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Architectural Design  

Shard Tower: London's Vertical City

Shard's glass pyramid is the tallest building in Western Europe.
 The Shard Tower
 
 

With 87 floors of high quality offices, apartments, restaurants and hotel space, architect Renzo Piano’s Shard Tower in London has enough available room to house a “vertical city”.

Opening on Thursday, the building is just one of several skyscrapers emerging across London’s skyline. Funded by the wealthy royal family of Qatar, the glass pyramid, built above a train station near Thames, is the tallest building in Western Europe.

Its crystalline facade provides the highest viewing gallery offering 360 degree views of the city. Positioned in the heart of London, the London Bridge Quarter is located centrally between Westminister, West End, the South Bank, the City and Canary Wharf.

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According to reports, the development cost of the Shard, a neighboring office building called The Place and community areas near London Bridge train station is about 1.5 billion pounds.

While most of the Shard’s real estate remains vacant, developers say lease breaks and expiries over the next several years will encourage tenants to fill the new office space by 2014. So far, the only tenant at the Shard is the Shangri-La hotel, which occupies 19 floors and 195 rooms.

But a freeze on similar neighboring projects continues to raise concerns.

Construction on the nearby Pinnacle skyscraper and building located at 100 Bishopsgate are on hold until a large tenant signs on.

Since 2010, buyers overseas have invested 15.8 billion pounds in London offices but a dip in the economic cycle could shift investments and potential tenants elsewhere.

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