London’s ‘Shard’ skyscraper has always promised to stand as a strong point of industry conversation. Its title as the tallest building in the European Union alone allows it to stand out, and its reputation is only intensified by its uniquely sharp aesthetic and location on the south bank of the Thames.
However, on the highly acclaimed skyscraper’s inauguration day, architect Renzo Piano still finds himself defending the unique building.
“This building is not going to be a symbol of arrogance,” says Piano.
The billion-dollar devlopment has earned myriad reviews, both positive and negative, but characterising it as ostentatious or arrogant is completely unfounded according to the architect. He states that the fact that it was built during an economically disastrous time does not make the building a greedy or impractical feat, noting that its true worth has yet to be seen.
“This building was conceived before the crisis, and it will enjoy life after the crisis,” says Piano.
The overall popularity of the building is not the only current issue it faces.
As yet, the record-breaking building still has no signed tenants. With more than 60,000 square feet of office space, unless this situation is rectified quickly, the building stands to be a ghost space. However, part owner Sellar Property explains that it is due to ‘extremely selective’ practices that the building remains without future occupants, something that is set to drastically change in the coming two years.
“It will be fully occupied by the end of 2014; the hotel is being fitted out now and will be open in late spring 2013,” says company head Irvine Sellar.
Sellar admits the occupancy selection is of grave importance to the company, which wants a selective mix of occupants in both the office and residential spaces and aims to avoid having ‘one single, overbearing occupant.’
There remains, however, some skepticism over who is really being selective – the property owners or the potential residents.
As the architect himself intimates, only time will tell. This is, however, not a building that will be forgotten or neglected any time soon, so its potential appeal can be predicted to grow.