The proposed 1000ft (305-metres) high tower in the heart of London has been rejected by the UK Government. The 210-page report by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, calls the proposal a “muddle of architectural ideas”, as recommended by the government’s planning inspectorate, David Nicholson. The decision to throw out the appeal was made by the Secretary of State, Michael Gove.
Dubbing it ‘visually intrusive’ and ‘highly incongruous’, if built, the Tulip Tower would have been the second tallest tower in the city of London, just 5 metres shy of Renzo Piano’s The Shard.
Nicholson, in his report, included “the development would not amount to a design of outstanding quality” and the benefits will not be nearly enough to negate its harm to “the significance of designated heritage assets.”
The reasons for rejecting the appeal by Foster + Partners and client, Jacob Safra included:
— Fulfilling the brief with a tall, reinforced concrete lift shaft, would result in a scheme with very high embodied energy and an unsustainable whole life-cycle.
—The chosen purpose, form, materials and location have resulted in a design that would cause considerable harm to the significance of the Tower of London, and further harm to other designated heritage assets.
—The tourism benefits should be seen in the context of the very many other attractions in London and while the predicted number of visitors to the city is significant, those that would not come anyway would be far fewer.
The Tulip Tower was slated to be built at 20 Bury Street in London’s financial district, next to the Gherkin Tower – also designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Brazilian Safra Group, headed by Brazil’s wealthiest person, Joseph Safra.
“The Tulip proposals exude extremes. The honed detailing and exquisite presentation are quite exceptional for this stage of any scheme. Conversely, the chosen purpose, form, materials and location have resulted in a design that would cause considerable harm to the significance of the Tower of London, and further harm to other designated heritage assets,” said Nicholson in his report
Safra Group released a statement: “We are disappointed by the UK government’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Tulip. In our opinion, this project represented a unique opportunity to reaffirm London’s world-leading reputation in architecture, culture, education, and tourism.”