The History Of The Shard In 1 Minute

Courtesy of The View From The Shard
Courtesy of The View From The Shard
Paula Koller-Alonso

The Shard has become a symbol of London – a landmark of modern architecture in a contemporary capital. Its cutting-edge design resembling a glass shard reflects London’s skyline on its exterior and changes colour depending on the weather and the seasons. An idea that was thought of in 1998 then developed into the highest building in Europe by 2012. What the architect calls a ‘vertical city’ has been placed in the heart of London overlooking the Thames and beyond.
The developer and joint owner of the Shard, Irvine Sellar, decided that he wanted to initiate a new kind of building: a diverse place that provides multiple areas offering different public experiences. Not only does the Shard offer stunning views of Britain’s capital, but it also allows for a variety of city necessities: restaurants, hotels, a viewing platform, and offices. Sellar decided to acquire the Southwark Towers in 1998 – right at the centre of London’s business district in London Bridge. He arranged a meeting with architect Renzo Piano who came up with the innovative pyramid design. Over the next two decades, the Shard encountered many problems ranging from funding to architectural difficulties. However, in 2008, the State of Qatar, who decided to invest in the Shard and become a partner, saved the project. The Shard was finally completed in 2012 and was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Qatar.

© Paul Hudson/Flickr

The architecture of the Shard is something incredibly innovative and unique. The architect, Piano, took his inspiration from the spires of different London churches, as well as the masts of ships that are depicted in the 18th-century paintings of Canaletto. The most fundamental concept of Piano’s vision was that the building should represent lightness and transparency.

Since the opening of the Shard, it has joined the list of London landmarks alongside the Big Ben and the Tower Bridge, becoming one of the hot spots for tourists and locals. The viewing platform, the high-end restaurants and the luxurious hotel attract people from around the world to experience everything the Shard has to offer.

With over a million people visiting the viewing platform in just its first year, and over 6,000 visitors a day, the Shard has become a modern phenomenon of architecture.
📅 Open daily, various times

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article