From halo to horticulture: Evolution of Fosters’ Tulip revealed

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Design documents display thinking behind architect’s plan for City’s tallest structure

Foster & Partners explored the idea of creating a halo or hoop-shaped viewing platform high above the City of London before settling on a tulip as the preferred form, planning documents supporting the practice’s newest proposals for the capital reveal.

This week the practice, which last month won the Stirling Prize for its Bloomberg London headquarters in the City, unveiled its plans for a 305m tall visitor attraction right next door to its Gherkin building.

Created for the Gherkin’s owner, billionaire Brazilian banker Jacob J Safra, the plans envisage a 3,000sq m visitor attraction on top of a concrete column to the east of the 40-storey office building, properly known as 30 St Mary Axe. The Tulip would be just 5 metres away from the Gherkin, but its main 12-storey pod would tower above its 180m tall sister building.

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