I have to say I’m a little miffed. For the last three years I have been craning my neck out of the cab window marvelling at the way construction workers assembled – and that’s the right word – assembled The Shard.
So it was late last Monday that I found out that cabbies could – for free – go up to the viewing platforms instead of paying £24.95 if you pre-booked or if you should just turn up on the day a whopping £100.
The Shard has polarised opinion, during the last year I have been authoring a feature entitled the London Grill in which the same 10 questions are asked of the guest contributor. Two questions are: ‘What is your most hated/loved building in London’.
The Shard comes up time and again. One contributor was so enthused by its construction she had photographed it through every stage of the build.
This Marmite of a building reminded me of the anecdote when after its construction the Eiffel Tower was highly controversial amongst the Parisians. One famous quote is from novelist Guy de Maupassant, who hated the tower but still went to its restaurant every day. When asked why, he said it was because it is the only place in Paris were one cannot see the structure.
Luckily for the Eiffel Tower haters, Eiffel only had permit to keep the tower for 20 years, after that it would be demolished. However, as the tower proved valuable for telecommunication purposes, it was allowed to remain intact even after the time had expired. As time passed, more and more people started to like the building. Today, almost all Parisians love the tower.
The Shard, symbolising London’s burgeoning wealth has a 75 year specification written into its design, but will this new icon prove to be as ephemeral as the 1960s buildings which once graced London Wall or, as with the Parisians, Londoners take it to their heart?
The Shard by Christine Matthews