Friday, January 11, 2013

Tallest building in Western Europe to open to public

UK tallest building open to tourist attraction and to the public

The tallest building in Britain, the 310-meter (1,016-ft high) Shard is to greet public visitors starting on February 1. The Shard is located on  St Thomas Street in Southwark and has been funded by the State of Qatar
"Shard will become a new tourism attraction in the city," said Anders Nyberg, CEO of the Shard Viewing Gallery Management (UK) Ltd. Entry charge is 24.95 pounds per person (40.17 U.S. dollars).

At the entrance of the building, there are pictures juxtaposing iconic sites in London and 140 famous Londoners. For example, Sebastian Coe, chairman of London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, stood on a bamboo raft in front of the Houses of Parliament.

While near the Gherkin, famous writers Charles Dickens rowed a boat with William Shakespeare. When the Queen Elizabeth rode with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, London mayor Boris Johnson was shining shoes for his political rival Ken Livingstone.

On another wall, people could find many quotes about London, from Virginia Woolf to Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde to Samuel Johnson.

Described by its architect Renzo Piano as a "shard of glass" during planning stages, the building featuring 11,000 panes of glass provides the highest public observation galleries in London on its 68th to 72th floor.

Visitors are encouraged to use 12 telescopes so as to enjoy the panorama of the city. They could not only zoom the pictures, but shift to sunrise or night modes for a different scenic view which was normally hard to see due to the city's gloomy weather.

About 95 percent of the material used in building Shard was recycled. It also provides space for a Shangri-La Hotel, restaurants and residential flats.


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