In 2012 ‘The Shard’ will open on London’s South Bank and become Europe’s tallest building.
The colossal new skyscraper will be 1,004 ft tall and have an immense 1.361 million sq-ft of floor space. There will be enough room for 600,000 offices, 65,000 flats, a 200,000 sq-ft hotel and it will have a total of 44 lifts.
Construction has now began, despite the public objections that the Shard will ruin London’s skyline and that St Paul’s Cathedral will become overshadowed.
The Shard developer, Irvine Sellar, has said, “During the public inquiry, the Shard faced opposition from a combination of groups, from the Royal Parks Foundation and English Heritage, to St Paul’s, which argued that the building would cast a metaphoric shadow over the cathedral.”
All of which threatened to shut down the project, as finding investment became extremely difficult.
Fortunately, at the beginning of 2008 a Qatari consortium invested £150 million for an 80 percent controlling stake in the Shard development.
This has raised concerns that the building will not be designed for Londoners, to which Mr Seller has replied, “You can eat there, and sleep there because of the hotel. It is the first vertical town, and how many buildings can you say that about?”
Some have suggested that this ‘vertical town’ will become a place where Londoners can wander around, in the same way as they would wander around Oxford Street.
The date of completion is set at 2012, as Mr Seller wants it to be built in time for the London Olympics.