This Controversial Tower In London Was Just Named The World's Best New Skyscraper [PHOTOS]

London’s 87-story building, The Shard, has been named the world’s best new skyscraper by Emporis, an international building database.

The building, which was completed in 2012, is the tallest building in Western Europe and was designed by architect Renzo Piano. The Shard is certainly striking, but it has also been a source of controversy since it became part of the London’s skyline.

Londoners widely hated the modernist building, and a design flaw in the building apparently lets guests see into each other’s rooms at The Shard’s Shangri-La Hotel.

Even so, the building is an impressive sight. “Construction of The Shard was complicated by the particularly tight site and therefore needed innovative planning,” an Emporis jury member said. “This makes the result all the more impressive: A skyscraper that is recognised immediately and which is already considered London’s new emblem.”

Adam Taylor and Alyson Penn contributed to this story.

At 1,016 feet tall, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano, also famous for the New York Times building in Manhattan.

Each facade of the building forms a glass 'shard,' all gently sloping towards the top but never actually touching.

Incredibly, some 95% of construction materials used to make it were recycled.

The building is covered in 11,000 panes of glass, and its façade is double-skinned and ventilated, increasing energy efficiency.

But it's been a source of controversy since it appeared on the London skyline in 2012. One article in The Guardian proclaimed: 'The Shard has slashed the face of London for ever.'

Critics said the building didn't fit with its neighbours -- and ruined a view of St. Paul's Cathedral from Parliament Hill.

It was also expensive, costing around $US2.35 billion to build. Its majority owner is the state of Qatar.

The Shard was inaugurated with a laser light show on July 5, 2012. But even that angered Londoners, who deemed the exhibition 'too short' on Twitter.

The observation deck at The Shard opened on the 68th through 72nd floors in February 2012. Here's London Mayor Boris Johnson, taking in the view.

The panorama is impressive. Visitors can see all of London, including the river Thames and Tower Bridge.

But it's not cheap. Tickets to the observation deck cost around $US40 per person.

The Shard is not all about fancy views, though. The 87-story structure also houses three restaurants, offices, apartments, and a hotel.

Source: MSNBC

The building's hotel, the Shangri-La, recently opened on the 34th to 52nd floors, making it the tallest hotel in Western Europe.

The hotel has 202 rooms and 17 suites, which will include personal butler service.

Guests can take in incredible city views while swimming laps in the 52nd-floor infinity pool.

Also located on the 52nd floor, GŎNG is the highest bar in London.

So why is this controversial building the best new skyscraper on the planet? According to one expert, 'construction of The Shard was complicated by the particularly tight site and therefore needed innovative planning. This makes the result all the more impressive: A skyscraper that is recognised immediately and which is already considered London's new emblem.'

Now see how The Shard stacks up to the competition.

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