City Hall ~ London

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (20)

Nick Weall on May 10, 2009

City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority which comprises the Mayor of London and London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, stands on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge. Designed by Norman Foster, it opened in July 2002.

The building has an unusual bulbous shape, intended to reduce its surface area and thus improve energy efficiency. It has been compared variously to Darth Vader's helmet, a misshapen egg, a human scrotum, a woodlouse or a motorcycle helmet. Former mayor Ken Livingstone referred to it as a "glass testicle". The present mayor, Boris Johnson, has referred to it more politely as 'The Onion'. Its designers reportedly saw the building as a giant sphere hanging over the Thames, but opted for a more conventionally rooted building instead. It has no front or back on conventional terms but derives its shape from a modified sphere.

City Hall was constructed on a site formerly occupied by wharves serving the Pool of London. The building does not belong to the GLA but is leased under a 25-year rent. It forms part of a larger development called More London, including offices and shops. Next to City Hall is a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, which is used in the summer months for open-air performances; it is not, however, part of the GLA's jurisdiction. The Scoop and surrounding landscape were designed by Townshend Landscape Architects.

A 500-metre (1,640 ft) helical walkway, reminiscent of that in New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ascends the full height of the building. At the top of the ten-story building is an exhibition and meeting space called "London's Living Room", with an open viewing deck which is occasionally open to the public. The walkway provides views of the interior of the building, and is intended to symbolise transparency; a similar device was used by Foster in his design for the rebuilt Reichstag (parliament) in Germany. In 2006 it was announced that solar photovoltaic cells would be fitted to the building by the London Climate Change Agency.

Despite the name, City Hall is neither located in nor does it serve a city (as recognised by English constitutional law), often adding to the confusion of Greater London with the City of London, whose headquarters is in the Guildhall, north of the Thames. The predecessors of the Greater London Authority, namely the Greater London Council and the London County Council, had their headquarters at County Hall, upstream on the South Bank. Although County Hall's old council chamber is still intact, the building is unavailable for use by the GLA due to the building's conversion into, among other things, a luxury hotel, amusement arcade and aquarium.

>| Micha |< on May 11, 2009

Formidable architecture and impressive view. Here you can see a sister building in Germany.

Best wishes Micha

Mario Escherle, der … on May 11, 2009

Your new architecture-series is very good Nick And thanks for the informative expainations...

My actual Contest

Greetings from Germany, Mario

Nick Weall on May 11, 2009

>| Micha |<, ~~ Hi there Micha ~ glad you like it ~ and I had a peep at your similar buidling in Germany too ~ thanks for that ~ ciao nick

Mario Escherle ~ Thanks Mario ~ I'm glad you like it too, I like to try and find out something about such buildings for our GE friends ~ sometimes though I forget to take the name of the building I'm shooting :(

all the very best to both of you from nick

M@tthew 888 on May 11, 2009

Very nice shot of architecture, Nick!!!

Greetings from Poland,

**>>>Matthew <<<.

Nick Weall on May 11, 2009

Mateusz 888 ~~ Hi again Matthew it is really very nice of you to spend so much time browsing through my gallery ~~ I'm glad that you like this shot and find it interesting too ~ friendly greetings to you from nick

Nick Weall on May 11, 2009

blai, ~~ I do try to find interesting angles if such an angle is available ~ so I'm really chuffed that you should appreciate that ~ thank you so much Blai

Tonia.J ~~ Thank you dearest Tonia ~ I'm glad that you like the start of my new London series :)

All the very best to both of you from nick

ka9894 on May 11, 2009

Good composition, good photo!

:):) Kat

Nick Weall on May 11, 2009

ka9894 ~~ Hi there Kat and thanks for your visit and compliments :)) ~ Ciao nick

ƤōƝƓ on May 12, 2009

Amazing architecture and landscape. Is this part of the Canary Wharf, Nick?

Greetings from Thailand - Worapong

Nick Weall on May 12, 2009

阿鹏-worapong ~~ Hello there Worapong thanks for your visit and compliments ~ to answer your question ~ No this is not part of Canary Wharf ~ this is City Hall and lies just upriver from Tower Bridge on the South Bank. Canary Wharf is down stream from Tower Bridge by two or three miles and lies on the North side of the River Thames ~ search for that name under Google Earth and you'll find it straight away :) Kind regards nick

Nick Weall on May 15, 2009

Bruce da Moose ~ Yes I'm inclined to see exactly what you mean Bruce ~ the building has that sort of effect and my lens has exaggerated it I think ~ thanks B~d~M ~ Ciao nick

lujun1964 on May 16, 2009

This shot also looks great in perspective!

Greetings from Lujun

Nick Weall on May 16, 2009

lujun1964 ~~ Hi there Lujun ~ I hope you are well ~ I'm very pleased that you like the perspective in this one ~ Friendly greetings to you from nick

dziwnow on May 23, 2009
  • VERY NICE SHOOT greetings from Poland, Peter
Nick Weall on May 23, 2009

dziwnow ~ Hi there Peter ~ thanks for your visit and your kind words too ~ friendly greetings to you from nick

slobodan.bunic on July 3, 2009


The original building! Greetings from SRPSKA, Slobodan!

Nick Weall on September 8, 2009

slobodan.bunic Thanks for your visit of the 3rd July and your friendly greetings ~ I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to reply ~ Ciao nick

RNLatvian on September 25, 2011

Very good picture Nick! Like!

Nick Weall on September 25, 2011

RN Latvian31 ~ Hiya and many thanks for your compliment and like ~ Best wishes ~ nick

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 10, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Nick Weall
    • Taken on 2009/05/10 09:45:06
    • Exposure: 0.002s (1/640)
    • Focal Length: 14.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/13.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash