sábado, 10 de novembro de 2012

The View from The Shard: If you build it, they will come


Nov 9th 2012, 12:02 by L.F.



The Shard, London’s newest skyscraper, is the tallest building in western Europe. It pierces the sky above London Bridge, and divides opinion on the ground. Some praise its elegant lines and staggering height, while others view it as a gratuitous monument to power. Qatari power, to be precise—the State of Qatar is the majority shareholder.
Love it or loathe it, it is here to stay. And from February 1st 2013 the public will be able to speed up the skyscraper in less than 60 seconds to view London from 72 floors up. At 244 metres (800 ft) it is almost twice as high as any other public viewing point in the city, enabling visitors to see for 40 miles—further than Windsor—on a clear day.
Andy Nyberg, chief executive of The View From the Shard , the grandly named visitor attraction, is fresh from working on the view from Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai. The designers plan to deliver a high-tech multi-sensory experience with an authentic London theme. He hopes the Shard will become the first stop for tourists who are new to the city.
A welcome gallery, at ground level, will introduce the history and culture of London with multimedia maps and videos of Londoners enjoying city life. Images of famous people doing slightly tongue-in-cheek things—Margaret Thatcher and Karl Marx riding on a tandem bicycle and George Orwell installing CCTV cameras—will inject a British sense of humour. The music has been specially commissioned and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra.
The 360-degree view is certainly breathtaking. Strict planning regulations have ensured that most of London’s skyline is still fairly low-rise, preserving the views of significant landmarks. From on-high the city is a swell of organised chaos, the winding River Thames and swathes of railway lines dissecting an otherwise refreshingly green metropolis with a happy jumble of historic landmarks and modern edifices. Several interactive telescopes (known as tell:scopes) provide touch-screen information on 200 landmarks, allowing visitors to zoom in on the live view, or show it on a clear day or at night—a useful back-up for London’s unpredictable weather.
Qatar’s investment in the Shard is part of its Qatar National Vision 2030, the emir’s blueprint for changing the country’s hydrocarbon economy into a knowledge economy through investment in property, education and cultural projects around the globe. The influx of cash will revive a tired area—about a tenth of the £500m ($800m) budget has been spent on improving local infrastructure. Local businesses hope it will bring crowds to nearby attractions too, such as The Globe and Borough Market which have a stronger heritage. Tickets are not cheap; £24.95 for an adult. Mr Nyberg must be confident that the tourists will be happy to pay up.
Fonte: The Economist

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