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The Shard

Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, The Shard is a 1,004 ft (306 meter) tall skyscraper in London that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The building's design appearance resembles a sharp, crystal pyramid that mirrors the church spires of London and the masts of ships which plied the adjacent Thames. The building's façade is both double-skinned and ventilated to reduce solar gain while maximizing light intake. The Shard is a mixed use building providing office space, a hotel and residential apartments. Excess heat generated by the lower level offices is used to heat the upper floor hotel and apartments.

The Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. Its construction began in March 2009 and the building was inaugurated on July 2012. The building also features Europe's highest public viewing gallery and open-air observation deck providing of a panoramic view of London on the 72nd floor at 800 feet (244 meters) high.

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