London City Hall

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London City Hall, situated on the south bank of Thames River by the Tower Bridge, is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority, the London Assembly and the Mayor of London; London’s local government (its previous building, Country Hall has became an aquarium and a hotel). The building is owned by More London and the Greater London Authority has a 25-year lease on it.

The City Hall was designed by Norman Foster. The construction started in March 2000 and the building and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2002. It stands on the site formerly occupied by wharves. Being a modified sphere, the building has no conventional front or back. Its unusual design is the purpose of the fact that the building is compared to various things, such as misshapen egg, motorcycle helmet or even to human scrotum. Ken Livingstone, London Mayor, referred to it as a “glass testicle”. The building has a glass cladding; 3,844 triple-glazed glass panels were used. The building’s surface is reduced to minimum and it helps to improve energy efficiency (it uses only 25 percent of the energy consumption when compared to a conventional four-square building of similar volume). It has been designed around a magnificent interior spiral ramp, 0.5 kilometre long. The City Hall has ten floors and it is 45 metres high. There is 12,000 square metres of available floor space.

The Mayor’s office is situated on the top floor, the Councilors meet for debate in the chamber. At the top, there is an exhibition and meeting space called “London's Living Room”, leading to an open viewing deck, occasionally open to the public. It is also the place of Mayor’s monthly press conferences. To walk via the spire down from the balcony to the debating chamber and to the lower ramp down to the lobby and exhibition hall is an exciting experience.

The City Hall is opened to public during the weeks and occasionally also at the weekends. The ramp is closed during the chamber meetings. Next to City Hall is a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, which is used in the summer months for open-air performances.
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