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 Read more: The Shard: Renzo Piano's Soaring 'Vertical City' Crowned the Tallest Building in Europe! | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
Next pictures are shared from guardian.co.uk, they are The Shard´s inaugural lasers
Europe's tallest building has been officially unveiled in central London. The Shard's tapered design and glass panelling have already made the skyscraper one of the capital's most noticeable landmarks. Just yards from the banks of the River Thames in Southwark, it seems to pierce the sky as it shoots more than 1,000ft into the air. The tower, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, has 72 floors which can be occupied, and will contain offices, exclusive residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery. There are a further 15 levels which make up the "spire" – six of which have the potential to be used, with the other nine exposed to the elements. The 1,016ft (309.6m) skyscraper was inaugurated by the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, and the Duke of York, Prince Andrew. Andrew said after pressing a black button to mark the unveiling: "I'm extremely pleased to see that this is going to give this quarter of London a huge new boost. "And I hope that the people who will come and work here and live around here will truly appreciate not only the hard work that the entire team have put together, but also they'll recognise the relationship and investment that has been put in by both the UK and Qatar. "And I'm sure that we would all be extremely glad if this could be repeated in a number of other areas across the UK."
Now, some criticism:
¨Travellers to London can catch glimpses of the Shard's soaring 310m tall tower from across the city. Its innovative scale and design mean that it may well become a new addition to London guidebooks. However, only high budget trippers will be able to have an inside view of the 87 floors; despite having a 12,000 person capacity, the Shard's services only stretch as far as an extravagant five-star hotel, lavish restaurants, 600000 square metres of office space, top-priced flats and chic shops. As result, most travellers will find the Shard out of their price-range. Reproached for being elitist and overpriced, these are not the only criticisms that Piano's masterpiece has received. Traditionalists from UNESCO argue that the giant compromises the "visual integrity" of the Tower of London, which is one of its World Heritage sites. Nevertheless, the Shard is still expected to be a key attraction and a novelty for the thousands of visitors set to flood London's street for the Olympic Games at the end of July.¨