The tower bridge and financial district of London are shown at sunset. Picture: 123RF/VICTOR10947
The tower bridge and financial district of London are shown at sunset. Picture: 123RF/VICTOR10947

The UK government is fine with a Gherkin, Walkie Talkie and Cheesegrater dotting the City of London skyline. But it’s drawn the line at a Tulip.

After three years of wranglings, officials rejected plans lodged by late billionaire Joseph Safra to build a 305m flower-shaped tower in the financial district. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had previously overruled the approval for the Foster + Partners-designed Tulip that would have been the latest addition to the City’s cluster of quirkily-named towers. Safra wanted to build it next to his increasingly overshadowed Gherkin skyscraper. 

Minister of state for housing Chris Pincher made the decision after weighing up the effect on the environment and nearby historical buildings including the Tower of London, according to a statement released on Thursday. That brings to an end a series of appeals for the controversial plans that were originally approved by the City of London Corporation, which oversees the district. 

Safra’s unorthodox proposal included so-called gondola pods that would loop around the outside of the building’s glass petals, according to the project’s website. The 12-story dome would also feature restaurants, bars, a viewing gallery and education spaces, with glass slides connecting some floors.

Safra died in December 2020, and his family continued the appeal process. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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