Why London’s tallest building The Shard was deliberately made to look like it hasn’t been finished

Piercing above the London skyline is the unmistakable tip of The Shard.

The 300m-high building made up of 11,000 glass panels is the tallest in the capital and contains 44 lifts and 306 flights of stairs.

It was an idea that was thought up in 1998 by architect Renzo Piano – who calls the building a ‘vertical city’ – and completed in 2012 after a whopping £1.2 billion was spent on its construction.

READ MORE: What the huge yellow pillars sticking out of The O2 are actually there for

The 84-year-old Italian architect wanted The Shard to resemble a church spire, inspired by a painting of London by 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, as well as the masts of sailing ships.

The design was also in part influenced by the railway tracks that would be running around the building.

Architect Renzo Piano said he came up with the jagged design by sketching

But some on Reddit question whether the magnificent architectural feat is even finished.

From a closer look, the top of The Shard has splintered glass spikes rather than a pyramid-shaped roof.

In an interview with Dezeen just before work on The Shard started, Renzo Piano explained that the jagged appearance came about from sketching.

He said: “I picked up in the workshop a shard – not of glass but of wood. A splinter… I picked up a pencil and I started sketching.

“We [him and the developer] talked from the beginning that it would be quite wide here and then less and less and less.

“This idea of doing something that was probably breaking the scale came very quickly.”

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In his design, each glass wall forms a plane of glass that gradually inclines inwards, rising towards the top where the corners of the development are open and the shards do not touch.

This, according to another architect on the project, allows the building to “breathe” – hence the reason why it may look unfinished to some.

William Matthews explains : “We wanted a building that could breathe and offer people a more human link between the inside and outside, as opposed to the classic, hermetically sealed skyscraper.”

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