City Hall, London, United Kingdom

Planet Surprises

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City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority (GLA) which comprises the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge.

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The building has an unusual, bulbous shape, purportedly intended to reduce its surface area and thus improve energy efficiency, although energy use measurements have shown this building to be fairly inefficient in terms of energy use, with a 2012 Display Energy Perforance Certificate rating of “D”. It has been compared variously to Darth Vader’s helmet, a misshapen egg, a woodlouse and a motorcycle helmet. Former mayor Ken Livingstone referred to it as a “glass testicle”, while the present mayor, Boris Johnson, has referred to it as “The Glass Gonad” and more politely as “The Onion”. Its designers reportedly saw the building as a giant sphere hanging over the Thames, but…

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