Norman foster

In praise of the Dome

London’s City Hall stands empty. The bulbous, Foster + Partners-designed ‘glass testicle’ — in Ken Livingstone’s words — occupies one of the best sites in the capital: Thames-side, squaring off to the Tower of London, and overlooking Tower Bridge. But in December, its occupiers — the Mayor, the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority — deserted their glitzy £43 million headquarters for a cheaper building more than five miles east at the Royal Docks in Newham. It took them less than 20 years to outgrow their purpose-built home. According to the architectural commentator John Grindrod, City Hall is a giant glass-and-steel metaphor. ‘The building represents the role of the