interesting facts about the Shard

18 Towering Facts About The Shard

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 fun facts about The Shard, one of Europe’s tallest buildings…

1. The Shard is Tower’s Bridge next door neighbor

The Shard is located on the Southbank of the River Thames, right next to Tower Bridge in London.

2. The window washers at The Shard have quite the task

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!

3. Luckily, they have time and skills on their side

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.

The Shard, London

4. The Shard is eco-friendly

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.

5. The practical and unpractical side of The Shard

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.

6. The Shard is a GIANT

The Shard measures in at 1,016 feet tall (309.6 meters).

7.  The Shard has a fashionable design

It was designed by an Italian architect, Renzo Piano.

8. The Shard was built quite quickly

Construction started in March 2009 and was completed in July 2012. It was opened on 1st February 2013.

9. Tallest in the west, average in the east

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!

The view from The Shard

The view from The Shard

10. In fact, it’s the second tallest structure in the UK

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.

11. You’d better take the lift while scaling The Shard…

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.

12. …If you want to get to the top at super speed

The lifts are super-fast – they will take you up the building at a rate of six meters every second.

The Shard, UK

The Shard, London

13. The Shard has a thriving business scene

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.

14. A movie prequel of The Shard

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.

15. The Shard’s most unusual visitor

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!

A view of The Shard, London

16. The Shard is larger than you think

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!

17. Building The Shard was pricy

How much did this all cost to build? A cool £435 million – and that’s just the basic construction!

18. However, the owners might think otherwise

The Shard’s owners are the State of Qatar (95%) and Sellar Property Group (5%).

The Shard, Southwark, London

The Shard, Southwark, London

FAQs about The Shard

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!

Do you know any fun facts about The Shard?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on April 16, 2024. Suggest an edit

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