When the RIBA Award winners were announced on Tuesday, honoring London’s finest buildings and architects, “Best Commercial Building” went to The Shard, the Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper that has made its presence felt on the London skyline since it was completed in 2012.
At 87 stories, The Shard is at the tallest building in the European Union, and its pyramidal tower of glass is stunning from within and without. Renzo Piano, the Pritzker Prize–winning architect, is known around the world for his inventive and beautiful buildings, including the New York Times Building in Manhattan, the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen, Switzerland, the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, just to name a few. From the breathtaking 87th story of The Shard, as Architectural Digest commented, “the world is framed by deconstructing fragments of the glass curtain wall that reach out to the city below and the sky above.”
Piano says about his building, “This is my vision: I foresee the tower as a vertical city, for thousands of people to work in and enjoy and for millions to take to their heart.”
The Shard houses a spectacular Viewing Gallery, along with restaurants, offices and the world-class Shangri-La Hotel, which recently opened its doors for business in the unique glass skyscraper.
“The Shard is a premier example of London’s latest foray into the frontier of tomorrow’s architecture,” says Paul Lester, Partner at The Agency. “It certainly leads the way for Europe.”