Renzo Piano, Italy
"Renzo Piano, the project's architect, met criticism from English Heritage, who claimed the building would be "a shard of glass through the heart of historic London", giving the building its name, the Shard. Piano considered the slender, spire-like form of the tower a positive addition to the London skyline, recalling the church steeples featured in historic engravings of the city, and believed that its presence would be far more delicate than opponents of the project alleged. He proposed a sophisticated use of glazing, with expressive façades of angled glass panes intended to reflect sunlight and the sky above, so that the appearance of the building will change according to the weather and seasons. The building features 11,000 panes of glass, with a total surface area of 56,000 square metres (600,000 sq ft).
Following the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) in the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, architects and structural engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to be progressed following the publication of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report into the collapse of the WTC. The building was designed to maintain its stability under very onerous conditions.
The Shard contains premium office space, a hotel, luxury residences, retail space, restaurants, a five-storey public viewing gallery, and a spa. The public viewing gallery is located between the 68th and 72nd floors, with its highest section at a height of 245 metres (804 ft), and is expected to draw over two million visitors a year. In addition, a shorter building, known as London Bridge Place, will be built nearby, replacing the former London Bridge House and completing the London Bridge Quarter development.
In addition to the tower, major improvements are underway in the London Bridge rail and Tube station and the surrounding area. As part of a Section 106 legal agreement, these improvements will include a new public concourse, as well as a public piazza, a museum, and local housing and regeneration programmes."
- text from Wikipedia.com