The Shard, Europe’s tallest building, is to be officially inaugurated on 5 July in a spectacular display of light from 12 lasers and 30 search-lights, accompanied by classical music. Light-up is scheduled at 22.15 GMT and can be watched online at www.the-shard.com.
The Shard is designed by versatile Italian architect Renzo Piano, also responsible for the unusual Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The building’s external construction is now complete but work inside will continue until 2013.
Offices, restaurants, a hotel and apartments occupy 68 of the floors; on top of these are the viewing platforms on floors 68-72 and then the top 15 levels that make up the pointed summit. It is 309.6m high but will soon be topped by the Mercury City Tower in Moscow. There are 44 lifts and a ticket to the viewing platforms costs €24.95 for an adult, €18.95 for children.
The building, which is located in Southwark, south of the river Thames, is 95 per cent owned by the Qatar National Bank and the remainder by the UK’s private property company, Sellar Property Group. It is located close to London Bridge rail station and not far from Southwark Cathedral.