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Work begins on Shard of Glass

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Construction has finally begun today on Renzo Piano’s long-awaited Shard of Glass in Southwark, south London

The 310m-tall tower which will rise above London Bridge Station will, for a short time (see Foster unveils design for Western Europe’s tallest towers) become western Europe’s tallest building and will tower over Cesar Pelli’s One Canada Square, London’s current record-holder at 235m.

Despite the withdrawal of lenders such as Credit Suisse during the recent credit crunch, the project looks set to complete by May 2012 thanks to the financial backing of a consortium of four Qatari banks, as well as UK-based property developers Sellar.

The new landmark, which requires more steel than the entire Olympic site, will become home to Transport for London which has already signed up to lease around 20 per cent of the floor space - although a total of 60 per cent remains unlet.

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