Striking Tulip observation tower planned for London
The City of London may soon receive an unusual new addition to its skyline courtesy of Foster + Partners' aptly-named Tulip observation tower. Assuming it goes ahead, the building will offer viewing points and glass slides, as well as pod rides on its exterior.
On completion, the Tulip will be one of London's tallest buildings and rise to a height of 305.3 m (1,001 ft), which is just short of the Shard's 306 m (1,004 ft) official height. It'll be located next to the Norman Foster-designed Gherkin – with another culinary-themed building, the Cheesegrater, not too far away either.
Structurally, the tower will comprise a concrete shaft measuring just 14.3 m (47 ft) in diameter, steel and aluminum framing, and a glazed facade. Its design consists of a thin "stem" rising to a glazed egg-like area at the top.
Notable attractions include glass slides and gondola pod rides on the building's exterior. Elsewhere, Foster + Partners plans restaurants and a sky bar offering 360-degree views of the city. The top of the Tulip will be given over to an educational space.
Some thought has been given to its efficiency too. Heating and cooling will be handled by "zero combustion technology," while integrated solar panels will generate electricity and reduce the building's draw on the grid.
The tower will extend publicly accessible space with the creation of a new park and two-story pavilion with a rooftop garden and green walls.
The Tulip has been submitted for planning permission. If all goes well, Foster + Partners expects construction to start in 2020 and for it to be completed by 2025. However, we wouldn't be surprised if there was pushback against this strange building becoming a permanent fixture of London's skyline, so time will tell.
Source: Foster + Partners