The Tulip is the proposal of J Safra Group and Foster & Partners, respectively the owner and architect of the neighbouring 30 St Mary Axe building, better known as the Gherkin. Joseph Safra is a billionaire Brazilian banker of Lebanese Syrian origin.
The City of London gave plans for the development at 20 Bury Street its backing because it liked the idea of the Tulip’s high-rise restaurant and viewing platform with rotating pods attracting tourists into the London’s financial district at weekends.
Architect Sir Norman Foster has said that the tower was “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”.
However, mayor of London Sadiq Khan has instructed the City of London Corporation to refuse planning permission, saying that Foster’s design work here was not up to scratch, and that it was out of keeping with neighbouring heritage sites.
In his letter to City of London chief planning officer Annie Hampson, Mayor Khan said: “I consider that the proposal would not constitute the high standard of design required for a tall building in this location. The proposal would compromise the ability to appreciate the Outstanding Universal Value of the Tow of London World Heritage Site and would cause harm to the historic environment, the wider skyline and image of London, strategic views, as well as the public space surrounding the site. The public benefits of the scheme are limited and would not outweigh this harm.”
The Tulip would have been 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.