At 306m and 87 storeys the Shard is the tallest building in the European Union

The Shard
The Shard · Credit: Michel Denance

The Shard
Renzo Piano Building Workshop for London Bridge Quarter
Contract c. £435m. GIA 120,000m2

What can you say about The Shard, at 306m and 87 storeys the tallest building in the European Union, in the context of a regional award when national and international ones beckon? The judges chose to concentrate on context. Seen from Parliament Square, they said, ‘If one looks through the gap between Big Ben and Portcullis House, the Shard appears next to the spires of the Palace of Westminster with the inevitability of an established and historic part of London’s skyline.’

This is 120,000m2 of mixed-use accommodation that is, thankfully, well dressed. One must argue with the fatuous description of it as ‘a genuine vertical village’ as if it were the Archers come to town, and it’s by no means as elegant from all views as they claim, but the jury citation is spot on when it describes how the angled splinters of facade break down the bulk and work well visually on a typical London grey day.

The London Shard
The London Shard · Credit: William Matthews