The Shard: London's skyscraping innovation and jaw-dropping city views

The Shard is the latest addition to London's skyline and stands at a gravity-defying height of 1,016ft (310m) as the tallest building in Western Europe. No doubt the impressive tower will soon be a dynamic symbol of the city of London, recognisable and renowned throughout the world with the most exquisite views across the city and beyond.

From the Eiffel Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, symbolic landmarks are synonymous with the cities themselves and can transform a previously uninspiring location into something extraordinary. London has taken the reign most recently with its latest architectural gem which has made the likes of St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye pale in comparison, redefining the city’s bright skyline and dominating all architectural debate.

Italian architect Renzo Piano had a vision for the future – and now, after nine years of construction, the 95-storey skyscraper is finally about to open its gleaming glass doors to the public. The structure's silhouette will loom majestically over London while inside an array of business offices, restaurants, private residences, along with a five-star Shangri-La hotel and spa will be at your service. Even the capital's highest viewing galleries (The View from the Shard) will be there to show you London's rooftops and jaw-dropping city views.

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Designed in 2000 by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect was previously best known for creating Paris' Pompidou Centre in collaboration with Britain’s Richard Rogers and is now world-famous for his creation of the Shard. Irvine Sellar, the founder and chairman of Sellar Property Group developed the Shard and described the structure as a "vertical town" unmatched in scale 

With 11,000 glass panels, it's hard not to be impressed by this modern masterpiece. Famous modernist Bruno Taut previously branded his 1914 Glass Pavilion with slogans such as "Glass brings a new era" and "Light wants crystal" and this is certainly the case for the Shard, whose glass structure has a unique sculptural form / Rex Features 

Due to its angular shape, the Shard reflects the sky perfectly and fragments the building's scale. Architect Renzo Piano stated in an interview that this turned the Shard into "a mirror of London'' / Rex Features 

Reaching its optimum height on June 19, 2012, the Shard is currently the 59th tallest building in the world, around 2.7 times shorter than the tallest, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands 828 metres high / Rex Features 

The grand reflection of the Shard in a city building shows once again its unique structure and artistic success / Rex Features 

Clouds engulf the stunning Shard in London while the famous Anthony Gormley statue remains outlined ahead, demonstrating the vast size of London's newest architectural delight / Rex Features 

Looking out onto the River Thames, the view from the Shard can be admired from as high as the 72nd floor. The tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck which is currently the UK's highest 


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