What if Old Buildings Are Greener Than New Ones?

News Detail




United Kingdom


Slate Skintight Digital Pants

Even by the standards of London’s glassy skyscraper district, which includes buildings nicknamed for a walkie-talkie and a cornichon, the Tulip would have been a weird one. The design, by the British architect Norman Foster, featured a 50-foot-wide concrete shaft supporting a multilevel observation deck a thousand feet over London Bridge. There was no office space. No housing. Just a big pole with a view, which, in these times, looked less like a flower than a swab testing the London sky for COVID-19.

Last month, the U.K. government rejected the design. Among the reasons were many shortcomings that will sound familiar to American readers: loss of open space, harm to historic structures, limited community benefits. And one that might sound new: “very high embodied energy.”

More info

Want to stay up to date?

Sign up to our mailing list to receive regular updates on the most exciting news, research, case studies, and events related to sustainable design.