The Qatar-backed Shard Tower in London named the best skyscraper in the world…

The Qatar-backed Shard Tower in London, the tallest building in Western Europe, has been named the best skyscraper in the world after claiming first place in an international competition.

The building has won the Emporis Skyscraper Award that featured more than 300 skyscrapers.

The 310-metre tower, which was 95 percent funded by Qatar, is on the south bank of the Thames  River and consists of London’s highest public viewing gallery, offering 360° views of the British capital.

The award is one of the world’s most renowned for high-rise architecture and has been given annually since 2000.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano, and officially opened in July 2012. The highest accessible part of it is the observation deck on the 72nd floor. It won accolades for its glass fragment-shape and sophisticated architecture.

The jury said: “Construction of The Shard was complicated by the particularly tight site and therefore needed innovative planning.

“This makes the result all the more impressive: A skyscraper that is recognised immediately and which is already considered London’s new emblem,”

On his website, Piano noted that “shards” of glass are designed to define the shape and visual quality of the tower, fragmenting the scale of the building and reflecting the light in unpredictable ways. Gaps between the shards provide natural ventilation to the building’s winter gardens.

The second place went to DC Tower 1 in Vienna, Austria, designed by Dominique Perrault Architecture. As with The Shard, the skyscraper’s contrasting facade secured the win. “Three mirror-smooth sides are broken by a craggy, jagged fourth that gives the building a strength of expression and sense of solidity, despite its slim stature,” Emporis said. China’s unconventional Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort by MAD architects took third place. The hotel skyscraper reaches 102 metres and echoes the shape of a giant ring. This enables all rooms to have balconies and views and absorb daylight from all directions. An Australian building earned fifth place — the One Central Park (East Tower) residential skyscraper — by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and PTW Architects.