The Shard, London: Cost of Europe’s Tallest Building

The Shard is the newest highlight of the London Skyline and it is dubbed as the tallest building in Europe. As a record-setting building, it goes without saying that the cost to put up this building is very steep. The final cost of the Shard and its neighboring building called the Place is an estimated 1.5 billion pounds. This covers the purchase price for the construction site and the debt interest. Many believe this is a sound investment considering that the net worth of the Shard is pegged now at 2.5 billion pounds or $3.9 billion.

The Shard is shaped as an irregular pyramid building that is entirely covered in glass. It was recently inaugurated with a laser show last July 5, 2012 and will be opened to the public in February 2013. The Shard architect Renzo Piano designed the tower to have 72 floors with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck.

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The developers of The Shard were CLS Holdings plc, Sellar Property Group and CN Ltd. They secured an initial funding package of 196 million pounds to buy out the occupational lease from the tenants of the Southwark Towers. This building was demolished to make way for the Shard.

In November 2007, the building contractor Mace received the contract award for the construction of the Shard for a set price of 350 million pounds. In October 2008, this was increased to 435 million pounds.

Because of the economic turmoil in the European market, the construction of the Shard was almost aborted. But a consortium of Qatari investors came to the rescue and paid 150 million pounds to acquire a 80% stake for the project.

Reflective and Sophisticated Design

The Shard features 11,000 panes of glass all capable of glazing and reflecting sunlight and the sky. This helps create a different look for the Shard with each weather change. Its spire-like form is said to recall the church steeples of ancient England.

Even with its glass composition, the Shard can withstand harsh and onerous situations. Architects and structural engineers have created the Shard with the lessons of the World Trade Center collapse in mind.

The Shard will house a hotel, luxury residences, premium office spaces, retail stores, spas, restaurants and even a five-story public viewing gallery on the 72nd floor. It has an elevation of 804 feet and is expected to receive over two million visitors a year. A public piazza, museum and local housing are also planned and this may generate over 300 jobs in the area.

The entrance fee for the viewing gallery will be 24.95 pounds or US$39.02. It will cost 18.95 pounds for children. This entrance fee may be a bit steep considering that a trip to the apex of the Eiffel Tower in Paris will only cost 43 pounds.

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