The City of London's planning committee have given the green light to a controversial 305-metre-tall tourist attraction designed by Foster + Partners. The Tulip was devised by the international starchitect after being approached by the owner of The Gherkin, another Foster project, who wanted to enhance public interaction with the property. 

The Tulip, image via Foster + Partners

Fosters says a retrofit of The Gherkin was impossible, instead developing a companion piece that officials estimate could attract 1.2 million visitors every year, and add nearly £1 billion in economic output by 2045. A variety of groups have fiercely opposed the development on a number of fronts. Historic England and Historic Royal Palaces have voiced their objections to the plan, worrying that the tower would block views of the Tower of London. The Greater London Authority had also expressed "significant concerns" about the design.

The Tulip, image via Foster + Partners

A 18-7 vote in favour of the proposal followed the submission of a 152-page report, which argued that although the proposal fails to comply with certain policies and guidelines, The Tulip had the potential to become an "architectural icon" that would bring visitors to the business district of the city, making it a 24/7 destination.

The Tulip, image via Foster + Partners

As currently proposed, the tower would become the second tallest structure in Western Europe. The design features a bulb of glazed observation levels, a rooftop terrace and a sky bar supported by a concrete stem. The Tulip would also accommodate educational facilities, or "classrooms in the sky" that would be accessed by 40,000 school children.

The Tulip, image via Foster + Partners

The Greater London Authority has 14 days to respond to the plan. The final decision rests with London mayor Sadiq Khan. The developer is hoping to complete the project by 2025.

The Tulip, image via Foster + Partners

For more information, check out the associated Database file and Forum thread, and as always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below.

Related Companies:  Foster + Partners, J. Safra Sarasin Group