Have you ever looked at the London skyline and thought, ‘This view could really do with a giant sperm’?
Probably not, but on the off-chance you have you’re in luck, because developers actually have a building in the works that makes the Big Smoke look like it’s blown its load.
The 1,000ft tower is officially called The Tulip, but I imagine there’s only a handful of people who would look at the building and think that it genuinely resembles a flower. Those who do would be among the ranks of Britain’s most innocent residents.
Plans for the structure were rejected by the Mayor of London last July, after the Historic England and Historic Royal Palaces claimed The Tulip would dominate the landscape and ‘reduce the visual dominance of the Tower of London’, harming its ‘role as a symbol of royal power’.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, drew attention to the building’s shaft and bulge, saying:
This building – a lift shaft with a bulge on top – would damage the very thing its developers claim they will deliver – tourism and views of London’s extraordinary heritage.
The setting of the Tower of London, a symbol of the city not just to millions of Londoners but to the whole world and one of our most visited places, will be harmed.
City of London Corporation planning officers did approve the plans last April, but Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has the power to overrule planning decisions by London councils, was against the decision. However, J. Safra Group, which is behind the project, and architects Fosters and Partners have appealed to change the ruling.
J. Safra already has a stake in the London skyline as the owner of the Gherkin building – another structure that looks very little like its namesake – but the company wants to sow its seed a little further by building the concrete and glass sperm, sorry, Tulip, next to the Gherkin.
Standing just 13ft shorter than western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, The Tulip would include glazed observation levels supported by the aforementioned shaft, which will give tourists a birds-eye view of London.
Visitors would take in the view from three spinning gondola pods attached to the summit, and The Tulip will also house a floor dedicated to education facilities during school hours, which will serve as a resource for local community groups and charities.
If the building gets the go-ahead, developers believe it could boost the local economy by £1 billion and create 600 full-time jobs. While also adding a giant sperm to the landscape, let’s not forget.
Twitter users were quick to pick up on the building’s, let’s say, ‘unique’ design, with many taking to social media to mock its shape.
The Tulip just looks like a sperm. Can London get better, less phallic-minded architects please.
— Will McLaren ?️ (@WillMclaren93) July 17, 2019
One could argue that the Tulip building design resembles the tip on a sperm head!
— eswar ramalingam (@eswaramalingam) April 2, 2019
Is it just me or does the planned tulip look a little like a monster sized sperm ?!?! https://t.co/1UPmweesuG
— michaela nuttall RGN MSc (@thisismichaela) November 19, 2018
looking forward to absolutely no-one referring to the sperm as 'the tulip' https://t.co/0Q4siUvfRg
— ido (@idvck) November 19, 2018
Fosters and Partners has appealed to the government planning inspector, who could take up to 12 months to determine the decision. If the plans are approved, construction would likely be completed in 2025.
The building might not win everyone over, but there’s no doubt it will be a talking point.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.