London City Hall
London City Hall is the home of the offices for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. It was originally created as part of the infrastructure of the newly-formed Greater London Authority. London City Hall is located on the South Bank of the River Thames adjacent to Tower Bridge, in the City of London.
London City Hall was designed by the architect Norman Foster of the Foster and Partners architecture firm. Foster is a world-renowned architect that has designed many famous buildings throughout the United Kingdom. One of his most well-known projects was Wembley Stadium, situated in Greater London.
Design and Construction
London City Hall is noted for its uniquely bulbous design that stands out amid the more conservative backdrop of the River Thames' south bank. The design was created with the highest demands of energy efficiency in mind. The bulbous nature of the building helps to reduce its outer surface area and thereby require less energy to heat. The entirety of the building is accessible by a helical staircase that runs 500 metres to the top floor. There is an exhibition and viewing area at the top of the building that is often used as a meeting space for the Greater London Authority. Photovoltaic cells are being integrated into the building to help bring it up to the United Kingdom's stringent energy guidelines.
It was constructed using over 4 tonnes of steel and 13,100 square metres of concrete. During construction, two large pipes were installed that tapped into the water table of the River Thames. These pipes circulate cold water from these pipes throughout the building during the summer months as a cooling device. This has greatly lessened the energy impact of the building.
The building was commissioned as a home-site for the newly-formed Greater London Authority and the mayor of London. Despite its name, London City Hall is not technically the headquarters of the London municipal services or government. The headquarters of the city of London are actually located in Guildhall, which is on the opposing side of the River Thames from London City Hall. The building itself is not owned by the Greater London Authority. They are renting it under a 25 year lease with other municipal offices.
Currently, the London City Hall building is primarily used as the home of the Greater London Authority. The Greater London Authority is the successor of a few previously held government bodies that comprise the office of the mayor and the London Assembly. Its primary purpose is to provide oversight to a number of different governmental organisations. It does this by having direct oversight of Transport for London, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, the London Development Agency, and London Fire and Emergency Planning.
The Greater London Authority is comprised entirely of elected administrative professionals, which has created some issues within the city. Since the city does not own the building, it is technically private property and is not subject to the same allowances to the public as other government buildings.
The closest London Underground Stations to London City Hall are London Bridge, Tower Hill, London Fenchurch Street, Monument, Bank and Bermondsey.