Building would be tallest in Square Mile

Foster + Partners has submitted plans for the tallest building in the City of London – a 305m visitor attraction shaped like a giant tulip.

The proposed scheme on land at 20 Bury Street will be built next door to the architect’s Gherkin at 30 St Mary Axe, which was the first in the cluster of towers to go up in the area when it was completed by Skanska back in 2004.

The project will come in at just under 3,000m² and is being bankrolled by billionaire banker Jacob J Safra, owner of the Gherkin, with the application made in the name of Safra’s Luxembourg-based Bury Street Properties.

According to the practice, the scheme will feature glazed observation levels supported by a huge concrete shaft to create “a new state-of-the-art cultural and educational resource for Londoners and tourists”.

As well as the main tower, the planning application also includes a new entrance pavilion with public roof terrace and 284 bicycle parking spaces.

Safra said the proposal was an endorsement of London’s status in the world. He added: “We are confident in London’s role as a global city.”

The visitor attraction will offer free entry to 20,000 London state school children a year which will “will deliver national curriculum topics”.

There are also plans internally for glass slides and gondola pod rides. According to the scheme’s backers, the pods “will transport [visitors] outside in an exhilarating loop around The Tulip’s glass petals. Inside the 12 floors at the top, visitors can stroll across the Sky Bridge and enjoy the thrill of sliding between floors.”

The scheme will feature a concrete shaft with steel framed observation deck levels.

At 278m, 22 Bishopsgate, which is being built by Multiplex, will be tallest tower in the City when it is completed next year, eclipsing the 230m tall Heron tower, also built by Skanska. But the Tulip will overtake 22 and will be taller than Eric Parry’s 304m tall proposal for 1 Undershaft.

Construction could start in 2020 and be completed in 2025.

All images by DBOX for Foster + Partners