A $2bn skyscraper in St Petersburg which takes the title of Europe’s tallest building from Moscow’s Federation Tower is nearly complete.
The Lakhta Centre, occupying a unique position on St Petersburg’s landscape, stands at 1,516 feet (462 metres), incorporates 87 floors following an outline twisting 90 degrees from its foundations to the top and will host the headquarters of Russian energy giant Gazprom Group.
The colossal 330,000 m² complex includes commercial office space as well as retail, leisure and residential developments. To offer visitors breathtaking views over the Gulf of Finland, an observation deck – the highest in Europe at 360 metres from the ground – will be open to the public.
British architects RMJM were appointed to design the complex, first known as Gazprom City and then Oktha Center, on a 17-hectare brownfield site at Lakhta, 12 km from the city centre.
The building’s design incorporates several innovative efficiency features, including a smart glass façade that provides both natural ventilation and thermal insulation and specially designed micro-climate air-conditioning.The special glass façade also allows the building to change colour depending on the position of the sun, giving the impression of a ‘living object’, according to the architects.
Construction began in October 2012. The foundation is so large that it required the longest continuous pouring of concrete ever attempted, of around 20,000 cubic metres, resulting in a Guinness world record in 2015. However, the record was beaten by a Dubai construction site two years later.
The supporting columns of the skyscraper (made of composite materials) have an incline of 2.89°, giving the tower its spiral outline. This solution — used for the first time in Russian high-rise architecture — resulted in a 40-percent reduction in the time spent building the tower, as well as a two-fold reduction in construction costs.
The interior of Lakhta Center will be finished by 2019. The spire, which forms the final structural element of the skyscraper, was installed without helicopter support, using the highest crane in Europe.
Useable space will be installed right up to the 87th floor (at 368.8 metres high). The 88th floor upwards (377.35 metres) will accommodate façade maintenance, telecommunications and navigation systems equipment.
Approximately 600 Russian and international companies, and more than 20,000 professionals, from 18 countries, have been involved in realising this project. The author of the design was Tony Kettle while at RMJM. The project was then continued by GORPROJECT (2011-2017) based on the RMJM Concept (2011) under the main contractor, Rönesans Holding.
The 10 tallest buildings in Europe are:
1. The Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg: 1,516ft (462m) 2. Federation Tower Moscow: 1,226ft (373.7m) 3. OKO: South Tower in Moscow: 1,162ft (354.1m) 4. Mercury City Tower in Moscow 1,112ft (338.8m) 5. The Shard in London 1,017ft (309.7m) 6. Eurasia in Moscow 1,014ft (308.9) 7. CoC: Moscow Tower in Moscow: 990ft (301.6m) 8/9: Skyland Istanbul 1 and 2 in Turkey: 932ft (293.1m) 10. Metropol Istanbul in Turkey: 919ft (280ft)
The world's tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in United Arab Emirates city Dubai, with a height of 2,722 ft (829.8 metres).