London officially welcomed Renzo Piano’s Shard to its skyline last night with a laser light show and royalty-studded ceremony. The event was hosted by Prince Andrew and Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, which backed the development.
The 306-meter (1,004-foot) Shard will be the tallest building in Western Europe when it is completed early next year.
"I hope (people) will feel that this building has a little poetic soul," Mr. Piano told Channel 4. "It will reflect the weather in London, whatever it is."
Video from the event:
The inauguration also sparked another round of debate over the tower, which is hot topic of discussion in London. While some view the tower as a symbol of London's prestige, others criticize the design and fear it will have a negative impact on the city’s office market.
A sampling of coverage:
Opening The Shard:
Associated Free Press, London "The Shard, Europe's Tallest Building, Launched Amid Debate"
Bloomberg Business Week "London's Shard Owner Estimates Tower's Value at $3.9billion"
BBC "London's Shard Skyscraper Rises Above Its Critics"
Bloomberg Business Week "Shard Architect Renzo Piano says Tower Not Arrogant"
Washington Post "London Unveils The Shard, Europe’s New Tallest Building--For Now"
Bloomberg "The Shard Inauguration"
Construction Week Online "Europe's Tallest Tower to get Qatari Opening"
The Guardian "The Shard is the Perfect Metaphor for Modern London"
The Economist "Tower Power"
Bloomberg "Shard Skyscraper Adds Offices to London Stung by Slowdown"
Videos of The Shard:
Skynews The Shard Laser Light Show
The Age "Icon or Eyesore? London's New Giant Skyscraper"
The Globe and Mail "The Shard: London's New High-Rise"
Timelapse Video of The Shard's Construction