The Shard is an impressive skyscraper. It stands at over 1000 feet tall and is Europe's first vertical city. This huge structure has transformed London's skyline and become an iconic building throughout the world. 

It was back in 2000, when the architect Renzo Piano met with Irvine Sellar, a property developer, at a Berlin restaurant. Piano wanted to create a spectacular, multi-purpose structure that would be accessible to all.  According to Sellar, Piano drew a sketch on the back of a menu at the restaurant. It was a unique vision of a skyscraper that would stand on the south bank of the Thames. The spires on the drawing were inspired by the railway lines close to London Bridge station.

The Shard stands in place of Southwark towers that were demolished in 2007 to make way for this modern building. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in March 2012. It caused some controversy when some people thought that the building was too big in comparison with the other buildings in London. 

It was the tallest building in western Europe when it was first completed, but was swiftly over-taken by Federation Towers in Moscow.

Piano envisioned a vertical city where people can work, eat and live side by side: An eighteen hour society - I suppose we all need to sleep!  The Shard has lots of office space as well as fancy restaurants and residential apartments. This makes it accessible to the public which is what Piano wanted: a multi-functional building that has something to offer to all.

 The viewing gallery is on the top floors, enabling viewers to get a three-dimensional view of London. This is a must-see for anyone that appreciates contemporary architecture and wants to see a birds-eye view of  London. 

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: London
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This must-have guide will help you to get the most out of your stay in London.