Renzo Piano's Shard skyscraper is finally complete and London is throwing a party to inaugurate this soaring new addition to the city's skyline! After three years of construction the mammoth 1,016 foot "vertical city" is now Western Europe's tallest building, and it will be inaugurated tonight by Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani and Duke of York Prince Andrew Albert Edward. The nighttime celebration will include a massive laser show accompanied by two classical pieces played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and it can be viewed live on The Shard's official website.
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.