London’s controversial Shard building will soon be joined by a 27-storey residential tower also funded by investors from Qatar. Not surprisingly, Italian starchitect Renzo Piano has been picked to design the new tower, which will join the Shard – currently the tallest building in Europe. Qatari investors plan to transform the area surrounding the Shard on the River Thames into a residential block that will include a renovation of the existing Fielden House, as well as 150 apartments, a roof garden and retail shops.
The controversial “vertical city” opened just a year and a half ago on the south bank of the Thames, and was met with criticism as a “monument to greed.” Owned almost entirely by the state of Qatar, the Shard still has no permanent tenants and has abundant vacant office space awaiting new residents. It is also joined by a smaller office building called The Place, which is expected to shelter the new headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The new tower, which will be developed by Sellar Property Group, will add an additional 160,000 square feet to the complex, and be largely residential. Together, the buildings make up the London Bridge Quarter estate.
The new addition will float above London Bridge Street, creating a plaza that will connect walkways to Guy’s Hospital, Kings College and the forthcoming Science Gallery, as well as the new retail area, public plaza and bus station.