The Shard: Europe’s Tallest Building Completed

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London's latest landmark, the Shard, will play host to a laser show tonight to mark the building reaching its highest point. It is now officially the tallest building in London, and indeed in the whole of Europe, at 309m tall.

Located by the River Thames at London Bridge, the Shard is quickly becoming one of London's most recognisable buildings. Over the last year it has been steadily growing taller, becoming more and more dominant in the London skyline. However, the building has split opinion; whilst many have praised the modern and sleek design, others have complained that it isn't in keeping with surrounding buildings and its height ruins views of the city.

With the external work on it finally complete, an inauguration ceremony is taking place from around 10pm tonight. For the finale of the ceremony, 12 lasers and 30 search lights will beam out from the Shard across London, picking out famous landmarks throughout the city. Locations such as the Gherkin, St Paul's Cathedral and Tower Bridge will all be marked, before the Shard itself is lit up from all sides. This light show is expected to start at around 10.10pm tonight, so if you're out and about in London around then, make sure you look up.

A Costly View

Though the exterior has been completed, the Shard will not be ready to officially open until 2013, as the interior is still far from finished. Once it does open, the building will be home to offices, residences, a luxury hotel and restaurants. It will also have a viewing gallery that will provide stunning views across the capital for the public. However, the recently announced admission prices have caused a bit of an uproar.

It was revealed that an adult ticket to the platform (which will be the highest viewing point in London) will cost £24.95. Critics have said this seems very pricey for what is essentially the right to use an elevator, and indeed, it seems even more so when compared to the price of an adult ticket to the top of the Eiffel Tower at just 14 euros (about £11).

Not all that Tall?

Although the Shard is Europe's tallest building, it is more than half a kilometre shorter than the tallest building in the world- Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Indeed, it is only the 59th tallest building in the world, and amazingly there are a total of 16 skyscrapers in Dubai alone that are taller than the Shard.

What's more, its claim as the tallest building in Europe is also going to be short-lived, with the taller Mercury City Tower in Moscow set to be completed by the end of the year. Oh well, at least London can boast for now.

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