London's Shard opens to the public

Tourists wanting to visit the next big thing in London will have to wait until after the weekend and even then they'll need to book well in advance.

The 310m-tall Shard, which its designers hope will rival the London Eye and Big Ben as an icon of the city's skyline, opened to the public today.

The opening day was sold out with 4800 people taking the 60-second trip up to the 250m-high observation deck on floors 68, 69 and 72.

Tickets are unavailable this weekend, but can be purchased for later dates - as long as visitors book in advance.

Some have criticised the Shard - an arrow of glass pointing skywards - for being an ostentatious symbol of wealth.

But the firm promoting the observation deck of western Europe's tallest building defends the entry fee of £25 for adults and £19 for children.

"While on the face of it that could seem quite high, when you compare like-for-like with any other pre-booked attraction, you'll find it's in line with others," spokeswoman Nazneen Nawaz told AAP.

"It's absolutely perfect for new visitors to the city."

Operators say on a clear day the 360-degree view stretches up to 64km and takes in many of London's major landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral and the 2012 Olympic stadium.

Friday's opening was marked by poor weather, but people who visit when conditions are bad, while not entitled to a refund, can return another time free of charge.

The observation deck is also fitted with state-of-the-art telescopes showing a digital image of what the outlook would be like - during the day, at sunset, and at night - when conditions are clear.

Ms Nawaz said her favourite time to view London was sunset when the city's lights begin to come on.

Not either-or

Fmr ca does not "see what the fuss is about building a 28-storey building in Dunedin" and thinks it would be good to have "a five star hotel built by private investors", putting these two ideas together as if they are inseparable. Is it possible, fmr ca, to envisage a 5-star hotel that is taller or shorter than 28 storeys? If so, is there any reason to suppose that in order to have one in Dunedin it has to be the extraordinarily unappealing giant cereal packet design that has been proposed?

A 28-storey building that had grace, elegance, that was a pleasure to view from the outside, for all Dunedinites who would have it plonked in front of their eyeballs, might be worth considering. Or something butt-ugly built in a gully out of the sight-lines of most people most of the time, that could work. People complain about the metal recycling pile that can be seen from the motorway. I personally like it, it represents income earned in Dunedin from overseas instead of waste costing the city money in landfill, but that is not the point - the point is that people have strong feelings about being obliged to look at things they find visually offensive. It is difficult to imagine a more visually offensive scheme than wanting to plonk an ugly building where it blocks a beautiful view, and then expecting Dunedin people to be grateful for this downgrading of their experience of living in this beautiful little city.

Tall buildings and small town thinking

I don't see what the fuss is about building a 28-storey building in Dunedin.  It's not that big in world terms and it's not going to affect our heritage buildings. Some people need to accept that a city is a dynamic environment which needs new buildings every so often. The best world cities have a mix of old and new structures. And I think a five star hotel built by private investors would be a great addition to our built surroundings.  Why wouldn't we welcome additional ratepayers and jobs?

Big is good for 25 quid - well, nearly

Commenting on the opening to the public of London's Shard, 25 pounds for an adult to go up to the 25m high observation deck from which they may see for 64km, GW_Scam reckons Dunedin needs a big tall building, and regrets opposition to the proposed 5-star hotel. This is the best argument I have read so far for accepting the hotel proposal. While the design proposed is unlike the Shard fully lacking in originality and though big and lumpen it is not high enough to afford such an extensive view, nor are there world-famous features like St Paul's and Buckingham Palace to see, these are minor drawbacks. The DCC should immediately declare that profits from attractions that charge punters to view anything DCC-owned/operated must pay 50% of gross income to the DCC.

Value of a Skyline Landmark?

I have been watching the golf in Dubai and was astounded by the hundreds of tall skyscrapers dotting the background. Why would one building that would not even equal any of these, make people sit up and take notice of Dunedin?

To imagine that a tall skyscraper is evidence that all is alive and well in a city is an obscenely materialistic view of the world. Let's look at Detroit and Chicago as prime examples of decaying cities complete with mothballed skyscrapers. Let's look at one of our own tallest buildings - the decaying Post Office building is a prime example that being a tall prominent building does not guarantee its own survival or the well-being of a city and its inhabitants.

People think that Venice, Malta, Vienna, Rome and many other great cities are wonderful places to live in and visit - none of these have these temporary glass and steel monstrosities in their midst as prominent features. Dunedin has some fine buildings and they should be our identity - not something wrung from the caverns of those depressingly ugly cities in the United States and elsewhere.

It is fine for Dubai and other temporary metropolises to copy the United States model and eternally try to better it. We need to keep our identity. It is getting increasingly annoying that whenever there is a differing of opinion, some are labelled as whingers. This is getting tiresome. We are not whingers. We are people who care about our city and do not wish it to become a diminished carbon copy of some other city elsewhere in the world. We will continue to state our opinion because that is the purpose of discussion forums.

Maybe one day Dunedin could have a Skyline Landmark?

If only investors would choose Dunedin to build a Skyline Landmark building, to make a statement that says 'Yes Dunedin is alive and thriving in the modern world'.

I know, maybe a 28 storey modern hotel would be exactly what we need!

Oh that's right, investors are tring to do that, but a handful of the 'whinging brigade' have stood up and said "No, go away".

It's a funny backward little World we live in here in Dunedin. 

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