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Public wants Fosters’ Tulip tourist tower, claims poll

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Foster + Partners’ controversial proposal to build a 305m-tall Tulip-shaped tourist tower next to the Gherkin in central London has the public’s backing, according to a new poll  

The contentious plans, which were submitted to the City of London in November, have been widely criticised on social media and are officially opposed by both Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) and Historic England.

But a new online survey of 1,011 Londoners, run between the 13 and 18 Decebmer, suggests that two thirds (65 per cent) believe the skyscraper would be ‘an attractive addition to the London skyline’. 

Commissioned by the team behind The Tulip, which includes bankers and Gherkin owners the J. Safra Group, the independent poll by ComRes also revealed that 69 per cent of respondents think the Tulip would have ‘a positive impact on the City of London’s attractiveness as a visitor and cultural destination’.

The tower, which is set to become the tallest building in the City edging above Eric Parry’s proposed 1 Undershaft, will feature glazed observation levels supported by a huge concrete shaft to create ‘a new state-of-the-art cultural and educational resource for Londoners and tourists’.

As well as including glass slides and gondola pod rides, the attraction will also act as an educational facility and offer 20,000 free places each year for pupils from London’s state schools.

According to the poll, three-quarters of Londoners (77 per cent) agreed that the ‘classroom in the sky’ would provide teachers with ’a unique way to engage their students’.

Last month Historic England hit out at the plans, despite having been consulted on the early concepts, warning that the tower would create an unwanted ‘vertical cliff edge’ to the so-called Eastern Cluster of skyscrapers.

Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages the Tower of London, has also objected to the proposals, claiming the setting of the UNESCO World Heritage Site would be impacted by the arrival of the ‘exotic and consciously eye-catching’ tower behind it.

The application has already received numerous objections from the public while London City Airport has demand the scheme is checked to see if it interferes with radar systems.

If approved, the project could begin on site as early as 2020 with completion scheduled for 2025.


Project data

Name The Tulip, London, United Kingdom
Client Bury Street Properties (Luxembourg) SARL
Architect Foster + Partners
Location Land next to 20 Bury Street, City of London
Appointment 2018
Planning Application 13 November 2018
Site Area 2,889m² (31,100sq ft)
Number of buildings two – entrance pavilion and visitor attraction
Building dimensions Height: 305.3m (1,000ft)
Diameter of concrete shaft 14.3m (47ft)
Diameter of widest floor 34.5m (113ft)
Structure High-strength concrete shaft with steel framed observation deck levels.
Parking facilities 284 bicycles, 2 disabled car spaces
Materials Concrete shaft for strength, maintenance and durability; high-performance glass: unitised and glazed; steel and aluminium framing; composite floor slabs
Sustainability Targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
Estimated construction 2020 till 2025 

Model foster tulip

Model foster tulip

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Presumably on the basis that 'anything's better than another bloody office block' - and apparently on the basis that the proposal is only of interest to 'Londoners' and of course for the greater good of the J Safra Group.
    I wonder who the 'Londoners' were - people who bumped into a ComRes pollster on the street, people with a London postal address, people working in London, or what?

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  • Let the will of the people decide! That'll work.

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