Monday, 6 December 2010

The Shard reaches for London's sky: PhotoWatch

I couldn't resist pointing the Canon at the sunlight flaring off the cobbles of St Mary at Hill. The ever-rising Shard loomed over the City of London street like a Martian machine from War of the Worlds.
  I'll keep a watching photographic brief on the Shard at London Bridge Quarter. Architect Renzo Piano's 87-floor 'vertical city' is clambering into London's skyscape from its London Bridge foundations at an average rate of three metres per day. 
  Will the Shard become an iconic new London building, such as the Gherkin or the London Eye? Or just another modern weird edifice like City Hall? Perhaps, the Shard's 72nd floor public viewing gallery will convince Londoners and tourists this is the tower to visit.

Piano says masts of ships docked in the Pool of London and Monet's paintings of the Houses of Parliament inspired the Shard's conceptual design (see above photo of HMS Belfast in front of the Shard. Look at the radar mast; so that's how Piano tinkled up the idea!).
  Full construction started on 16 March, 2009. When completed, the £435 million Shard will stand as Western Europe's largest building at 310 metres (1,016 feet) high. 
  Even now, with its concrete core not yet completed, Piano's creation is now Britain's tallest building, surpassing the 235m (773ft) Canada Tower at Canary Wharf in late November (The Canada Tower is the pointed building at the far right of the masthead at the top of this page).
  The next two images (below) were taken from Tower Pier, next to the Tower of London. (Click on images to enlarge).

Piano's angled glass cladding is already creeping up around the steel and concrete core. Piano hopes the glass will give the Shard a delicate, slender appearance, reflecting light in different ways as the seasons change - just like a shard of glass. 
  The Shard's 130,000 square metres of floorspace will comprise offices, a hotel, restaurants and apartments. The viewing gallery will be 240m above street level. 
  Some 5,500 cubic metres of concrete were poured during a 36-hour period to create the raft on which the Shard sits. About 1,000 tons of reinforced steel were set into the concrete raft.
  Weeks ago, the Shard reached higher than the 180m (590ft) Swiss Re building or Gherkin.
Just how tall will the Shard feel? A good marker is when your viewing pod reaches the top point of the London Eye's revolution, a height of 136m (425ft). Another yardstick is the top of the Wembley Stadium arch, a height of 133m.
  The Shard replaces Southwark Towers, the former home of Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
 The developer is the Sellar Group on behalf of LBQ Limited. Mace are the main building contractor. Renzo Piano is the conceptual architect. Detailed architectural work has been carried out by Adamson Associates.

 It mightn't yet be everyone's cup of tea but, as you can see below, the Shard seems to  impress the birds.

Photos copyright of Paul Coleman. Not to be re-published without permission.

Paul Coleman, London, December 2010.

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