The Shard and other famous, tall buildings around the world
The Shard, London's iconic tower, turns 10 in July 2022. While construction began in 2009, it was topped and inaugurated in 2012.
Formerly called the London Bridge Tower, this building is a 72-story skyscraper. It is the tallest building in the UK. At one point, it was the tallest in Europe, but it was overtaken by Moscow's Mercury City Tower.
The observation deck was opened in 2013, and from there, it is possible to see some of London's most famous sights.
The Shard is home to three restaurants, one of which is 5-star. It also hosts the news channel Al Jazeera. In fact, the Shard is Al Jazeera's second-biggest office after their hub in Doha, Qatar.
A group known as Place Hackers, led by Oxford researcher Bradley Garrett, climbed The Shard in secret in 2011. They stunned the world with their photos. Their motivation? An urge to subvert 'engineered exclusion' - the fact that certain places in cities like London are no longer accessible to everyone.
From influencing buildings in Pokemon to featuring in Machine Gun Kelly's video for 'Maybe', The Shard has proven itself to be an iconic building in pop culture. It has also been spotted in 'Dr Who' (2013) and 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' (2019).
While The Shard is a gorgeous structure, it is not the only one. The world is blessed with many awe-inspiring buildings. The Burj Khalifa, for example, which is pictured here in Dubai's skyline, is the world's tallest structure.
Construction began in 2004 and the building was inaugurated in 2010. It was built with some repurposed steel from the former parliament in East Berlin, and it was designed to be the centerpiece of the Downtown Dubai project.
When the construction of the building was hit by financial problems, Sheikh Khalifa, the then-leader of the UAE, gave monetary aid. As a result, the building was renamed in his honor.
Apart from being the tallest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa has the world's highest restaurant and nightclub, as well as the world's longest travel distance for elevators.
There have been labor controversies, such as people being stuck on elevators and illegal base jumping. This is typical of many tall structures.
Image: Adryan Ra, Unsplash
What is unique to this building is that the sun is visible for longer to those on the highest floors. In fact, people living there are mandated to wait a couple of extra minutes to break their Ramadan fast.
Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China, and it is the tallest LEED Platinum building in the world, which means it is environmentally friendly.
The Shanghai Tower reopened on July 1, 2022, with 50% capacity. Other tourist sites were also reopened to tourists as China tries to return to normalcy after heavy Covid restrictions.
The One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the USA and the Western Hemisphere. It is named after one of the towers that were destroyed in the infamous terror attack on September 11, 2001.
The tower looks glorious in this picture as it dominates the Manhattan skyline at sunset. However, some commentators have called the base of the tower ugly.
This is the world's second-tallest building, and its name means 'independence'. It is notable also for its green credentials, and it will be certified LEED Platinum. It was completed in the middle of 2022.
Proponents of the building, such as the Prime Minister (pictured), say that the building will be a boon to the economy, though many normal citizens see the building as an extravagance and a waste of public funds.
On this list, we have seen buildings in North America, Asia, and Europe. But what about Africa?
In Cairo, Egypt's capital, the Iconic Tower will be Africa's tallest building when it is completed in 2023. It will overtake South Africa's The Leonardo, which is currently Africa's tallest structure, and its design has been inspired by Egyptian mythology.
Although there are too many glorious towers to list, some we can mention here. The Tokyo Skytree is 634 meters (2080 feet) tall; China's Canton Tower boasts an observatory; and last but not least, Malaysia's Petronas Towers have featured in a raft of TV and movies.
One constant throughout this list is that buildings frequently get overtaken by newer, taller ones. However, as The Shard celebrates its first decade of existence, its status as the UK's tallest building seems secure for the moment.
Happy Birthday, The Shard!