Friday, July 6, 2012

The Shard: Western Europe's Tallest Building Opens in London

As the world's cities continue to reach for the sky, a sleek, 1,016-foot structure was officially opened in London, England. Italian architect Renzo Piano, who designed the building, gave the building the name The Shard when he referred to it during the planning stages as a "shard of glass." Others have dubbed it "The Cheese Grater." The design was inspired by Canaletto's paintings of the Thames and the masts of tall ships that once graced the city. The 12-year, 1.5 billion-pound project will include a five-star hotel, restaurants, 600,000 square metres of office space, and shops. There will be 10 flats on floors 53 - 65 which will be the highest homes in Britain. The project came close to cancellation in 2007, amid the credit crunch. Qatar came to the rescue - funding 95 % of the construction and adding the Shard to its portfolio of London properties, which includes the Olympic Village and Harrods. There is an observation deck for visitors on the 69th floor that will open to the public in February 2013. Check out this informative video via Sky News and more views from the BBC website. I have not seen any souvenir replicas of the Shard as yet, but will be on the lookout. If you see any, let us know via the comments link below.  

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