shell, in protest to their plans to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic. The women, all experienced climbers, began their 16-hour climb at 4.20am by clambering onto the roof of London Bridge Underground Station. Upon reaching the summit, they unfurled a flag brandishing the message “Save the Arctic”. The women were subsequently arrested; however, their daring appeal gathered the support of the media and bemused onlookers.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day, and I will see you back here next week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.