Shard: Intergalactic Spear or Shangri-la?

I left London in 2011 and returned in 2013 to a skyline pierced by a brand new building – the Shard.

Shard & Anchor Pub

Why is it called “The Shard”?   According to the official guidebook, the name “derives from the building’s sculpted design, which consists of tapering glass facets that do not meet at the top.  The summit resembles jagged shards of glass, while the building as a whole is reminiscent of an inverted icicle”.


It has been described as being “like an intergalactic spear” (by London’s Mayor Boris Johnson) and as “a knife in the heart of London” (by singer Marc Almond).

Shard & corner of brick building

From the viewing gallery on the 72nd floor of the Shard, many of London’s landmarks look small and (in the words of Father Ted) far away.  But one building still impressed me with its beauty and strength – Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

View from the Shard


I also know a good place to go for a shot of the Cathedral lined up in front of the Shard.  It’s the street corner where Farringdon Road meets Greville Street.

Shard & St Paul's Cathedral

A little piece of Asia will open soon (UPDATE: it opens today, 6 May 2014!) at the Shard – the Shangri-la Hotel.  At which point I shall just forget the architecture, and enjoy the luxury.  Who wants to join me for dinner on the 35th floor and champagne on the 52nd floor?

Shangri-la Shard sign


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Dinner and champagne? Who could resist!? Especially love your Shard / Cathedral pic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Thank you. I was pleased to find that angle. I wanted to share the idea with better photographers – oh look, there’s one commenting right below this!


  2. I’m going to be photographing the shard tonight so your post was timely! I’ve just arrived back in London myself. I’d love to meet you for a coffee to talk all things photography, blogs and India if you’re up for it any time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I would love to see what you do with the Shard, especially at night. I’m sure you could get a better result on the Cathedral/Shard juxtaposition – just don’t get trampled by City workers heading for Farringdon station!
      And meeting for coffee is a great idea….even before the Shangri-la opens for posh afternoon tea.


  3. Karolyn Cooper says:

    I knew you would be! I was back in Regent’s Park this week with a Japanese friend, who was counting the petals on the cherry trees. Apparently the park has the 8-something trees…Maybe I should have got my facts straight before I started typing this!


  4. That’s definitely a good angle.

    I haven’t seen the shard up close – it’s after our time in London. I’ve heard it was a bit controversial (something about radiating a lot of heat onto the nearby area?)


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I hadn’t heard that about the Shard, but they definitely have that problem with the building under construction at 20 Fenchurch Street – known as the Walkie Talkie. (I’ve got more about the Walkie Talkie in my next blogpost).


        1. Karolyn Cooper says:

          But you could be right – the Shard certainly generates a lot of heat. The empty floors at the top are supposed to radiate some heat away.


  5. Amazing architecture and sights!


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