It seems that The Shard London is a Marmite skyscraper – do you know that expression? Very strangely in my opinion, people either seem to like it or loathe it, with equal passion.
For those of you familiar with this blog, you will immediately know that I love both Marmite and I am a definite fan of this new London landmark. I think it sets the capital alight and I am most protective of it – but then I am a keen supporter of both modern architecture and architects in equal measure, thinking their flair and innovation is vital in keeping our cities alive and in continual renewal. A lover of history, I am intrigued and excited by the modern world, welcoming it with open arms.
Why do I like it so much? Well, it lends a different perspective to London – it’s over twice the height of any other viewing platform in the city. The View from The Shard – on floors, 68, 69 and 70, look out over nearly 40 miles of scenic urban landscape where you can see the main arteries and veins of the city’s infrastructure, curling around abstract shapes like snakes around prey.
It takes a few minutes to orientate yourself but soon, you will look out over a 360 degree, unobstructed view of The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, St Paul’s, The London Eye, Canary Wharf, to name but a few.
By their very position on this bird’s eye view map of London, you can tell the history of the buildings and the capital at a glance and why they are sited where they are. All suddenly becomes clear when at ground level, this keen vision is often obscured.
Having recently visited Renzo Piano’s Beyeler Foundation building in Basel, there are definite stylistic similarities between the two and I love the flow of his work and his inclusiveness. I can’t wait to see what Renzo has planned for the just announced residential tower that will sit next to The Shard but am so pleased to see that The Shard has already helped raise the profile of an oft neglected but significantly important part of London – the Borough of Southwark.
It was here that the Romans first crossed the Thames and where Londinium was founded so for me, we are right in the heart of the original capital when we set foot inside The Shard.
By creating a new neighbourhood and raising interest in the area, the renamed London Bridge Quarter with this great skyscraper at its heart, has regained its rightful place as London’s most historic and interesting borough.
The Shard London, Joiner Street, London, SE1. For bookings, either call +44 (0) 844 499 7111 or go online. Adult tickets cost GBP24.95 with children’s tickets priced at GBP18.95.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, MagellanPR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.