Qatar's PM opens The Shard skyscraper in London |
Gulf Times - 06 July, 2012
Just in time for the Olympics, London yesterday inaugurated its newest landmark - a 310-m high glass-panelled tower that’s the tallest building in Europe.
It was inaugurated HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mayor of London Boris Johnson as well as heads of diplomatic missions of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states in London and ranking British dignitaries.
It was also attended by the Qatari Ambassador in London Khalid Rashid Salim al-Hamoudi al-Mansouri and a number of Qatari officials.
HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said in a speech during the inauguration ceremony that this investment reflected the good relations between Qatar and the United Kingdom in various fields, especially economic sector.
This project is one of several long-term investments of State of Qatar in United Kingdom, HE the Prime Minister added. He thanked all the attendees and all those who contributed to this work.
For his part, the Duke of York said this project will further enhance relation between the United Kingdom and Qatar especially the investments and tourism sectors that serve the economy in the two countries.
Following the opening ceremony, HE the Prime Minister and the Duke of York visited the top floor and highest terrace in Europe, which reveal the panoramic views of the City of London, where the city’s most prominent monuments can be seen for a distance of 60 miles very clearly, such as London Eye, Canary Wharf and the Thames.
He listened to a briefing on the tower’s various sections which includes ‘Shangri-La’ five-star luxurious hotel, luxury hotel apartments and administrative offices in addition to a number of floors that contain well-known world restaurants.
The attendees watched at beginning of the ceremony a documentary on the phases of the tower’s construction , and a presentation on the services provided in the project such as the mixed use ‘residential and commercial’.
The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building,is London’s newest landmark
HE the Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB), the chairman of London Bridge Quarter Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani in his speech said: “For me the height of The Shard is only secondary. What I find so special is the solid and continuing relationship between two nations: Qatar and Britain which has been an important factor in completing this project.”
The QCB governor added that Qatar’s relationship with great Britain dates back to the 19th century. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed a strong relationship. As we know, British companies are increasingly making their presence in Qatar, while the Qatari firms are investing in the UK.
“Our relationships have grown beyond trade and finance and we are moving together towards a bright future,” he said.
He went on saying: “I am honoured to belong to the State of Qatar, the country which play a key role in the implementation and the successful completion of the project even in the midst of the global slowdown.”
He also said that The Shard had already became and important symbol for London - a symbol of Qatari- British close relationship rooted in the foundations of economic growth, social development, mutual trust and goodwill.
The Shard, as it is known because of its shape, houses a luxury hotel, expensive shops, offices, restaurants, exclusive flats and a public observation platform affording breathtaking views over the capital. It is owned jointly by the state of Qatar and the Sellar Property Group.
It was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The building near the river Thames in the central district of Southwark has been likened to a pyramid or a rocket out of space.
Shard London Bridge or The Shard (formerly known as London Bridge Tower or the Shard of Glass is a skyscraper in Southwark, London. Standing 309.6m (1,016ft) above ground level, it is the tallest building in the European Union as of July 2012. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the 330-m (1,083ft) concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station.
The Shard replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office building constructed on the site in 1975. Renzo Piano, the Shard’s architect, worked with the architectural firm Broadway Malyan during the planning stage. The tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor, at a height of 245m (804 ft).