The Shard, London UK

Renzo Piano designed the Shard skyscraper (London Bridge Tower) in London England, completed and opened in 1 February 2013. At 95 floors and 310m it overtook Commerzbank to become the tallest building in Europe.

The form was inspired by Cnaletto's City of spires that showed London pre-WW2 with church spires against the skyline. A complex structure of steel is wrapped in 11,000 panes of angled glass that is semi-transparent and reflective. As a result it blends in with the sky and yet shows off the beautiful structure inside.

The tower is meant to be a city unto itself, with a vertical arrangement of offices, restaurants, hotel, and apartments. The pyramid form evokes the belief that primitive man's first housing and social innovation was the pyramidal cottage. The lighthouse form also is reminiscent of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Video: Bulding the Shard
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