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Mon September 20 2021

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Foster submits plans for 305m-tall London tower

20 Nov 18 A planning application has been submitted for ‘The Tulip’, a new London tourist attraction that will tower above the Gherkin office building standing alongside it.

This project is proposed by J Safra Group and Foster & Partners – the owner and architect respectively of the Gherkin, formally called 30 St Mary Axe.

City of London Corporation will now consider the plans for the Tulip. Subject to the planning approval process, construction could begin in 2020 for completion in 2025.

The 305.3m-tall Tulip – named for its nature-inspired form – is intended to complement the 180m-tall Gherkin and be in line with the city’s plan to enliven the Square Mile with cultural and tourist facilities.

The Tulip will the tallest building in the City of London and just fractionally shorter than the UK’s tallest building, the Shard, which stands across the river in Southwark.

The viewing galleries are intended to offer visitors an engaging experience with sky bridges, internal glass slides and gondola pod rides on the façade.

There will be interactive materials and briefings about the history of London. Also included in the design are a sky bar and restaurants with 360° views of the city.

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One of its aims is to provide ‘a classroom in the sky’ within the top of The Tulip, offering 20,000 free places per year for London’s state school children to be taught about national curriculum topics.

Public access will also be considerably improved with the removal of over half of the existing perimeter walls around the Gherkin. A new pocket park is proposed alongside a two-storey pavilion offering a publicly accessible rooftop garden.  Together with green walls this will increase the joint site’s green surface area by 8.5 times.

High-performance glass and optimised building systems are included in the design to reduce its energy consumption. Heating and cooling will be provided by zero-combustion technology while integrated photovoltaic cells generate energy on site.

Foster + Partners founder and executive chairman Norman Foster said: “Continuing the pioneering design of 30 St Mary Axe, the Tulip is in the spirit of London as a progressive, forward-thinking city. It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.”

Jacob Safra said: “We are delighted to benefit from the exceptional talent of Foster + Partners in bringing to London this world-class visitor attraction. The Tulip’s elegance and soft strength complements the iconic Gherkin. We are confident in London’s role as a global city and are proud to offer its schoolchildren a state-of-the-art classroom in the sky to appreciate London’s history and dynamism.”

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