|Renzo Piano's 'The Shard'|
|On the South Bank of The Thames.|
For plenty of interesting facts about The Shard, check this Guardian article. Here's a few to contemplate while you look through the picture gallery from my trip to the tip top of the highest building in Europe:
|Looking up at the foyer canopy.|
• The building reached its top height on 19 June.
• It has 11,000 glass panels.
• The area of the glass façade is 56,000 sq metres (602,779 sq ft), which equals eight football pitches.
• There are 44 lifts, including double-decker lifts.
• There are 306 flights of stairs.
|Elevator to 68, then stairs to 72.|
• 95% of the construction materials are recycled.
• 20% of the steelwork is from recycled sources.
• The design was influenced by the irregular nature of the site.
• Each facet forms a shard, a plane of glass gently inclined inwards, rising towards the top.
• The corners of the development are open and the shards do not touch, allowing the building to "breathe".
|Sunlight making the red timbers glow.|
• A further 15 levels will make up the "spire". Six have the potential to be used, while another nine are exposed to the elements.
• The ground-floor Shard Plaza will be a public area with seating and plants.
• The second floor will be a 460 sq metre retail space with retail units opening out onto the concourse of London Bridge Station.
• The fourth to 28th floors will have 55,000 sq metres of offices and winter gardens.
• The 31st to 33rd floors will have 2,700 sq metres of international restaurants, centred on a triple-height atrium.
|Towards the City of London.|
• The 53rd to 65th floors will have 10 exclusive residences with 360-degree views across London over a total of 5,800 sq metres.
• The 68th to 72nd floors will be the public observation galleries. The 1,400-sq-metre View from the Shard will open in February 2013.
• It is the 59th tallest building in the world, around 2.7 times shorter than the tallest, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is 828 metres high.
|Casting a shadow.|
|Beautiful interior proportions here.|
|London looks like a map from up here.|
|The brown of The Thames below. That's Billingsgate Market.|
|There is a lot of red in this building, not so apparent externally.|
|Each floor is edged with red.|
|Red all the way up.|
|Gazers stunned by the view.|
|High, light, glassed in observation deck.|
|Some of the spire tips.|
|Looking upwards, neck craned back.|
|From ground level.|
|A thing of beauty.|