The Shard,[a] also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is an 87-storey skyscraper in London that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard’s construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012.Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard, opened to the public on 1 February 2013.
Standing approximately 306 metres (1,004 ft) high, the Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3 metres (802 ft). It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwarkin 1975. The Shard was developed by Sellar Property on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by Sellar Property and the State of Qatar.