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London City Airport demands radar survey over Fosters’ Tulip tower


Foster + Partners’ plans for a new 305m-tall ’tourist tower’ have hit a setback after London City Airport demanded the scheme be checked to see if it interferes with radar systems

In response to a consultation over plans for the so-called Tulip tower, the airport demanded that no construction work be undertaken until checks were carried out and the airport was satisfied its landing system would not compromised.

As reported by the AJ’s sister publication Construction Newsthe letter to the City of London from the airport’s technical operations co-ordinator said: ’Construction shall not commence until an assessment has been carried out on the impact of this development on the radar coverage.

’During this assessment it should be noted that the gondolas present [on the new tower] will be moving and therefore may have a slightly different effect than a static element of the building.

‘This needs to be authorised by the local planning authority having consulted with London City Airport and NATS En Route Limited.’

Tall buildings are known to interfere with radar coverage, which either prevent aircraft being detected or can cause false aircraft positions to be displayed to controllers.

Many modern radar systems have in-built safeguards to differentiate aircraft from buildings; however, the moveable nature of the Tulip’s gondolas could affect these controls.

The airport also added that it would need to be assured that the new tower would not affect landing systems.

It said: “No part of the proposed development or associated construction activities shall commence until LCY is satisfied that there will be no reduction of the integrity of the current instrument landing system in use at London City Airport.” 

Plans for the new tower were submitted to the City last week and include viewing galleries, sky bridges, internal glass slides and gondola pod rides across the building’s facade.

If built, the new tower would stand as the tallest in the City, edging above Eric Parry’s proposed 1 Undershaft, which has an estimated completed height of 304m. However, it would still be slightly shorter than Renzo Piano’s Shard skyscraper (306m) across the river.

Foster + Partners was contacted for comment.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Sir Norman is a pilot.....................

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  • I wonder if the letter from City Airport's technical operations coordinator will soon be joined by one from the government's beautiful architecture coordinator?

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  • Everything about this project is utterly tasteless - its ultimate purposelessness ... the cramped siting ... its flagrant waste of energy and resources at a time of climate and ecological emergency ... the kitsch and phallic appearance ... the pointless circulating cabins ...

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  • joseph b fitzgerald

    This appalling

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  • If you hate it, feel free to add comment:

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