Then they touched on the hard topics. In defense of the extravagant Shard’s symbolic alienation of the residents who live in the surrounding low-income housing projects, Piano said that he believes that a very small percentage of the building’s daily 10,000 visitors would qualify as wealthy. And of the £25 price tag to go upstairs? “£25 is too much but in this town everything costs too much… I agree it is too expensive… But this is the normal price. If you go to the top of the Empire State building you spend more than that.”
True, the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building will cost $48 to reach. But looking back on his previous statements, that “Skyscrapers have to give back to the city more than they get from the city,” and how, like the much-loved, Depression-era Empire State Building, the Shard “was conceived before the crisis, and it will enjoy life after the crisis,” as Bloomberg has previously reported, there’s no comparing the value of the two. After doing our own version of “the math,” carrying the one, take into account inflation, etc, we calculated that the Empire State Building gives much more: For £25 or $38.18, you can go to the 72nd level of the Shard, or, across the pond, £25 or $38.18 will take you to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and leave $13.18 in your pocket (that’s like, two full meals at Halal Guys).
Ticket prices aside, there’s also the public perception factor, which we can sum up as this:
Which would you rather?
[h/t Building Design]
— Janelle Zara