Its name coined in reference to the tapering, jagged shape that resembles a splinter of glass, The Shard is a 95-storey office block that forms part of the Shard Quarter estate. It replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block that stood on the site from 1975 to 2008. At over 309 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in the UK and the EU, and the fourth-tallest building in Europe. It was designed by the internationally-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, who was inspired by images of London’s church spires in the paintings of the 18th-century Venetian artist Canaletto, and the site’s location on the banks of the river, stating that it would appear as “a bell tower of the 16th century, or the mast of a great ship”. Completed in 2012, the tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the top floor, along with a hotel, offices, shops and restaurants.

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The Shard