On Thursday the 5th of July, The Shard skyscraper was officially opened in London. I’ve slowly watched it being built over the past three years from my flat and there is no doubting that it is now the most significant object in London’s Skyline. It’s a building that has drawn a lot of criticism because its so radically different to any other building in London, especially because of its height. Another criticism has been that its a building that has largely been funded by the State of Qatar, as such I’ve seen many comments from people who aren’t so keen on how Arab states are slowly taking over many of London’s properties. Without their funding though, its unlikely that this project would have ever happened.
It was also announced that the price for an adult to visit the viewing deck from next year would be £24.95 which raised many cries of being too expensive. It is pricey for a view, I think it would have been better if it was inline with the cost of a cinema ticket, I’m certainly looking forward to checking it out though.
The apartments to be sold are of course going to be reserved for nothing but the super rich and as such probably won’t even be their true places of residence. Even if I personally could afford one of those apartments, I’m not sure I’d want to live there. For one, you are sharing the building with businesses, restaurants, shops, a hotel and thousands of tourists; of course they likely get their own elevator, but it might grate on you. Then there is the view itself, while fantastic on a lovely sunny day it can’t be ignored that the weather in this country is very rarely like that, especially given that we have just has the wettest June on record and July has been little better so far. I actually looked up at The Shard during the recent Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the Thames and noticed that much of the building was obscured by cloud… so much for having the best view in London eh?
Finally, the biggest reason I’d be wary of living in such a building is obviously because of 9/11. I don’t think you could live in the building and not have it in the back of your mind that something like that could happen. Sure, I doubt any planes are going to be crashed into it, but there is still the risk of a fire. If you are up there at the top, you are pretty much screwed! I suppose if you can afford to live there, you can likely afford to buy a parachute though!
But back to the recent launch night, they announced that London would be lit up like nothing we had ever seen before. They achieved this by using coloured spot lights to reflect off the building and change its colour, along with green lasers that shot out across the Capital. Sadly for them, the light show was considered by many to be a let down. I suppose after all the money that had been spent on it and how ostentatious many of the buildings Arab states have built are… I’m looking at you Dubai… I’m surprised myself that they didn’t do something bigger. I’m not saying it wasn’t interesting to see The Shard changing colours and laser beams in the sky, but it just felt like it could have been so much more.
I put together a video of the light show, which you can check out below: