Unlike the US or east Asia, Europe isn’t generally known for its collection of massive skyscrapers. But when “The Shard” officially opened in London yesterday, Great Britain now has the honor of having the tallest skyscraper in Europe.
A combination of 12 lasers and 30 searchlights lit up the night sky from the 95 storey building, which towers over existing landmarks such as 30 St Mary Axe - the “Gherkin” - and One Canada Square.
The display was accompanied by live music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and came after a ceremony attended by the Duke of York and Qatar’s prime minister.
Rising from the depths of the economic downturn, thanks to an almighty investment from Qatar, the skyscraper has been £1.5bn and 12 years in the making.
First sketched on the back of a restaurant menu in Berlin in 2000, the designs received planning approval in 2003, but securing the finances took significantly longer.
Funding stalled during the credit crunch, until Qatar intervened in 2009, taking on 95% of the investment.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud al Thani, the governor of Qatar Central Bank and chairman of the board of directors of Shard Funding Ltd, said: “The Shard is the newest London landmark and a beacon of the city of London’s resilience and expansion, even during tough economic times.”
“It is a symbol of Qatar’s belief and commitment to London both today and in the future.”
However, the skyscraper’s office space has yet to be occupied - it will open with 26 floors vacant, although the developers say they are in discussion with a number of companies to fill them.
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