Apart from big, what is the Shard? It is inevitably, according to the developers and Boris Johnson, ‘iconic’. It will also apparently be ‘dynamic’ and ‘vibrant’, neither of which is a desirable quality in a tall building, and simultaneously ‘accessible’ and ‘exclusive’. Piano cannot perhaps be blamed for the PR speak but his own ‘vision’ for his great glass pyramid is surprisingly lame. He is calling it a ‘vertical city’, a phrase resonant of the doomed Corbusian dream of ‘streets in the sky’, which lay behind so many of the most unsuccessful developments of the 1950s and 60s. It will be a city of restaurants, flats (‘the highest residences in the UK’), offices and a five-star hotel. A city without a centre, no school of course, or church, or art gallery, town hall or library, just a great glass millefeuille of individuals getting on.