The Shard, Europe’s Tallest Building, To Be Unveiled Tonight [Video]

In less than 12 hours, the Shard, Europe’s tallest building, will be unveiled.

According to the Telegraph, tonight’s ceremony for the 1,016ft skyscraper will feature a laser show and 30 search lights. (You can watch the Shard’s unveiling live here.)

The new building is situated on the River Thames at Southwark. It was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, was funded by the Qatar National Bank, and will be used for offices, a luxury hotel, permanent residences, restaurants, and a viewing gallery. The Shard will feature 44 elevators and 600,000 square feet of office space.

Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank, said:

“The Shard is the newest London landmark and a beacon of the city of London’s resilience and expansion, even during tough economic times. It is a symbol of Qatar’s belief and commitment to London both today and in the future. We have a long heritage and continued commitment to invest and build in the UK for the long term and The Shard highlights this close relationship.”

The Shard will become Europe’s tallest building when it is officially opened tonight. Unfortunately, it won’t hold that title for long. The Mercury City Tower in Russia, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will stand 1,089 feet tall.

USA Today notes that The Shard is the 59th tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is more than twice as tall as The Shard, currently holds the record at 2,717 feet.

Here’s a time-lapse video of The Shard’s construction.