The Shard as we know it now, indivisible from the Southwark skyline, is a both a sign of the times and very much not. The most telling aspect of the building may not be the construction or layout, but in how it simultaneously orients and divides the profession of architecture. From conception to critique, it is both a fore- runner of possible trends and the beginning of the end for a particular kind of architectural persona. The building makes a defining statement about what it means to be ‘corporate’ in a media-savvy and somewhat tech-oppressive environment. Indeed more than any other of Renzo Piano’s work or even Irvine Sellar’s (the man behind Sellar Property Group) investments, the Shard requires something more to be successful: the Shard needs both love and envy. This neediness is due mostly to the structure’s [frankly] enormous scale and its subsequent pretentions to become a London icon. Yet to achieve these twin goals, the building has to mean something beyond its gargantuan size. In its raw ambition, the Shard wants to be as photo-friendly as any other tourist spot in London, however there are elements that are preventing the architecture achieving this, elements that boil down to how the Shard is viewed from within, from without and by comparison.
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