London City Hall
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Prominently nestled between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, on the south bank of the River Thames, the London City Hall is an environmentally friendly 10-level glass building designed by one of Britain's leading architects. It's the home-site of the Greater London Authority, London Assembly, and the Mayor of London.
London City Hall’s architecture was designed by Foster + Partners’s Norman Foster, world-renowned for a rich portfolio of unusual buildings that includes the Wembley Stadium and the Reichstag (Berlin Parliament).
“In London’s new city hall, Lord Foster and his colleagues at Foster + Partners have turned technological bravura to a more explicitly social agenda: energy conservation.” (New York Times)
The inimitably bulbous shape is a geometrically modified sphere with no conventional front or back, created with the most exigent demands of energy efficacy in mind. Its almost futuristic, distinctive appearance has been compared variously to a misshapen egg, Darth Vader's helmet, an onion, and a motorcycle helmet.
Equipped with solar panels that generate energy with zero carbon emissions, it reaches optimum energy efficiency by significantly reducing the surface area exposed to direct sunlight. To make it even more eco-sustainable, its public areas are paved with recycled floor tiles.
“By day, it appears as a tight ball of architectural muscle. At night though, the building is transformed. As it lights up, its dramatic interior is revealed, shining through the structure's steely skin.” (The Guardian)
Firstly, the design concept aims to express the transparency of the democratic process, as members of the public can watch the Assembly at work. The top floor hosts the ‘London’s Living Room, a dynamic, interactive space open to Londoners who want to share their views or organize art exhibitions art. The rooftop terrace offers magnificent views across the capital and its viewing deck is occasionally open to visitors.
Secondly, the enhanced energy performance and the naturally-ventilated offices prove the potential for a virtually non-polluting, energy-saving, and completely sustainable architecture. The inner London City Hall’s helical walkway runs 500 metres to the top floor and resembles the one in New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
The site was previously occupied by wharves serving the Pool of London. Its surrounding landscape was designed by Townshend Landscape Architects to include a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, which hosts open-air performances during summertime.
📍 London City Hall Address: The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA (a short, 4-min walk from Tower Bridge)
🚇 The closest London Underground Stations to London City Hall are London Bridge Station and Tower Hill Station.
📌 Nearby London Attractions:
HMS Belfast (243 m)
The Shard (545 m)
Tower Bridge (239 m)
Tower of London (364 m).
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