The opening last night of the Shard at London Bridge has prompted a fierce debate about whether a building of this size, and with this set of purposes and values, is really appropriate for London in 2012.
Certainly it feels like a creation born of a lost era of economic bullishness. It has changed the London skyline, some would say for the worse. Whether the occupants it needs will be forthcoming remains to be seen. Likewise the regenerative effect it is intended to have on one of the capital's more deprived areas. Despite those reservations, we welcome the building, not least because it embodies a spirit of progress which is one of the defining characteristics of any great world city. And, unlike Canary Wharf's towers, it is both architecturally distinguished and a place that is open to the public. An ambitious building can take time to win affection – that was the case with the Eiffel Tower – but let's grant the Shard that time and wish it well.
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