The Shard is a 95 storey supertall skyscraper that has a maximum height of 309.6 metres (1,016ft) high thus making it the tallest building in the United Kingdom, tallest in the European Union and the fifth tallest building in Europe. It is also the second tallest free standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower of the Emley Moor transmitting station. The Shard has replaced Southwark Towers which was a 24 storey office block built on the site in 1975. The Shard's construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30th March 2012 and inaugurated on 5th July 2012.
The tower's privately operated observation deck, The View from The Shard, was opened to the public on 1st February 2013. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244 metres (801 ft). The Shard was developed by Sellar Property Group on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by Sellar Property (5%) and the State of Qatar (95%), The Shard is managed by Real Estate Management (UK) Limited on behalf of the owners. The Shard was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The building features 11,000 panes of glass with a total surface area of 602,779 square feet (56,000.0 m2) equivalent to the area of almost eight Wembley football pitches. The building is designed to maintain its stability under very onerous conditions, with its post-tensioned concrete and composite floors, load-bearing pillars and tapering shape giving it a sway tolerance of 400 millimetres (16 in).
Image Above - The Girl and Dolphin Statue with the Tower Bridge and The Shard, London, England, UK - In December 2011, a group of recreational trespassers calling themselves the Place Hackers evaded security and made their way to the top of the Shard building site, climbing one of the tallest cranes in the process. They later posted photographs of the London skyline taken from the top of the Shard on the Internet and received wide media attention. One member of the group, Oxford University researcher Bradley Garrett, later revealed to various news outlets that over 20 urban explorers had made their way to the top of the building during its construction.
Base Jumpers reportedly jumped from The Shard more than a dozen times between 2009 and 2012. Four jumps were reportedly made by Essex roofer Dan Witchalls, who had filmed one attempt with a helmet-mounted camera. The highest jump was said to have been from a height of 260 metres (850 ft). In March 2016 another person BASE jumped from The Shard.
On 3 September 2012, a team of 40 people, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York, abseiled from the tower's 87th floor. This feat was performed to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. In November 2012, the French urban climber Alain Robert was spotted in the building by security guards. At the end of the month, the Shard's owners won an injunction to prevent him from entering or climbing the building.
Prince Andrew has abseiled nearly 800ft down the Shard skyscraper in a bid to raise money for charity. The 52-year-old Duke of York at the time began his descent down the tallest building in Europe from the 87th floor - around 785ft (239 meters) above ground - and finished on the 20th. The stunt took the prince around 30 minutes to complete. The prince raised £229,000 for the Outward Bound Trust, of which he is chairman, and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. The prince abseiled down the 1,016ft building on 3rd September 2012.
Andrew was one of a group of 40 people taking part in the charity abseil, among them Ffion Hague, the wife of Foreign Secretary William Hague, and leading businessmen and women. After his abseil, Prince Andrew said: "It was nerve-racking. I think we were in the clouds when we started. "As I was stepping over the edge, somebody said, 'By the way, there is quite a lot of condensation and the windows are slippery so you may just slide'. "And he was right - I just slid for the first, whatever it was, 10 or 15 floors. "But this is not about me. It is about the Outward Bound Trust.
"This is what we want to do for young people. We want to change people's lives." Prince Andrew also added that his training with the Royal Marines had given him the confidence to do the deed.
On 11th July 2013, six female Greenpeace volunteers climbed The Shard and unfurled a flag in protest against Arctic oil drilling by Royal Dutch Shell. The women announced they were "experienced climbers", but medical personnel were summoned to the base of the tower nonetheless. The Shard's staff closed the tower's observatory and gave the women a safety briefing and other advice during their climb. After completing their 16-hour climb, the six women were arrested by police on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
The Shard appears in the 2012 short film The Snowman and The Snowdog and it's tie-in computer game.
Image Below - The Shard has a significant role in the 2013 Doctor Who episode "The Bells of Saint John" as it is the headquarters of the episode's antagonist, the Great Intelligence. The Doctor vertically rode a motorbike on the face of the building and through a window to reach the Great Intelligence's headquarters.
Image Below - A hostage episode and deadly fight takes place at the top of the Shard near the end of Princess: A Private Novel. This book is one of a series written by James Patterson.
Image Below - The Shard appears in the climactic scene of the 2019 film Spider-Man: Far From Home. It is Nick Fury/Talos's & Maria Hill/Soren's lookout while the final battle takes place between Spider-Man and Mysterio on Tower Bridge.