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London skyscraper under construction: New icon or eyesore?

December 26th, 2009

shardLondon,  the city’s controversial Shard project, the fantastic looking “vertical city” under construction right now. It was designed by Renzo Piano, one of the world’s leading architects.

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The dramatic, glass-covered tower - to reach 1,106 feet at its pinnacle – will contain 87 stories of offices, apartments, restaurants, bars, shops and five-star hotel rooms, according to TimesOnline.

The project has its critics, the story notes. Britain’s leading conservation group, English Heritage, calls it “a spike through the heart of historic London,” the article says. Supporters, however, see it as a symbol of recovery for London that will revitalize the run-down heart of old London, the story says.

You’ll definitely have an opinion either way once you see the computer-generated renderings on the Shard’s official website. Be sure to check out the nifty aerial views.

If you go to the construction site in London Bridge Quarter today, all you will see is a hole in the ground the size of 25 Olympic swimming pools, according to the article. But from now on, the Shard will rise at a rate of about two stories per week for the next year, the story says. It’s set to open in May 2012.

By the way, before construction began, developers signed a deal with Shangri-La Hotels to lease floors 34 to 52 for a luxury hotel, according to a prior Times article.

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