The Shard, Renzo Piano, London, Britain, skyscraper, Thames, UK, inauguration, design, sustainable design, eco-design, green design, architecture

To the dismay of many critics, The Shard, which is located on the southern bank of the Thames, towers over the iconic London Bridge Quarter. Called by some a monument to greed and a “broken Britain,” the building is almost entirely owned by the state of Qatar. But it is hard to deny that the 72-story mixed-use development, which boasts 360 degree views that extend 40 miles across the city, involves an extraordinary feat of both design and engineering. And – as far as massive skyscrapers go – The Shard is somewhat eco-conscious.

Of the steel that was used in construction, 20% was recycled, while 95% of the waste produced during construction was recycled as well. Also, sky gardens on each floor promote natural ventilation and improve air quality. Whether one loves or hates the newest, tallest addition to London’s skyline is probably a matter of taste. But tonight’s laser show should be cool, so stay tuned for that. It starts at 10:15pm (BST). And finally, those who want to pay £20 or so (that’s the rumor anyhow) to see the legendary views open to the public as of February, 2013 can start booking their tickets online at The View From The Shard starting July 6th at 9am local time.

+ Renzo Piano Building Workshop

+ The Shard