Contemporary architecture in London: 5 works not to be missed (part one)

Good morning  everyone! Here I am talking to you about the last trip to London in late August 2018 and the most recent architectural works. It is not the first time I visit the city. To see it well you need a long stay or more visits, because it is impossible to understand its size and beauty in a short time. Since the 1990s, London has continued to change from year to year. The works of which I will speak to you in the first and second part, have been built and inaugurated in the new millennium. I will start with the most famous, the Shard, designed by our famous compatriot architect Renzo Piano. The Shard has the characteristic of being able to be visited by the public, unlike other similar buildings that can however be seen from the top of the Shard.

Londra Tower Bridge
View towards Tower Bridge and City Hall

The Shard by Renzo Piano

The “shard” is currently the tallest skyscraper in London. Covered with glass panels, this building is in perfect harmony with the city skyline. The project was not only conceived on an architectural scale but also on an urban scale. In fact it takes into account the underground connections with the construction of a new metro shelter and a new bus station.

If you are interested in visiting The Shard, simply get off at the London Bridge stop. What hosts this futuristic work? With its 95 floors, it houses the new atrium of the aforementioned metro station at levels 00- 02, a levels 02-03 atrium for offices, at levels 04-28 exclusively offices. From 31 to 33 Bars and Restaurants (accessible to the public), from the 34th to the 52nd floor, the Shangri-La Hotel, from 53 to 65 Residences (the highest in the united kingdom) and from the 68th floor to the 72nd are the panoramic points “The View from The Shard”. The top floors (from 75 to 95) are nothing more than the spire that crowns the skyscraper.


Londra Tamigi The Shard

The admission to The View from The Shard is charge, slightly expensive for my taste, but there are always discounts and reductions with booking or in certain periods and if you book early on the site (here). Honestly it was something I wanted to do since they inaugurated it and I must say that the experience did not disappoint my expectations. Surely for an architect or simply an architecture enthusiast, this visit is a must-see. First of all, because from here you can have a very wide view of the city and you can
see many buildings from medieval to contemporary London. Furthermore, because you enter one of the most incredible buildings in terms of design and sustainability.

More than 300 meters high, this work by Renzo Piano impresses not only with its “inverted icicle” shape but also with the numberof glazed elements used. The 11,000 panels are composed of triple glazing and the central one has the purpose of shielding the interior of the skyscraper from sunlight. While instead the most superficial layer is very clear because it is composed of a low percentage of iron, so as to reflect the light and minimize the accumulation of heat in indoor environments. I would say a perfect combination of elegance and functionality. It also enjoys natural ventilation as there is a gap between the glazed panels. Fun fact: the glass elements positioned higher up are cleaned directly by expert mountaineers!

As you can see from the photos, on the 68th and 69th floor you can enjoy the indoor view and if you wish, take advantage of the bar. While from the 70th onwards the space starts to open and you can enjoy the Champagne Experience with an additional cost. Access to the various bars and restaurants is also open to the public and tickets are not needed, I suppose a drink is enough. If you are looking for a new apartment in London, I would like to inform you that all its residences are still available. Apparently the demand is too high for the London market and the area is not as popular as it is south of the Thames.

Londra The Shard
The Shard under construction (2012). Photo by Giacomo Malvestio

We have come to the end of the first part of the most innovative and avant-garde architectural works in London. I hope that with this first “taste” I have intrigued you and I hope you will also follow me for the second part where I will deal with the other building. Have you ever been inside this skyscraper? Please let me know with a comment!

See you later, xo xo

This post is also available in: enEnglish itItaliano (Italian)

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