The Foster + Partners-designed Tulip skyscraper in London just took a major step towards realization with an endorsement by planning officials. A report by the City Corporation’s chief planning officer had said that the scheme would give London “a new iconic building” with a “bold and striking” form. The 1000-foot-tall (305-meter-tall) scheme would sit adjacent to The Gherkin: one of Foster’s and London’s most iconic structures.
Officials were particularly convinced by the scheme’s proposed education facility, operated by building owners J. Safra Group giving 20,000 free places per year for London’s state school children, and featuring “an unparalleled vantage point to view London from a height of around 300 meters.” Approving the scheme, the City of London Corporation's planning committee stated their belief that the scheme would boost the area's economy.
One of my key objectives as chairman of the planning and transportation committee has been to enable the continued transformation of the City of London into a place which welcomes members of the public on weekends as during the week. This building has the potential to play an important role in realizing our vision of the Square Mile as a vibrant 24/7 city.
-Chris Hayward, Chairman, City of London Corporation Planning Committee
The purpose-designed visitor attraction features a new two-story entrance pavilion to enhance the existing active ground level of The Gherkin, complete with a public roof terrace, retail, and 284 bicycle spaces. A new pocket park will sit alongside the pavilion, increasing the site’s green surface area by 8.5 times with the help of two green walls.
300 meters up, viewing galleries will offer visitors an engaging experience with sky bridges, internal glass slides, and gondola pod rides on the building façade, while a sky bar and restaurants will offer 360-degree views of the city. Visitors will also benefit from “interactive materials and briefings from expert guides about the history of London.”
The 152-page report released by the planning office before the scheme's approval stated that while the scheme did not meet some City of London planning policies, there would be a “less than substantial harm” to protected views of the Tower of London: a point of contention after the scheme was announced. Concerns have also been raised about the scheme by London Mayor Sadiq Kahn and the Tower Hamlets council about potential crowding at street level.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on 27th March 2019, and was republished to reflect the scheme gaining planning approval.