The Shard – A New Skyscraper for London


The Shard is a pyramid-shaped skyscraper in central London. At a height of 310 meters it is the largest structure in Europe. The glass tower has 72 floors that can be occupied as well as England’s highest viewing gallery and observation deck. It is located on the south bank of the river Thames at London Bridge. The Shard, planned by Italian architect Renzo Piano, was completed in April 2012 and will be opened to the public starting in 2013.

The Shard is owned almost completely by the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Its owners invested a total of one and a half billion pounds in a building that consists of offices, luxury apartments, restaurants and a 5-star hotel. Qatar has other property in the English capital, including the department store Harrods and the Olympic village.


On the one side economic experts applaud the new building because it will create jobs for more than 12,000 people, on the other side conservation groups were opposed to the project from the beginning because it dominates London’s skyline and blocks the view of famous London landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral. UNESCO has also protested against the new building claiming that it does not fit in next to the Tower of London, a World Heritage Site.


In any case, city planners agree that the Shard represents an amazing piece of architecture. City authorities hope that the building will become another major tourist attraction in London, like the Empire State building in New York.



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  • agree = to have the same opinion as
  • amazing = great , wonderful
  • applaud = to show that you like something; clap your hands
  • attraction = sight; place that a tourist wants to see
  • authorities = people who are in control of the city
  • bank = side of a river
  • billion = a thousand million
  • claim = to say officially
  • complete = finish
  • completely = totally
  • conservation group = a group of people who want to protect things and leave them the way they are
  • dominate = to be in control of
  • landmark = famous sight
  • located = situated; it can be found
  • luxury = very expensive and comfortable
  • observation deck = place where you have a great view of the city below you
  • occupy = live in, use
  • property = land, houses and buildings
  • public = all the people; here: London’s population
  • represent =  stand for, symbolize
  • skyline = the shape made by buildings against the sky
  • skyscraper = very tall, modern city building
  • structure = building
  • World Heritage Site = a place that UNESCO thinks has a natural or cultural value and should be conserved and protected