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The Shard

The Shard - Europe's new tallest building

The Shard features offices, a 5-star hotel with over than 200 rooms and suites, and three floors of restaurants featuring city views.

EUROPE’S TALLEST building has been officially inaugurated in London.

The Shard stands at 310 metres (or 95 storeys) high and is officially the continent’s tallest building – though a tower under construction in Russia is likely to break that record before the year is out. About 26 floors of the lower section of the building are being set aside as office space, while a “world-class dining experience” will occupy a three-story atrium.

A hotel, the Shangri-La, will occupy floors 34 through 52. Above this will be residential space and viewing platforms for visitors. If you want a taste of what London looks like from that height, the building’s website has an interactive panoramic photo showing 360-degree views from the top of The Shard.

The Shard - Europe's new tallest building
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  • The Shard

    File photo of The Shared under construction in London. (Lewis Whyld/PA Wire)
  • The Shard

    The laser show projected from The Shard skyscraper on the South Bank, London, as seen from Parliament Hill. (John Phillips/UK Press/Press Association Images)
  • The Shard

  • The Shard

    A view of trains and passengers at London Bridge station in London from the 69th floor of The Shard. (Lewis Whyld/PA Wire)
  • The Shard

    A view of the Olympics stadium from The Shared. (Lewis Whyld/PA Wire)
  • The Shard

    A file aerial view of The Shard before completion. (Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)
  • The Shard

    The laser show gets underway for The Shard's official inauguration last night. (William Parker/UK Press/Press Association Images)
  • The Shard

    The Shard features offices, a 5-star hotel with more than 200 rooms and suites and 3 floors of restaurants. (AP photo/Sang Tui/PA)
  • The Shard

    A cleaner works on the exterior of The Shared ahead of its inauguration yesterday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis/PA)
  • The Shard

    PA Graphics

Speaking at the launch, architect Renzo Piano said that the building was designed to be a “sparkling, quite gentle spire” and not a symbol of arrogance and power. Irvine Sellar, chairman of Sellar Property Group which owns the building, said the company is “confident we’ve got very strong financial backers who have provided long-term funding for this building to see us through this recession”.

The development of the building and its surrounding area is estimated at £1.5 billion and one of the project’s major backers is Qatar.

Emergency services were called to the site earlier this week after reports of a window cleaner’s trolley swinging at the top of the tower. Site engineers were able to help the cleaner safely from the device and no injuries were reported.

Although the building’s exterior has been finished, work will continue on the interior into 2013.

The building was launched last night with a spectacular laser show:

(Video credit: BroadcastExchange)

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