The tallest building in Western Europe topped out in 2012. Superlatives always attract opinion, and everyone had one about the Shard. Words were bandied around. It was "Overbearing", "an eyesore" and, to use a then-popular coinage, "fugly". The oft-deployed formulation that the tower was "out of keeping with its surroundings" was another common dismissal. It didn't help that the tower was owned by the State of Qatar.
Others were more generous. It was seen as a welcome bit of variation on a boxy skyline. For some, it rose majestically as a symbol of modern London. The View From The Shard was a unique experience before other towers muscled in, and some of the restaurants (for those who can afford them) are top notch.
A decade on, how do we feel? Has the Shard has been part of our lives for long enough now that we can view it with some kind of objectivity?
People still have opinions. Strong ones. But when we put the question to our Facebook followers, we were heartened to see that far more people tend towards love than hate. Here are some of the responses.
"I LOVE the Shard. The whole building in my opinion is one of the icons of London!" - Anand A
"Love this building… so iconic . The Fortnum & Mason picnic [a special event] at the top was amazing.. I’d highly recommend it." - Jacqueline C
"Love it! Iconic building, design & architecture are amazing. I love that you can see it from so many parts of London and I can see it from where I live in Surrey on a clear day." - Ashley W
"I love it. It glints in the sun and changes shades with the weather. It is architecturally brilliant and I love the views from inside too. One of my favs." - Linda K
"It’s lovely the way it reflects the sky and the city around it." - Brigid R
"I love it. I think it looks epic at night, and on the skyline when driving back into London. I like using it as a point of navigation when moving around town too." - Sue K
"I love it as a landmark especially when I am driving into London and I know just when it should appear on the horizon and guide me home. Not a fan of glass towers generally, but I love that one." - Trisha S
"The building itself is stunning and an iconic London landmark, even only having stood for a decade." - Ian H
"Best "Ladies" I have ever been in!" - Penny C
"It's a useful landmark to work out where you are, if you're not a local." - Rick C
"Great, but too short!" - Ben V
"It's a revolting eyesore. A blot on the landscape. I heard about one small company relocating their office there, as it was the only place from which they didn't have a view of the Shard." - Nick W
"It’s as ugly today as it was when it was first built - a blot on London’s skyline." - David M
"Horrible. Out of place in our ancient capital and looks like an alien embassy!" - Dave S
"Agree that it is expensive... when Sky Garden has equally fantastic views [for free]." - Eluned R
"The restaurants aren’t very veggie or vegan friendly." - Adam V
"Are they ever going to finish the top?" Simon B
"I cannot look at it without thinking of Barad-dûr in Mordor, the tower which held the fiery all-seeing Eye of Sauron, and as an allegory for the insidiousness of capitalism." - Eamonn O'T
"Still remember the Starbucks that got demolished for it." - Julia K
"I say replace it with a pret a manger." - Jack L
"Still waiting for that amazing laser show they promised at the launch." - Steve P
"I still think it would look better if the whole thing was about two inches further left." - Philip Q
"It’s still very pointy isn’t it." - Ian B
Got a thought on the Shard? Let us know in the comments.
All photos by the author.