Architecture giant Foster + Partners have proposed a new skyscraper/viewing tower, which would be the tallest in the City of London – The Tulip. Featuring sky bridges, rotating gondolas and a ‘classroom in the sky’, it would surely be the most unique super-tall building piercing the London skies.

Sat right next to the infamous Foster + Partners-designed skyscraper, The Gherkin, this new skyscraper/viewing tower will be the first of it’s kind in the City of London. The true purpose of the building seems slightly confused, but from first glance it appears to be first and foremost an attraction; a place to see the whole of London.

The viewing platforms on the inside give unrivalled views of the city, at the top of the bulbous part of the skyscraper. As with most new skyscrapers, the Tulip is rife with restaurants and bars, so you can go up, have a drink and enjoy the amazing views.

Drawing inspiration from the London Eye, several rotating gondolas on the outside of the building provide another dimension of views, as they circle around the surface face of the building.

The Tulip

Perhaps the most unique aspects of this building is the education centre located within, which will offer 20,000 free places a year to local state school children to use the facilities.

The Tulip

The centre would teach national curriculum topics, with interactive guides available to teach all visitors about London’s history.

This is surely the first high-profile skyscraper of its kind to even entertain the notion putting a school inside; bravo Foster + Partners!

The Tulip

Standing at 305.3 metres, the Tulip will become the tallest skyscraper in the City of London, if built, but it still trails the Shard by only a few metres. However, designs suggest that the viewing platforms of the Tulip are likely to be higher than those in the Shard.

Planning permission has been submitted, and if it is approved, then the building will begin construction in 2020 with plans to open the building by 2025.

A slim concrete shaft would provide a durable support for the steel-framed observation building glazed with high performance glass and at it’s widest point, the observation deck would be 34.5 metres, with the concrete shaftmeasuring just 14.3 metres in diameter.

The Tulip

At the base of the tower, a two-storey entrance pavilion with a rooftop garden would stand next to a “pocket park”, rife with greenery – the perfect place for a lunch break.

In an effort to make the new building as green as possible, Foster + Partners have incorporated photovoltaic cells into the building, which generate on-site energy to make the build more sustainable, and the Tulip would be heated and cooled using less polluting zero combustion energy.

Many will notice the similar features of The Tulip to it’s famous neighbour, the Gherkin, and this is no coincidence as Foster + Partners intentionally drew on their designs for The Gherkin, which won a Stirling Prize, when creating the perculiar shape of The Tulip.

With The Tulip being located in The Gherkin’s plaza, the architecture firm created it as a relative, so the two buildings complement each other.

“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, “It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.”

The Tulip

Foster + Partners designed the project for the J Safra Group, a privately owned banks and investment holdings company that owns the Gherkin.

His son Jacob J Safra said the proposed skyscraper’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,”.

This is possibly the most progressive design to hit the London skies as of yet, even futuristic in it’s nature. It wouldn’t look ascue amongst the skyscraper paradise of Shanghai or Singapore. Such a juxtaposing design in comparison to it’s neighbours may cause complications in the planning permission approval, especially with the new UK commission Building Better, Building Beautiful, which was set up to prevent ‘modern’ buildings such as these.

The Tulip is certainly progressive, but it provides a new type of building for London, one that HEKKTA is keen to see join the skyscraper cluster in the City of London in a few years time.

The Tulip