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Renzo Piano - The Shard

55 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 12 June 2012

As part of London Calling, one of the world's greatest architects Renzo Piano, talks to Razia Iqbal at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

A one thousand foot tall pyramid of glass now stands in splendid isolation on the south bank of the River Thames.

It is a striking and controversial addition to the London skyline, constantly changing in appearance as it reflects the weather; either melting into the heavens or rudely imposing itself on the British capital, depending upon your point of view.

What is not in contention is that The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and an audacious achievement, representing a pinnacle in the dazzling career of its architect, Renzo Piano.

BBC World Service and RIBA have come together to mark the topping out of The Shard by a special event with the internationally acclaimed Renzo Piano, recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture in 1989 and more recently the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Gold Medal 2008.

Renzo Piano talks to Razia Iqbal about The Shard's origins on a restaurant napkin; the complexities of building such an enormous building so close to a river and what architecture has to do with our hopes for civilisation.

Renzo also answers questions from the audience.

(Image: Italian architect Renzo Piano speaking at event. Credit: Mark Allan)

  • London Calling

    London Calling

    An unprecedented year long focus on London as the city prepares to host Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and the world's biggest sporting event, the Olympics Games

    Listen to programmes in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games
  • Outlook: Going Up The Shard

    Outlook: Going Up The Shard

    Can Matthew Bannister conquer his fear of heights by taking a trip up Western Europe's tallest building?

    Listen to Outlook
  • Outlook: The Man Behind The Shard

    Outlook: The Man Behind The Shard

    Hear the rag trade-to-riches story of Irvine Sellar, the property developer behind London's new skyscraper

    Listen to Outlook
  • The Shard

    The Shard

    Sunlight reflects off The Shard in central London (Credit: Lewis Whyld /PA Wire)

  • Renzo Piano speaking to Razia Iqbal

    Renzo Piano speaking to Razia Iqbal

    Credit: Mark Allan

  • The event at RIBA

    The event at RIBA

    Credit: Mark Allan

  • BBC Magazine: What’s it like to live near a skyscraper?

    BBC Magazine: What’s it like to live near a skyscraper?

    Read an article about the Shard in the BBC Magazine, and see a slideshow featuring audio of Renzo Piano, Irvine Sellar and Razia Iqbal.

    See the Magazine feature

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