The Shard of Glass, or the Shard as it's known, is a skyscraper of 87 stories that replaced the London Bridge Tower. The skyscraper is 1,004 feet high, or 306 meters, and is the second-highest building in the United Kingdom. Of the 87 floors of the building, 72 of them are inhabitable by people. The other floors are part of a viewing gallery for visitors with an observation deck at the very top of the tower.
The architect Renzo Piano, planned the design and construction of the skyscraper based on inspiration he found in masts of sailing ships, railway lines near the site, and a master painter named Canaletto. The glazing he proposed for the glass would reflect the skyline and would change reflecting the weather in the area.
Construction on the Shard began in February 2009 with a small crane and a rig being brought to the site. In March, the first bits of steel was brought to the site and construction officially began. The spire weighed 500 tons and had to be winched onto the top of the structure. That happened in March of 2012. It was three years to the month after construction began. The Shard was inaugurated in a laser light show with officials and dignitaries on July 5, 2012.
The halfway point in the race will happen as the runners zigzag through the streets of Canary Wharf. There are several places in the area that boast superb views of the race route. A good vantage point can be found at Wahaca's terrace bar for miles 18 and 19. If you go to the heart of the Canary Wharf estate, the bar called Plateau with its glass roof is also a great place to take in all of the action.
By February 2013, the first tenants were ready to inhabit the building. The first floors of the skyscraper are taken up with reception areas and retail spaces. Floors three through twenty-eight are sectioned off as offices and many have tenants already occupying the lofty space. Floors 5, 6, and 7 are to be used as clinic space. A radio station has taken floor 16 of the building for its own, and the financial powerhouse Duff and Phelps has floor 14. There are three restaurants in the unique skyscraper. They are on floors 31 through 33. The Shangri-La Hotel takes floors 34 through 52. Floors 53 through 65 are sectioned off as residences.
The Shard is seen by some as a shiny eyesore in the heart of old London while others see it as an advance into the vertical world like none before it.
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