Jerry, sg, gem, et al.
I thought you'd get a kick out of this. A new building, the Shard opened with terrific views (love those tall building views)
Also too bad I'm not going next week - the Gherkin is opening to the public for a few days viewing
thanks to all for all the efforts
Typical travel feast or famine. Either the things you want to see are not open when you get there, all booked up, or there are too many options and no way to see them all. Travel scheduing nightware.
Anyways, since your tastes seem to be running toward modern architecture in London, I thought the following links might be of interest. Also, sometimes tours have access when sites are closed to public viewing.
The Shard has been attracting a lot of attention - both professional and media - since it opened just before the Olympics. For example, one of the royal princes - Andrew, I believe - abseiled down its north-facing exterior.
There is also an interesting rumour doing the rounds to the effect that, although planning permission was granted for a building of 1000ft, in fact The Shard is 1016ft, this to ensure, apparently, that it can lay claim to the title of "tallest building" in Western Europe - whatever that might mean. The figure of 1000ft was fixed after consultation with NATS - the UK's air traffic control authority - the point being that a taller building was deemed to represent a possible hazard to planes landing and taking off at London City Airport.
I will leave you to reach your own conclusion about (a) the veracity of the rumour and (b) the potential significance of 16ft - and to make your European flight plans accordingly.
Ah yes, got it. The City of Capitals skyscraper in Moscow, completed in 2010, has an architectural height of 989.5 feet, but a total height of 1,016.4 feet if the antenna spire is to be included (to some controversy, which grants importance to your "whatever that might mean" comment). I hope they didn't forget that last .4 of a foot! Although I must be geographically dense when it comes to Western Europe - I've never considered Moscow as part of "Western" Europe.
We have the same controversy here in Yankee Doodleland. The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago holds the coveted title of tallest building in the United States, with a rooftop height of 1451 feet, and a height of 1729 feet including the spire. One World Trade Center, being built on the site of the former World Trade Center, when completed is designed to reach 1368 feet at the roofline, and a symbolic 1776 feet (1792 tip of spire), the controversy (and lively I might add among some circles) being whether or not the spires can be considered an architectural element. When completed, the new One World Tower will arguably(!) be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Not the sort of travel gold nugget that one hopes to find here on Insiders, however something interesting to discuss over a nice brandy, while visiting London town.
As far as the abseiling, that's some pretty long rope that must've been employed. I've done it from a 100 foot platform. That was high enough for me!
A couple of notes to any interested readers;
1) This was branched off from an earlier discussion, (Marriott, I do love the voodoo that you do - can't figure out how ark's and others comments weren't their original dates) which is relevant, because The Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe) is not open to the public. I didn't want anyone swinging by and not being able to get in and scratching me off their Christmas e-mail list.
2) The Shard (which I am visiting, along with The Paramount Bar) has a reduced priced offer through one of the many sites sg1974 shared (I only have my receipt from the Shard, not the offer, or else I would say whether it was amazonlocal uk or travelzoo), so if anyone wanted to actually go, check out the two sites (listed in London "A Travel Helper") and save some money.
3) Knowing that posts can be resurrected at any time, I probably would have been more serious in my writing......naaaah