UK & World News
Shard - London's Tallest Building Unveiled
The tallest skyscraper in the EU has been officially unveiled in central London.
A spectacular light and laser show has marked the formal inauguration of the Shard, a gleaming feat of glass and gravity-defying engineering that stands at 309.6 metres high and now dominates the capital's skyline.
A combination of 12 lasers and 30 searchlights lit up the night sky from the 95 storey building, which towers over existing landmarks such as 30 St Mary Axe - the "Gherkin" - and One Canada Square.
The display was accompanied by live music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and came after a ceremony attended by the Duke of York and Qatar's prime minister.
Rising from the depths of the economic downturn, thanks to an almighty investment from Qatar, the skyscraper has been £1.5bn and 12 years in the making.
First sketched on the back of a restaurant menu in Berlin in 2000, the designs received planning approval in 2003, but securing the finances took significantly longer.
Funding stalled during the credit crunch, until Qatar intervened in 2009, taking on 95% of the investment.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud al Thani, the governor of Qatar Central Bank and chairman of the board of directors of Shard Funding Ltd, said: "The Shard is the newest London landmark and a beacon of the city of London's resilience and expansion, even during tough economic times."
"It is a symbol of Qatar's belief and commitment to London both today and in the future."
However, the skyscraper's office space has yet to be occupied - it will open with 26 floors vacant, although the developers say they are in discussion with a number of companies to fill them.
Rents for the best offices in London's financial district - the yardstick used by Shard developer Irvine Sellar for the offices at the bottom of the tower - have been £55 per square foot since September 2010, property consultant CBRE said.
That is the longest period rents have not risen since records began in 1960.
Irvine Sellar, the chairman of Sellar Property, said: "The Shard is an iconic addition to the capital's skyline and will be one that all of London can access and enjoy."
"It will become as essential a part of a visit to London as going to the top of the Empire State building is for visitors on a trip to New York.
"It will become a new symbol for the city and something London can be proud of. The Shard is fast becoming one of the most recognisable London skyline silhouettes."
The name "The Shard" is derived from the architect, Renzo Piano's description of the development as a "shard of glass" during planning stages.
Inspired by Canaletto's paintings of the Thames and the masts of the tall ships once anchored here, the idea was to create a kaleidoscope of a building - to reflect the city back at itself.
Renzo Piano told Sky News: "If London is a city of mobile sky, this building is a building of mobile view - it's never the same.
"The shards, instead of being vertical, are at an angle, and so they reflect the sky."
Thursday marks the formal completion of the outside of the building, but work will continue inside to create the ten luxury residences, five star hotel, three floors of restaurants and office space, which will become, in the words of the developers, a "vertical city".
A viewing platform on the 69th floor will open to the public from February next year.
what do you think?
Modern -- Ugly --- foreign f*nded --- Why ?
they build a billion pound skyscraper but how about building some more flats and houses for the homeless or investing a bit more in our hospitals or do somethink thats gunna help the comunitys not somethink just for the rich 50million for a penthouse in the shard most people I no in london can just about afford there council tax a year and thats a struggle
Do you think companies are going to do that? What's in it for them? And free flats and houses for homeless? What so the rest of us have to buy and they get it given to them? And people wonder why the country is broke.
The Shard has got nothing to say for itself architecturally, the design of the building is uninspiring. It adds nothing interesting to the skyline of London, it would more at home in New York.
Typically modern ugly building, no soul. . Will it still be standing in 100 years time ? Doubtfull. Its as transient as the age we live in. Everythings temporary and disposable. . . Not like the Victorians - they built structures to last, with one eye on future heritage, as well as building beautifull buildings. The architects today arent fit to hold their boots
Using laser lights to celebrate is a threat to air transport - and sets a bad example as incidents of lasers being used against aircraft are increasing. Oh, and I do think that it is out of place, but then the planners have allowed the architects to destroy London.
Wow, gravity defying eh? That's amazing, someone get Prof Brian Cox quick, Newton must be turning in his grave.
Windows Live User
ha ha ha ha
Windows Live User
Got to agree with stevie may. It is just a tower of glass and concrete. Would take no designing.Will last no time Give us back the beauty of the regency bulidings, and other neoclassical styled buildings In 2002 Marylebone High Street was voted London's best street, with one voter describing it as a "haven in the middle of the frantic city". Northcote Road, Battersea, and The Mall, Westminster, complete the top three in London. Topping the best of all list was Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Part of Grainger Town.
Refering to lorgar's reply to my comment I didnt mean give the homeless free homes I meant that these companys wanna invest in these projects should do more for the commumitys affordable housing I meant help the hospitals and.schools and there earn the profits but put somethink back and make it a better place to live for every one not just the rich
I would have thought a building that actually served the people and not just the privileged few would be of more use in today's uncertain climate. Again, a big monument to those with even bigger ego's.