Explore # 74
City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority which comprises the Mayor of London and London Assembly. It 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 new 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.
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, which gives it its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London. Tower Bridge is one of several London bridges owned and maintained by the City Bridge Trust, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation.
The bridge consists of two towers which are tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways which are designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge to the left and the right. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. Its present colour dates from 1977 when it was painted red, white and blue for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Before this, it was painted a chocolate brown colour.
Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is actually the next bridge upstream. A popular urban legend is that, in 1968 Robert McCulloch, the purchaser of the old London Bridge which was later shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, believed mistakenly that he was buying Tower Bridge, but this was denied by McCulloch himself and has been debunked by Ivan Luckin, the seller of the bridge.