One of London's most recognizable buildings—the Gherkin—is about to get an equally eye-catching neighbor. The Tulip is a new cultural and tourist attraction designed by the firm that brought the famed Gherkin to the City of London in 2004. The collaboration between owners J. Safra Group and architects Foster + Partners calls for a 1,000-foot-high (305-meter-high) piece of contemporary architecture based on the form of a flower bud.
The structure uses its slender shape, which rounds out at the top, to leave a minimal building footprint as it aims to enhance the Culture Mile that has been built up in the city since the Millennium. A pocket park and a two-story pavilion that provides public access to the rooftop gardens are just part of the firm's plan to create a functional yet sustainable piece of architecture. Additionally, the use of green walls increases the Tulip's green surface area by 8.5 times.
Located at 30 St Mary Axe, the building itself will act as a new center for learning thanks to a facility that will offer 20,000 free classroom seats per year to London's school children. Tourists and locals will also be able to enjoy panoramic views of the city from an observation gallery filled with interactive features like a sky bridge, gondola pod rides, and internal glass slides.
The Tulip will also be available to host cultural, educational, and technology events that J. Safra and Foster + Partners hope will add to the social and economic value of the area. “Continuing the pioneering design of 30 St Mary Axe, the Tulip is in the spirit of London as a progressive, forward-thinking city,” shares Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partner. “It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.”
Plans for the Tulip have been submitted and, if approved, construction could start in 2020 with an opening in 2025.