Skyscraper Update: The Shard Starts To Climb

And so, finally, to Southwark, where one of Europe’s tallest buildings is beginning to rise. The Shard may not be more than a handful of steel beams at this stage, but it’s already a firm fixture in the London psyche. The tower was first mooted by architect Renzo Piano almost a decade ago. After years of planning and funding difficulties, the Shard has now begun its ponderous climb, which will see it reach up to 310 metres – a height that will not only make it the tallest building in London but also the loftiest in the European Union.

For now, though, the Shard stands a mere four storeys high. A large excavation to the south of London Bridge Station marks the spot where Southwark Towers, itself a sizeable building, stood until earlier this year. Around the pit’s edge, a series of slightly angled white beams have been installed – the lower sections of the eventual tower. The central core is expected to rise in the next couple of months. It should be complete before the Olympics.

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