St Petersburg’s Lakhta Center

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St Petersburg is one of Russia’s – if not the world’s – most architecturally splendid cities. As such, when plans surfaced to build St Petersburg’s first supertall skyscraper – the Lakhta Center, formerly known as the Okhta Center and Gazprom City – it was important to consider the aesthetic effect the building would have on the rest of the city skyline.

Here, we take a look at plans for the skyscraper and the surrounding complex, and consider its architectural inspiration.

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The background

State-owned energy giant Gazprom, the world’s largest extractor of natural gas, commissioned the building as its new national headquarters.

Originally, the whole development was to be located next to St Petersburg’s historic centre, but it has since been moved to the Lakhta area amid concerns over the expected effect of its construction on the city’s architectural integrity.

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Facts and figures

● Height: 462 m

● Area: 140,000 sqm

● Number of storeys: 86

● Estimated cost: $2.5 billion

● Construction workforce: approximately 3,000 people

● Architect: Gorproekt CJSC (original design concept by RMJM London)

● Expected completion: 2018

● When finished, the Lakhta Tower is expected to be the tallest building in Russia and Europe.

● As well as being the HQ of Gazprom neft and other Gazprom group companies, it will contain a children’s museum and science centre, a four-star Crowne Plaza hotel, a planetarium, a cinema, and a shopping gallery.

● Although not due to be completed for another three years, the Lakhta Center already holds a Guinness World Record. Between February 27th and March 1st, the project set a new record for largest continuous concrete pour, with 19,624 cubic metres poured over a period of 49 hours.

Architectural concept

Edinburgh-based architecture and design firm RMJM strived to create a concept that fits the needs of a large, cutting-edge energy company while also maintaining the proud architectural tradition of St Petersburg.

The Lakhta Center’s website explains: “St Petersburg was created as a city of horizontals. A flat lowland dictated buildings relatively even in height, and in some spots accentuated with high-rise ensembles. The spire of the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Admiralty [and] the dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral are city-forming landmarks with architectural ensembles around them.”

St Petersburg’s main architectural themes – particularly its proximity to the sea – are reflected in the design of the Lakhta Center. The tower, positioned among a largely horizontal landscape, bears more than a passing resemblance to a ship’s mast, while the buildings that lean against its base represent the hull. This theme continues through the wave-like bearing structures and the overall organic form of the building, both of which symbolise the power of the sea.

Source : WB365

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