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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Meet the Tulip: London’s newest, and strangest skyscraper

A flower-inspired building could be joining London’s skyline with an aim to more attract tourists to the city’s financial district.

The Tulip, standing tall at 300 metres, is the brainchild of Dubai Mall’s Apple Store architect Foster + Partners. It will be funded and run by Brazilian-owned J Safra. The developers did not reveal the cost of the project.

The structure will consist of a huge concrete "stem" with a twelve-floor steel and glass "flower" on top, housing restaurants, bars and an education area.

The building's architects said it is intended to complement the Gherkin, which is owned and designed by the same team. The 40-storey Gherkin opened in 2003 at 30 St Mary Axe and is largely home to offices. Though a number of taller, box-like buildings have crowded the structure in the past decade.

“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 of Foster + Partners in a statement on Monday.

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“It offers significant benefits to Londoners and visitors as a cultural and social landmark with unmatched educational resources for future generations.”

It is hoped the Tulip will draw more tourists to the financial district, with viewing platforms and moving gondola pods to give visitors different views over the city.

The hype for the proposed "flower" structure may have already begun, but it is yet to be approved by London’s planning authorities. The blueprint was handed in to the City of London last week, and the building design includes a number of features seemingly added to please decision-makers.

For instance, in line with London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to make London the world’s first National Park City, the Tulip will maximise green space, including a pocket park and two-storey rooftop garden. Also keeping with the green theme, environmental measures such as zero-waste and zero-combustion would be used during the building and running of the building.

If approved, the building could be built between 2020 and 2025.