The Shard will finally open to the public next month! Standing at 309.6 m (1016 ft), it is officially the tallest building in the European Union and the second tallest in Europe (after the Mercury City Tower in Moscow). It was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, of such accomplishments such as Paris’ Pompidou Centre, and the architectural firm Broadway Malyan. Renzo claims that the irregular pyramid shape was inspired by symbols of the industrial age: London spires, railways and sailing ships. With 11,000 panes of glass, it reflects the London skyline like a perfect shard. It has 72 habitable floors, and is equipped with a Shangri-La hotel, observation deck, offices, residences, retails, restaurants, spa, and a five story public viewing gallery. The latter will be a chief tourist draw, expected to draw over 2 million visitors a year once it opens in next February. Adult entry will be £24.95 (US$40).
“We’re aiming for a million visitors a year and I think we’ll achieve it,” said Andy Nyberg, chief executive of The View From the Shard and a former director of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. “We’ve been on sale since July and we’ve well surpassed our expectations. We’ve sold tens and tens of thousands [of tickets]. We’re recommending people book about ten days in advance because we don’t want them to be disappointed.”
From the open-air observation decks on levels 69 to 72, visitors can view breathtaking panoramas of the London skyline–and catch unique sights of the Olympic Stadium, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Wembley Stadium.
Check out the Shard’s official website for previews of the panoramas.
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