London celebrates completion of Europe’s tallest building

Thursday night, the tallest building in Europe, The Shard, will be unveiled in London with a laser light show.

The light show will consist of 12 lasers and 30 search lights illuminated from The Shard’s peak to 15 other London skyscrapers with music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Daily Mail reports. It will be inaugurated by the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, and Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and son of Queen Elizabeth II, and streamed on the Internet.

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, The Shard stands at 1,016 feet (310 km), contains 11,000 panes of glass, and was funded by the Qatar National Bank. The Shard stands in the heart of London on the South Bank of the River Thames, right near a number of London’s major landmarks, such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, The Tower of London, London Bridge, and Tower Bridge.

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Shard is expected to be filled by 2014. It will house offices, residences, a five-star hotel and a public viewing gallery. The public viewing gallery — which will offer a 4o mile, 360 degree view of London — will open on Feb. 1, 2013 with ticket prices at £90 ($140.39) for a family of four. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Later this year, The Shard’s reign as the tallest building in Europe will cease with the completion of The Mercury City Tower in Moscow, USA Today reports. The Guardian documented the construction of London’s newest landmark with a time-lapse video.


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