The Shard – London

The London Shard is currently being built here in London. It will be the tallest structure in Western Europe.

Whilst I’m not against tall buildings, I’m not convinced that putting it in the London Bridge area was the best thing to do. Skyscrapers should be contained to Canary Wharf instead of encroaching on the City itself. I know we have the Gherkin and Tower 42, but they are a lot smaller than the Shard.

This is an ancient and incredibly historic city and this building is going to seriously affect the skyline – however pretty the artist impressions, below. Frankly I’m surprised it was granted permission.

Artist impressions © Sellar Property Group whose website is far too CPU and bandwidth intensive for my liking.

This is how the space will be used, as it’s a ‘mix use’ building (click for full-size):


24 thoughts on “The Shard – London

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  1. I never get these tall structures. Take a look at our eyesore, ironically named the London Tower…

    And that’s not even taking into account the monster bridge they want to build over the north of the city:

    Oh well… splendid views of London guaranteed for those who work and live there. Personally, I would be worried about the huge target in the middle of the city…

  2. I hear they have granted permission for a new wave of Dubai style projects around London over the next coming years. Reason being, the City was going to be overtaken by Paris as the most desirable European city in which to do business.

    It is for this reason that Heathrow Airport has been granted permission to extend as well. London will soon become an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ city. A ghost, false city with no remaining history.

  3. Hmm…. I do like the design though I understand where you’re coming from. This is a (literally) huge change to the town. Maybe you’ll be living up there once it’s done and change your mind

  4. Bandwidth intensive or not, the ‘video’ on that site is stunning.

    Only London seems to have building development still going on – in cities like Leeds which had very ambitious skyscraper plans ready to roll, they’ve had to be put on hold for now.

    I still love that damn Gherkin though !!

  5. Probably miffed at Manchester having the Beetham Tower – tallest residential building in Europe. Also very ugly and totally out of place. Ugh!

  6. Lula – odd name for a tower you have over there! At least it’s not 82 storeys high!

    Locksley – indeed!

    Enrico – I don’t mind the design and I’m not anti-skyscrapers I just think it’s very close to central London. It will be almost twice the height of the Gherkin which is already quite a strong feature on the skyline.

    SB – I didn’t see all the video; my poor netbook didn’t much like it. Yeh, the Gherkin is alright. I’ve not been in. Went to Gary Rhodes restaurant in Tower 42 (what was the Natwest tower) two years ago and the restaurant is about 30 floors up and looks directly onto the Gherkin. We were there as the sun went down. I felt giddy looking out but it was an amazing view.

    SCM – ah, I remember reading that. Really not sure how I’d feel about living that high up…

  7. Prepare for a shocker: Sveny disagrees. Cities are organic: you can’t box them into Disney-esque boroughs like ‘Contemporary Land’ and ‘Traditionville’. In 100 years time it will be a part of the landscape and our grandchildren will be complaining about something else being thrown up that doesn’t fit with the landscape. We’re not here long enough to miss an opportunity to make our mark now. Build away, I say, and mix the old with new.

  8. All well and good but given the global economic climate I think it will languish at the design stage for a long while. I never understood the whole tall buildings equals development thing though Trinidad is going through that now . To me human development is far more important and i am not entirely sure what the shard lends to London ( a city I love).

  9. Sven – agreed London has a wonderful diversity of architecture (derived from how badly it was bombed) but I don’t like the idea of something so vast and dominating so close to the centre. Is too big. I am quite impressed by large buildings but want them kept to the outskirts (Canary Wharf way).

    Vern – hmmm my understanding is that it’s being built. Ah, you have development going up in your neck of the woods too, it seems! Yeh, the Shard is just too big (82 storeys or something crazy). You’ll end up being able to see it from France at this rate!

  10. I actually like the Beetham tower in Manchester now. It is kind of out of place, but walking past it twice a day it’s become a focal point for me and I love looking up at all the windows and wondering who’s in there. I must admit I love skyscrapers.

  11. Red – I like them because I like feats of engineering (bullet trains, A380, that type of thing). Just unnerved about how big it is. You know that bit of skyline and I think it will dominate as London Bridge is south of the river whereas the rest of the big buildings are north. Guess we’ll see in another few years!

  12. It does seem a bit excessive and I have to admit I think it could be a bit of a target. I guess the same can be said of Beetham – after all it’s the only one in Manchester. I certainly wouldn’t live in it but I like looking at it!

    I went up Canary Wharf years ago when it was empty and before it’s neighbours were built – amazing views though a bit scary being on the 52nd floor. I really don’t know how anyone could have felt safe working in the WTC, just from the height perspective. It would always terrify me thinking how I would get out if there was a fire or something – let alone something as horrific and unthinkable as 9/11.

  13. Red – I never got up Canary Wharf but always wanted to. Never got up Twin Towers but have an amazing photo of when I was there for Thanksgiving in 1995.

    Yeh, the whole terrorist thing IS genuine and real and very scary and that is one big reason I would not want to be on, say, the 60th floor of a building like that…

  14. I’m sure many Victorians would have said the same about the Houses of Parliament when they were being built in ~1850. No building can be said to be out of place in London – it’s a dynamic and ever-changing city and to turn it into some kind of museum would be to imply our city is somehow ‘finished’. We have to let it develop, change, (evolve?) for the better.

  15. Tee – liked the image. I walked round the site a few months ago whilst making my way to Borough Market. Hard to imagine what it will be like until it’s up, other than of course knowing it will be MASSIVE.

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