How do you go about naming a skyscraper? Do you name it after the company that owns it (such as the BT Tower)? The father of the developer who built it (the Heron Tower)? The number of floors in the building (Tower 42)?
Or do you simply let time and popular opinion decide (Walkie Talkie, 20 Fenchurch Street)? For the latest proposed addition to London’s skyline, the name has come from nature.
Spouting up to almost double the height of its neighbouring 30 St Mary Axe (also known as The Gherkin), The Tulip will appear like a sleek silver lollipop among a forest of skyscrapers.
Plans for The Tulip have been submitted to the City Corporation. If it is approved, the steel and glass skyscraper will be the tallest in the City of London at 1,000ft, and the second highest in the capital behind The Shard.
The Tulip would be one foot taller than One Undershaft, which received planning permission two years ago but has not yet been built. When it was designed, this skyscraper was at the upper limit of how high a building could be in this area of London due to planes coming in to land at City airport.
However, improvements to its runway since One Undershaft was designed means that The Tulip can beat it and become the tallest tower in the City.
It is designed as a cultural and tourist attraction, with viewing areas, bars and restaurants. On the outlandish design, there are gondola pods which will revolve slowly around the outside The Tulip’s glass petals. From here, visitors can have panoramic views across London.
Inside the The Tulip’s bud there will be 12 floors, and it will also house a glass “Sky Bridge” for visitors to walk along. It will be the first purpose-built viewing tower in the capital, and those building it expect there to be one million visitors per year.
A planning application for The Tulip was submitted to the City of London last week. It will be funded by J. Safra Group, an American finance and property company, and it has been designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners. They are also the respective owners and architects of The Gherkin.
Inspired by the Mayor’s suggestion that London could be the world’s first National Park City, the architects have proposed that the ground surrounding The Tulip be turned into a new park and that a two-storey pavilion with a rooftop public garden be built nearby.
The building will generate its own energy on site and construction materials have been specially chosen to reduce energy consumption.
It has been designed to host cultural, educational, business and technology events, and it will also have an education space where 20,000 state school pupils a year will for free learn about London’s history.
The plans are part of a general effort to make the Square Mile more appealing as a cultural destination. Suggestions have also been made to build a new concert hall and museum in the area.
Following approval construction of The Tulip would begin in 2020 with an expected completion date of 2025.