The Shard is referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower. It is a 95-storey skyscraper, part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard’s construction began in March 2009 and it was topped out on 30 March 2012.
The Shard dominates the surrounding area, as you would expect a 1,000 foot tower to do, but what I found was that it tended to overpower the surrounding buildings, most notably Southwark Cathedral, so that you couldn’t look at the cathedral without being aware of The Shard’s overbearing presence. The building was designed by Renzo Piano and it is said he was inspired by the railway lines at London Bridge station next to the site, the London spires depicted by the Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of sailing ships.Piano’s design was criticised by English Heritage, who claimed the building would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London”; hence the name, the Shard.
In 2014, The Shard claimed first place at the Emporis Skyscraper Awards, recognising buildings over 100 metres completed in the previous twelve months. The Emporis judges hailed the building as “a skyscraper that is recognized immediately and which is already considered London’s new emblem”.