London’s New Masterpiece: The Shard by Renzo Piano Opens to the Public

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This week, London touches the sky. Friday marks the opening of The Shard, which at 1,016 feet (or 72 stories) makes it the tallest building in the European Union. Designed by iconic architect Renzo Piano, the structure sits alongside the Thames River in one of the oldest parts of the city. Housing office space, restaurants, multimillion-dollar condos (natch) and an outpost of the ultra-luxe Shangri-La Hotel, the needlepoint edifice also hosts a public observation deck offering panoramic views of the capital. For 25 pounds, visitors are whisked to the 68th floor, where landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge can spread out below them. Last July, The Shard was inaugurated with a spectacular light show that added to the glory of a London season bracketed by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics. Meanwhile, Piano—who originally sketched the tower on the back of a menu—is busy at work on his newest projects, including a satellite campus for Columbia University in New York (in Manhattanville, 125th Street to 133rd Street, from Broadway to the Hudson River) and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

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Renzo Piano and the Shard sketch

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