London Unveils Europe’s Largest Building (For Now)

The Shard, Europe‘s tallest building, has recently finished external completion. Located in London, the building is 1,016 feet in height, and is being promoted as an icon for the city. While visitors won’t officially be able to go to the top of The View from The Shard, the building’s viewing platform, until February 1, 2013, tickets have gone on sale.

With 95 stories, 44 elevators, 206 flights of stairs, 600,000 square feat of office space and 11,000 panes of glass that will be angled to reflect the sky and change with the weather, the building is impressive. It will feature apartments selling for about £50 million pounds, office spaces, restaurants, a five-star hotel and the viewing platform. Plans for The Shard were approved in 2003. While some believe the building is a disgrace to London’s heritage, creation of the project moved forward.

Later this year, the building will have to change its title to tallest building in Western Europe, as the Mercury City Tower in the Moscow International Building Center will be completed, at 1,089 feet.

On July 5, a laser light show was held to celebrate the building’s external completion, which can be seen in the video above.

New world’s tallest building planned for Saudi Arabia

Less than two years after the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai, Saudi Arabia‘s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced a new world’s tallest building to be built on the Red Sea resort town of Jeddah. The Saudi building is planned to be 172 meters (564 feet) taller than the Burj and will stand at 1,000 meters or 3,281 feet. It will be part of the $20 billion “megadevelopment” Kingdom City and will house luxury condos, offices, and of course, a hotel. The prince has signed a $1.23 billion deal with the Bin Laden Group, the largest construction firm in Saudi Arabia and unaffiliated with Osama Bin Laden, to complete the new tallest building in five years.

Last month, Gadling explored the 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa. Gadling and Huffington Post blogger Melanie Nayer was one of the first guests at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong earlier this year, currently the highest hotel in the world. Check out our gallery below of the world’s tallest buildings.


Image of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa by Flickr user Jason Rodman.

Eiffel tower to undergo $267 million makeover

The days of standing in line to enter the Eiffel Tower may be numbered as a $267 million, 10-year plan has been unveiled that will give better and easier access to visitors. Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was designed for 500,000 people, today the structure attracts about 7 million visitors a year.

At some point in the future you will be able to reserve a 30-minute slot online, the restaurant will be bigger and cheaper, and there will be a new champagne bar on the third floor. With these changes, they hope to attract not only a larger tourist crowd but also Parisians, and of course increase the Tower’s profit levels too.

Lines to visit tourist hotspots are a major annoyance these days so it’s cool that steps are being taken to cut line-time. The Alhambra and the Tower of London are some of the other places that have done a great job giving people the option of pre-booking their visit online.

Burj Dubai: why does it have to go so high!?

Dubai is all about being the best, biggest, richest, poshest, greatest, hottest and having the longest, widest, highest, gaudiest, craziest…the list is endless.

When I lived there, when we read the news on these new and upcoming ‘superlative’ projects, we would joke about how Dubai really is an architectural representation of the male ego — constantly trying to prove who has got the biggest you-know-what. No offense intended.

Anyway, home to the world’s first and only 7-star hotel, man-made islands in the shape of a palm and the world — that can be seen from the moon (that’s how they marketed the New Year’s Eve bash in 2006: “be at the party that can be seen from the moon!” What a disaster it was!) — Dubai is also battling to be home to the worlds tallest building with the construction of the Burj Dubai.

Construction began in 2004, and today the building stands at 585.7 meters. They haven’t confirmed how high it’s going to be, because they want to win the race. If they declare the height, they are afraid someone else may beat them to it.

I have a friend who works on the architectural team of the Burj. He tells me how scared he is about the construction of this monstrosity. See, the structure works on paper, but since it’s aiming to be the tallest, its infrastructure has never been tested before.

What does that mean? They cannot foresee all consequences, so anything can happen; I see a danger flag. My friend says he will make sure he’s on the first flight out once he finishes his job; he’s not thrilled to be part of something so potentially dangerous.

Some of Dubai’s kicks are just beyond me. I enjoyed living there, but I’m glad to be out.

They Really Are High in Amsterdam!

You have probably all heard it by now. Americans are no longer the world’s tallest people. How much bad news can one take? The dollar is worth close to nothing. Everyone makes fun of Bush. Now Americans are not only the fattest nation but also one of the few that’s actually getting short? Good grief.

The new “tallest people” order goes like this:

  1. The Netherlands (average man is almost 6’1″; average American man is about 2″ shorter)
  2. Denmark (6′)
  3. The Czech Republic (5’11”)

Something tells me the result of this statistic has more to do with strict immigration policies than nutrition…