London Mayor Rejects Foster's 'Tulip'

John Hill
15. July 2019
Visualization: Foster + Partners

Today's decision comes eight months after the "nature-inspired form" was unveiled by developer J. Safra Group and Foster + Partners, and just three months after the City of London gave the project planning approval. Even with that approval in April, the mayor's OK — needed for the project to move forward — was unlikely, as he his opposition to the project was well known at the time.

Multiple reports today quoted the mayor's spokesperson:

The Mayor has a number of serious concerns with this application and having studied it in detail has refused permission for a scheme that he believes would result in very limited public benefit. In particular, he believes that the design is of insufficient quality for such a prominent location, and that the tower would result in harm to London’s skyline and impact views of the nearby Tower of London World Heritage Site. The proposals would also result in an unwelcoming, poorly-designed public space at street level.

Visualization: Foster + Partners

Many of the points made by the mayor are echoed in a review issued by the Greater London Authority's London Review Panel (PDF link) in May that concluded "the quality and quantity of public open space is not sufficient to support the case for such a significant new visitor attraction." 

The Tulip, designed for a site next to Foster's earlier, iconic 30 St. Mary Axe tower (aka the Gherkin), would have housed an observation deck, restaurant, and an educational facility, as well as a gondola ride on the building's facade.

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