architecture

London's 'Tulip' tower proposal worries air traffic control

Updated 28th November 2018
London's 'Tulip' tower proposal worries air traffic control
Written by Jack Guy, CNN
Ambitious plans for a new skyscraper known as the Tulip have received a lukewarm reception from Londoners, and now a local airport has spoken out about an important technical issue.
Earlier in November, British architects Foster + Partners revealed plans to build the 305-meter tower primarily as a tourist attraction, with viewing platforms, restaurants and an educational center for kids.
However, the proposal also includes a number of glass gondolas running around the outside of the building, causing concern at London City Airport which lies just six miles from the proposed site.
The Tulip would become the second-tallest building in London
The Tulip would become the second-tallest building in London Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
In a letter to the City of London planning authorities, which are responsible for approving or rejecting the project, the technical operations coordinator for the airport asks for checks to make sure the gondolas won't interfere with air traffic control systems.
"Construction shall not commence until an assessment has been carried out on the impact of this development on the RADAR coverage," requests the letter.
"During this assessment it should be noted that the gondolas present will be moving and therefore may have a slightly different effect than a static element of the building."
While aviation experts are concerned about the safety of skies over London, local residents have also voiced their opposition to the distinctive skyscraper, which would become the second-tallest building in the British capital.
The Tulip gondola.
The Tulip gondola. Credit: DBOX for Foster + Partners
Manuel Kaiser, a member of the public, derided the plans in a response to the planning application, writing that it "reeks of desperation in its straining after ostentatious effect" and "is unsympathetic to its surroundings."
The new tourist attraction would fit in with local authority plans to create a so-called "Culture Mile," which would bring more visitors to London's financial district.
However Kaiser believes the Tulip would encourage the "Disneyfication of the area, leading to tourist crowds and undesirable side effects."
Whether aesthetic or technical, the City of London now has a number of objections to consider before deciding the fate of the tower, which is part of a wave of skyscrapers transforming the city skyline.