architecture

Meet 'the Tulip,' a next level skyscraper design for London

Published 19th November 2018
The Tulip will become the tallest building in London's financial district
Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
Meet 'the Tulip,' a next level skyscraper design for London
Written by Jack Guy, CNNLondon
First there was the Gherkin, then the Walkie-Talkie and the Cheese Grater. Now, meet the Tulip: London's new skyscraper design with a playful name and ambitious plans.
On Monday British architects Foster + Partners revealed designs for a 305-meter (1,000-feet) tower that will become the second-tallest building in the British capital.
Subject to approval, work on the building could begin by 2020 and finish in 2025.
The Tulip will stand next door to 30 St Mary Axe, better known as the Gherkin, which was also designed by Foster + Partners.
Instead of hosting office or commercial space, however, the new structure will become a cultural and educational resource, according to the architects.
Visitors will be able to look down over London from around 300 meters up
Visitors will be able to look down over London from around 300 meters up Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
Plans show a tall stem topped by a glass bud, which will house viewing galleries, a bar and restaurants offering 360-degree views of the city.
Visitors will be also able to enjoy internal slides and ride in viewing pods at the top of the tower, plus there will be an educational facilities for local schoolchildren, with 20,000 free visits offered per year.
The scheme will be funded by billionaire Jacob J Safra, who also owns the Gherkin.
The tower aims to attract tourists to London's financial district
The tower aims to attract tourists to London's financial district Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
"We are delighted to benefit from the exceptional talent of Foster + Partners in bringing to London this world-class visitor attraction," said Safra in a statement. "The Tulip's elegance and soft strength complements the iconic Gherkin."
The new tourist attraction would fit in with local authority plans to create a so-called 'Culture Mile,' which would bring more visitors to London's financial district.
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A small park and a two-story pavilion housing a public rooftop garden on the site will also help to attract visitors to the area, according to the plans.
"Continuing the pioneering design of 30 St Mary Axe, the Tulip is in the spirit of London as a progressive, forward-thinking city," said Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners, in a statement.
"It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations."
The Tulip will offer rides in external gondola pods
The Tulip will offer rides in external gondola pods Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
At 305 meters tall, the Tulip will stand just short of the 306-meter Shard across the River Thames. Another planned skyscraper, 1 Undershaft, which is yet to acquire a nickname, will be 304 meters tall.
The height of buildings in the city's financial district are restricted by flight paths into London City airport.