Tallest Building in Europe Officially Inaugurated

The Shard, standing at 310 meters (1,016 feet), is officially the tallest building in Europe.

London—The Shard, standing at 310 meters (1,016 feet), is officially the tallest building in Europe. The tower was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and Prince Andrew Albert Edward, the Duke of York. The event marks the completion of the exterior of the building and a light show featuring 12 lasers and 30 searchlights lit the London skyline in celebration.

Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the pyramid-shaped façade of the building features over 11,000 clear blue glass panels that reflect the sky, clouds and sunlight in such a way that on a sunny day the building will “shimmer on the London skyline like a shard of glass.”

The Shard is a joint venture between the state of Qatar and the Sellar Property Group. The project was funded by the Qatar National Bank.

The Shard has 72 habitable floors and a further 15 levels that make up the spire. The mixed-use building was designed to be a “vertical city” and will feature around 600,000 square feet of office space, restaurants, luxury residences and a five star 200-unit Shangri-La Hotel and Spa, scheduled to open in 2013. There will also be public observation galleries on the top floors, offering unique 360-degree views of London.

The skyscraper, located in the heart of London, is part of the London Bridge Quarter GBP 2 billion ($3.11 billion) regeneration project in the Southwark area of London. The plan also calls for the development of The Place, a 17-story, 428,000-square-foot office building, the modernization of the landmark London Bridge Station and a new central public plaza, which will bind all the elements of the London Bridge Quarter.