The Shard is a skyscraper in London, United Kingdom. Standing 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) above ground level, it is the tallest building in Europe, and is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom.
The Shard replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. Renzo Piano, the Shard’s architect, worked with the architectural firm Broadway Malyan during the planning stage. The tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor, at a height of 245 metres (804 ft). The Shard was designed with an irregular pyramidal shape from the base to the top, and is clad entirely in glass. Its structure was completed in April 2012. The tower was inaugurated on 5 July 2012.