A planning application was submitted to the City of London Corporation on 13 November 2018 for The Tulip, a new public cultural attraction which would be sited next to 30 St Mary Axe, also known as The Gherkin.
This project is proposed by J. Safra Group and Foster + Partners, owners and architects respectively of 30 St Mary Axe. Deriving its name from its nature-inspired form, The Tulip would enhance The Gherkin, one of London’s most cherished and recognisable buildings and offer a new state-of-the-art cultural and educational resource for Londoners and tourists.
Contributing to the City’s Culture Mile
Since the turn of the Millennium, London’s skyline has matured with new high-rise buildings that reflect its growth as a global financial hub. In addition, the City of London Corporation has been driving proposals to enliven the Square Mile by creating a Culture Mile with world-class tourist facilities. The proposal for a unique 305.3-metre-high visitor attraction reflects a desire to build public engagement within the City and enhance The Gherkin’s public offering. The Tulip promises wide cultural and economic benefits with a diverse programme of events.
A classroom in the sky
A key feature will be the education facility within the top of The Tulip, offering 20,000 free places per year for London’s state school children. This educational resource, provided by the J. Safra Group, will deliver national curriculum topics using innovative tools to bring to life the city’s history and dynamism, inspiring the creative young minds of tomorrow.
Unique visitor experience
The Tulip seeks to provide an unparalleled vantage point to view London from a height of around 300 metres. The viewing galleries will offer visitors an engaging experience with sky bridges, internal glass slides and gondola pod rides on the building’s façade that will appeal to people across all age groups. Visitors will benefit from interactive materials and briefings from expert guides about the history of London. Complementing the experience will be a sky bar and restaurants with 360-degree views of the city.
Contributing to London’s sustainability objectives
Completed in 2004, 30 St Mary Axe, now popularly known as The Gherkin, made a positive contribution at ground level by breathing life into its surroundings. The Tulip seeks to extend the site’s public realm further. A new pocket park is proposed alongside a two-storey pavilion offering a publicly accessible rooftop garden. Together with green walls this increases the site’s green surface area by 8.5 times, supporting the Mayor’s goal for London to be the world’s first National Park City. Public access will also be considerably improved with the removal of over half of the existing perimeter walls around The Gherkin.
The Tulip’s soft bud-like form and minimal building footprint reflects its reduced resource use, with high performance glass and optimised building systems reducing its energy consumption. Heating and cooling is provided by zero combustion technology while integrated photovoltaic cells generate energy on site.
Significant economic and social benefits
The Tulip and The Gherkin will bring life to the City of London at all times of the day and evening, seven days a week. This creates opportunities for a diverse range of businesses to operate out-of-office hours, bringing real economic and social benefits for the local community and for London. The Tulip will offer an outstanding venue to host cultural, educational, business and technology events.
Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners said: “Continuing the pioneering design of 30 St Mary Axe, the Tulip is in the spirit of London as a progressive, forward-thinking city. It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.”
Jacob J. Safra said: “We are delighted to benefit from the exceptional talent of Foster + Partners in bringing to London this world-class visitor attraction. The Tulip’s elegance and soft strength complements the iconic Gherkin. We are confident in London’s role as a global city and are proud to offer its schoolchildren a state-of-the-art classroom in the sky to appreciate London’s history and dynamism.”
Notes to Editors
The planning submission was formally made in the name of Bury Street Properties (Luxembourg) SARL.
Subject to the planning approval process, construction on The Tulip could begin in 2020 with completion projected for 2025.
Culture Mile is a new home for contemporary culture in the ancient heart of London’s working capital, inspiring visitors to wander winding medieval streets and marvel at architectural wonders. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are bringing the area to life with imaginative collaborations and exciting events. https://www.culturemile.london.
Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, rooted in sustainability, which was founded fifty years ago in 1967 by Norman Foster, who is executive chairman. Since then, he and the team around him have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation for thoughtful and pioneering design, working as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse. The studio integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, both structural and environmental, urbanism, interior and industrial design, model and film making, aeronautics and many more – the collegiate working environment is similar to a compact university. These diverse skills make the studio capable of tackling a wide range of projects, particularly those of considerable complexity and scale. Design is at the core of the studio.
J. Safra Group
The J. Safra Group (the “Group”), with total assets under management of over USD 249 billion and aggregate stockholders equity of USD 18.9 billion, is controlled by the Joseph Safra family. The Group consists of privately owned banks under the Safra name and investment holdings in asset based business sectors such as real estate and agribusiness. The Group’s banking interests in over 160 locations globally, are: J. Safra Sarasin, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland; Banco Safra, headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Safra National Bank of New York, headquartered in New York City, all independent from one another from a consolidated supervision standpoint. The Group’s real estate holdings consist of more than 200 premier commercial, residential, retail and farmland properties worldwide, such as New York City’s 660 Madison Avenue office complex and London’s iconic Gherkin Building. Its investments in other sectors include, among others, agribusiness holdings in Brazil and Chiquita Brands International Inc. With deep relationships in markets worldwide, the Group is able to greatly enhance the value of businesses which are part of it. There are more than 31,000 employees associated with the J. Safra Group.