The Shard, London.
Europe's largest skyscraper, designed by Renzo Piano.

Western Europe's tallest building, The Shard, will be formally inaugurated in London today by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and HRH the Duke of York KG. The event marks the physical completion of the exterior of the building -- which is fast becoming one of the most recognisable London skyline silhouettes.

The inauguration represents the culmination of a 12-year journey to build a significant new landmark on the London skyline. Designed by renowned master architect Renzo Piano and developed by Sellar Property, The Shard stands at 310m (1,016 ft). The Shard's 95-stories will become a 'vertical town' comprising office space, residences, restaurants and the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. The building will also house the capital's highest public viewing gallery, The View from The Shard, which will offer 360° views of London stretching for over 40 miles and opens on 1 February 2013.

The Shard is the highly visible landmark at the heart of London Bridge Quarter, a 2m sq ft gross mixed-use development which, once complete, will create more than 12,000 jobs. London Bridge Quarter is a key part of the regeneration of this part of London and benefits from access to one of London's key transport hubs, London Bridge Station. The development has transformed London Bridge Station delivering a new bus station and train station concourse, and this will be linked by a central plaza which will open in 2013. This plaza will also link The Shard to its' sister building The Place, a new 17 storey HQ building due to complete in Spring 2013.

The Shard is owned by LBQ Limited, comprising the State of Qatar (the majority shareholder) and Sellar Property, with non-equity funding by Qatar National Bank.

The inauguration will also be marked by a spectacular light and laser show, where lasers will reach out from The Shard to other major landmark buildings across the capital; including the London Eye, the Gherkin and Tower Bridge at approximately 22.15 (BST) on the evening of 5 July. This will be streamed live at the-shard.com.

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