For over a hundreds of years, there was a zoning law in London where no structure would be allowed to surpass the height of St. Pauls’s Cathedral, which is located on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of London. it was the tallest from building in London from 1710 to 1962.
Now, this zoning law has been dropped and London has awakened to the 21st century design trend of skyscraper building. One of these is the giant,Shard-Towerjutting shard of glass in the skyline called the Shard Tower, formerly London Bridge Tower.
This 95-story skyscraper located in Southwark, London is the tallest building in the European Union. Designed in neo-futuristic style by architect Renzo Piano, construction began in March 2009 and was completed in July 2012. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors with a viewing gallery and an outdoor observation deck on the 72nd floor.
The Shard stands at 1,004 feet. Piano was inspired by railway lines, London spires depicted by 18th century Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of sailing ships. The Shard was designed to be energy efficient, as most modern-day skyscrapers. It’s fitted with a combined heat and power plant that operates on natural gas from the National Grid. Fuel is converted to electricity and heat is recovered from the engine to provide hot water for the building.
After the destruction of World Trade Center on September 11th, architects and structural engineers around the world began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard’s initial conceptual designs were the first in the UK to be changed following the publication of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology report into the collapse of the WTC. The Shard is designed to be stable under very severe conditions with its post-tensioned concrete and composite floors, load-bearing pillars and a tapering shape that gives it a sway tolerance of 16 inches.
The Shard is currently home to the highest champagne bar in the UK as well as home to the luxury hotel Shangri-La. There have also been many brave souls that BASE jumped and parachuted off the tower. This brilliant piece of architecture is not one to miss next time you find yourself in London.