“The Tulip” is a design by Foster + Partners that will stand 305.3 metres (1000 ft) above the capital’s streets, with a viewpoint and rotating gondolas delivering an unparalleled view from the centre of the city. It will stand alongside 30 St Mary Axe – commonly known as the Gherkin.
Unlike many new London builds the Tulip is not planned to contain offices, but instead will be “a cultural and social landmark” that will encompass visitor attractions and an education centre. Around 20,000 free visits for state school children will be offered each year. The “classroom in the sky” will teach them national curriculum topics as well as London’s history, using interactive guides.
The design of the Tulip incorporates high performance glass and optimised building systems to reduce its energy consumption. Zero combustion technology will be used to heat and cool the building, while the outside will feature integrated photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.
The steel framed observation building will sit on top of a concrete shaft measuring just 14.3 metres in diameter. At its widest point the observation deck will have a diameter of 34.5 metres.
Aside from the education centre and viewpoints, the observation deck will include a rotating bar and restaurant with 360-degree views, internal glass slides and spinning gondola pods on three sides. Similar to the design of the London Eye, the pods will create a unique vantage point for visitors.
Down at ground level the tower will house a two-storey entrance pavilion with a rooftop garden alongside a “pocket park” with green walls. The architects claim this will increase the green surface area of the site by 8.5 times.
Founder and executive chair of the architecture firm, 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.”
Though it will be the tallest tower in the City, it will stand just 1m shorter than the Shard across the river – currently the tallest building in Europe.
Planning permission is still to be approved, but if it goes through then construction could begin in 2020, with the building expected to be completed by 2025.