If you’ve ever been to London before, it’s likely you’ve seen The Shard! Even if you don’t know what goes on inside, you’ll spot it on the skyline for miles around.
Here’s a stack of interesting and fun facts about The Shard, one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
- The Shard is located on the Southbank of the River Thames, right next to Tower Bridge in London.
- There are around 11,000 different glass panels which make up The Shard – likely making it one of the hardest window-washing jobs on the planet!
- In fact, the window cleaners employed at The Shard abseil from the top down. They clean one side of the building a week, meaning that every month, they have to begin again.
- It’s one of the most responsibly built structures in the UK. That’s because around 95% of its construction is thought to be made from recycled material.
- There are 87 floors in the building, but only 72 of them are actually in physical use. Six of them, believe it or not, will never come into use! That’s because they make up the tight spire towards the top of the building. These levels are purely architectural with no practical purpose.
- The Shard measures in at 1,016 feet tall (309.6 meters).
- It was designed by an Italian architect, Renzo Piano.
- Construction started in March 2009 and was completed in July 2012. It was opened on 1st February 2013.
- While it’s thought to be the tallest building in Western Europe, The Shard is actually around the 59th or 60th tallest in the worldwide rankings. There are many skyscrapers out in the East which tower over it!
- It is, however, the second tallest structure in the UK classed as free-standing. The tallest is Emley Moor Tower, which is a radio transmitter in Yorkshire.
- If you fancy scaling The Shard, you’ll need to traverse over 300 flights of stairs! It might be quicker to take a lift – there are 44 of them.
- The lifts are super-fast – they will take you up the building at a rate of six metres every second.
- The Shard consists of several different services and business. There’s an observation deck on the 72nd level, with 25 floors dedicated to offices, three floors given to a gallery, and even 13 floors housing flats and apartments. You’ll even find a 17-floor hotel here (the Shangri-La), as well as a further three floors given to restaurants.
- Moviegoers got a vision of the future Shard three years before it was built, thanks to 2006’s Children of Men. The post-apocalyptic movie is set in the year 2027, and therefore, the film studio involved created The Shard from provisional drawings – it wouldn’t start appearing on the skyline until 2009.
- An urban fox managed to find its way up to the 72nd floor of The Shard! Luckily, it was rescued – though quite how it got there is still a mystery!
- If you were to lay out the total floor space in The Shard out flat, it would take up 27 acres of land.
- The glass construction all around is also said to cover the total area of eight full football pitches!
- How much did this all cost to build? A cool £435 million – and that’s just the basic construction!
- The Shard’s owners are the State of Qatar (95%) and Sellar Property Group (5%).
Why is the Shard called the Shard?
The architect of the Shard, Renzo Piano, designed the building to appear as a splinter of glass, emerging from the Thames. This was met with much negativity from English Heritage who said the building would be like 'a shard of glass through the heart of historic London, giving birth to the building’s name, The Shard.
Is the Eiffel tower higher than the Shard?
The Eiffel Tower is actually taller than the Shard, but isn’t classified as a building. The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters to the tip, and the Shard is 310 meters.
How much did the shard cost?
Building the Shard wasn’t cheap at a cool £435 million – and that’s just the basic construction!