Mayor of London cancels Tulip tower

Plans for the Tulip tower, a 305 metre high project proposed for Bury Street (beside the Gherkin), have been blocked by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Khan wrote to Annie Hampson, chief planning officer of the City of London, to tell her that the London Review Panel Report on the project indicates that “the proposal would not constitute the high standard of design required for a tall building in this location.”

According to the report, the Foster + Partners designed project raised a number of concerns. These include:

  • The quality and quantity of public open space is not sufficient to support the case for such a significant new visitor attraction
  • The panel does not agree that a roof terrace above the pavilion building can be seen as equivalent to fully public open space at street level
  • It has reservations about the quality of the architecture
  • It thinks that the pavilion and base of the tower would do little to enhance the quality of the streets around them
  • The tower shaft in textured concrete is a ‘mute’ architectural element
  • The viewing platform levels have been designed to maximise views out, with extensive glazing
  • A potentially unintended consequence of this design is to create the appearance of a surveillance tower, particularly in views from Whitechapel Road

Overall, panel members were stated to feel that, “while the building may be a successful response to the functions of its brief – this has not resulted in the world class architecture that would be required to justify its prominence. The panel also felt that a building of this size and impact should be carbon neutral, and that the education strategy should be more ambitious, if this is a core justification for the height of the building. These comments are expanded below.”