The newest addition to London's skyline was officially inaugurated with a spectacular laser show last night. The 1,016-foot Shard skyscraper is the city's tallest building by far and is currently the tallest building in Europe, although it will lose that crown when Moscow's Mercury City Tower is completed later this year. The building—funded and part-owned by Qatar—has sparked debate over whether it is an architectural triumph or a blot on the mostly low-rise city's skyline.
The Shard "will define London and it's our equivalent to the Empire State building," former London Mayor Ken Livingstone told the BBC. "It brought 10,000 jobs to one of the most run down and deprived areas of London but unlike a lot of the other tall buildings, Londoners will have access to this one." Others weren't as impressed. "We have this massive pyramid slapped down here as a monument to the munificence of the Emirate of Qatar," said a spokesman for a neighborhood group, complaining about the $40 cost of a ticket to the viewing platform. (Read more skyscraper stories.)