One of the architectural highlights of the Queen's Jubilee year will be the opening of the new Greater London Authority headquarters building by Foster and Partners in July. The building will then be occupied by some 400 GLA staff, and mayor Livingstone will be ensconced in his top-floor-butone office, the top floor being planned for various public uses.
The views from there are truly spectacular. Visitors to the building in recent weeks (it is now being fitted out) have included London minister Nick Raynsford, who was responsible for the choice of building in the last government. He must be very pleased. The design, a hymn to low energy, uses only about 25 per cent of what one would usually expect of a building of this type, taking advantage as it does of borehole water to run the chilling system within the building. Despite some images of the scheme, it is not fully glazed - indeed glazing covers a relatively low proportion of the facade. A generous basement space will be able to accommodate the giant model of London which has been seeking a home for years. The only unfortunate thing about the project is its working address: City Hall. This is far too American for comfort.