After three and a half years of construction and constantly rising higher above the London skyline, the Shard has now finally been completed and inaugurated. Last week a slightly disappointing lights display marked the official unveiling of the latest London attraction to puncture the London skyline. And while other towers will be completed over the coming years, none will be quite so tall as Renzo Piano’s.

Designed to partly resemble a steeple and partly resemble a sail, to commemorate the history of churches and tall ships that would have greeted visitors to the medieval and early modern City of London, it’s a building that has divided critics, pundits and people since its original design over 10 years ago.

Some facts about the tallest building in Western Europe:

  • The view from the highest floors will stretch for 40 miles. That means on a clear day, sky-high residents will be able to see all the way down the Thames estuary to the North Sea. This is the first time London properties have gone on the market offering sea views!
  • Even on cloudy days, at times the top levels will be above the cloud level, allowing the residents to enjoy sunny weather while the rest of London experiences drizzle and grey below.
  • The building has been financed by the Qatari government, and cost roughly £450 million.
  • Floors 4-28 will contain office space, expected to attract business HQ’s from around the world.
  • Floors 34-52 will house a 200 room Shangri-La hotel. This is the first time the opulent East Asian hotel brand have come to London.
  • Floors 53-65 will contain 10 residential apartments. These will be the only residences in the building. Some are expected to be the size of seven bedroom houses, and to sell for around £50 million each.
  • Restaurants, a spa and an observatory will take up the remaining floors.


Here’s a suggested prayer for the occupants of the tower:

“Lord, for the office workers in the Shard, please give integrity and wisdom as they go about their business.

For the company directors governing global corporations based there, give guidance to where they invest money, and ethics in their corporate responsibility.

For the people who stay at the Shangri-La hotel, may their stay in London draw them closer to You, and give them a resolve to work for freedom and justice when they return home.

For the residents who live at the top of the tower, grant them a sense of responsibility that causes them to use their money and influence to serve the poorest in our society.”

Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s also passionate about praying for London, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.