London’s iconic Gherkin landmark could be getting a striking and futuristic new neighbor — if plans for Foster + Partners’ The Tulip are approved. Proposed for a site next to The Gherkin — the Stirling Prize-winning 30 St Mary Axe building also designed by Foster + Partners — the conceptual observation tower would serve as a new cultural attraction and educational facility with unparalleled 360-degree views of London. The nature-inspired building would target a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and would be powered by integrated photovoltaic cells as well as zero-combustion technology.

skyline featuring tall rounded structure

Created in partnership with The Gherkin owner J. Safra Group, The Tulip tower would soar to a height of 1,000 feet and be built with a high-strength concrete shaft with steel-framed observation deck levels. Key to the design is the sky-high classroom that would offer 20,000 free places per year for London’s state school children. Residents and tourists will also be able to enjoy the viewing galleries connected to sky bridges, internal glass slides and even gondola pod rides built along the building’s facade. The visitor experience will be heightened with interactive materials and information about the history of London, a sky bar and restaurants.

people looking out of glass walls

view down to city streets from glass elevator

On the ground level, The Tulip would include a new, 1,400-square-foot pocket park along with a two-story visitor pavilion with a publicly accessible green roof and two green walls. The addition of landscaping would increase the site’s green surface area by 8.5 times.

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On the left, aerial view of silver rounded buildings in a city. On the right, people walking around room with glass walls.

close-up of glass walls of rounded building with city in background

“Continuing the pioneering design of 30 St Mary Axe, the Tulip is in the spirit of London as a progressive, forward- thinking city,” said Norman Foster, founder and executive chairman of Foster + Partners. “It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.” If The Tulip proposal is approved, construction could begin in 2020 with completion projected for 2025.

+ Foster + Partners

Images via DBOX / Foster + Partners