The Shard will be officially opened today by Prince Andrew and the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor al-Thani.
The Qatar sovereign wealth fund owns 95% of the Shard, which became the tallest building in Europe in January this year, at 310m (1,016 ft), with 72 habitable floors
The Shard will be opened tonight at around 10pm with 12 laser beams radiating from its 310m high apex and the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man – which seems a bit rich given, as Steven Rose writes in the Guardian today, the apartments on the top floors are being valued at £30m-£50m each.
Even the £24.95 the BBC says it will cost to get a ticket to the viewing platform from next February is a bit steep.
Not sure how generous the weather will be today either. Michael Lockett, in charge of the unveiling, told The Daily Telegraph:
“The forecast isn’t great. At the moment it looks as though the cloud base won’t be too low, though, so people will still be able to see the top when it is lit up...In a way the laser effects we’ve got planned will work even more dramatically If there’s a bit of mist.”
Kevin Rawlinson in the Independent asks: where are all the tenants?
This building divides opinion.
Writing in yesterday’s Guardian, Simon Jenkins accused the Shard of having slashed the face of London for ever:
“This tower is anarchy. It conforms to no planning policy. It marks no architectural focus or rond-point. It offers no civic forum or function, just luxury flats and hotels. It stands apart from the City cluster and pays no heed to its surrounding context in scale, materials or ground presence. It seems to have lost its way from Dubai to Canary Wharf.”
But then London has always been a hotchpotch – never planned with the precision of, say, Haussmann’s Parisian boulevards.
I’ve got used to the Shard being there now.
From the middle distance of the river, it looks breathtaking; less so from afar (say from the top of Parliament Hill); and up close in the surrounding streets it's a forbidding glass cliff-face.
The Shard is another piece in London’s chaotic jigsaw, and as with all landmarks, over time you’ll forget it wasn’t always there.
“In 200 years time someone will submit plans for a building that obscures the view of the Shard from certain angles....There will be a public outcry.”
Oh dear. A Dazzling Light Show or Just a Damp Squib? - asks the Huffington Post...leading to much shardenfreude...and (inevitably) some onlookers feeling shard done by.