London’s controversial new tourist attraction

London is hoping a controversial new tourist attraction dubbed ‘The Tulip” will bring new life to the city after COVID. But not everyone is so sure.

Architects Foster + Partners proposed the 305.3-metre-high tower in 2018. It was approved by the City of London in 2019 with the council saying it had “the potential to become an architectural icon”.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, however, later rejected the Tulip, saying it would have very little benefit to the city.

And the battle has been raging ever since.

What is ‘The Tulip’

According to the website, Tulip Tower will have viewing galleries with a Skybridge and rides — inside and out.

The building will house exhibits and interactive learning spaces covering design technology. It will also have an incredible view. And look like a gigantic tulip flower sticking out of the London skyline.

The base of the Tulip, or the stem, will sit in a public park.

The Tulip London

Why do they hate it?

It’s not the fact that it is a huge Tulip. Londoners are used to unusual buildings. They already have the Gherkin, the Shard, The Cheese Grater and the Walkie Talkie.

The Tulip owners argued that the tower would have free spaces for school students to learn about design and history.

However, those spaces are only on the bottom of the tower. Access to the stunning top floor views is restricted to paying customers.

London’s mayor said that wasn’t good enough.

The Tulip London.

‘Irreversible damage’

Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces, and the Greater London Authority, all oppose the tower. They argued it was the wrong tower, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We advised that its height and design – essentially a tall lift shaft with a bulge on top – would cause permanent and irreversible damage to the setting of the Tower of London, and in turn, the image and identity of the capital,” Historic England CEO Duncan Wilson said.

The Tulip construction “would damage the very thing its developers claim they will deliver – tourism and views of London’s extraordinary heritage,” he said.


Foster + Partners, founder Norman Foster, said the Tulip would be “inevitably controversial” due to its iconic form and sheer scale.

The company has appealed the rejection and are awaiting a decision.

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