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Europe's Tallest Skyscraper Approaches Completion in St Petersburg

Europe's Tallest Skyscraper Approaches Completion in St Petersburg
Europe's Tallest Skyscraper Approaches Completion in St Petersburg, © Viktor Sukharukov Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex
© Viktor Sukharukov Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex

The Lakhta Center, a 400,000-square-meter complex which includes Europe's tallest skyscraper, is approaching completion in St Petersburg. Designed by RMJM (authoring team led by Tony Kettle), the complex provides a new landmark in the northwest of the city—an area on the coastline of the Gulf of Finland which has seen significant development in recent years with the completion of the St Petersburg Stadium, a passenger seaport, and a number of park spaces including the Park of the 300th Anniversary of Saint Petersburg.

The centerpiece of the development, the 462-meter-tall Lakhta Center Tower, is not only the tallest building in Europe, but also the first supertall skyscraper in St Petersburg, the world's second-tallest twisting skyscraper after the Shanghai Tower, and the world's northernmost skyscraper.

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Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex

Around two-thirds of the office space in the Center will be occupied by the headquarters of Gazprom PJSC, with about 8,000 employees expected to work from the complex. In addition to office space, the Lakhta Center Tower features a 360-meter-high observation deck and a restaurant with panoramic views, while the remainder of the complex includes a scientific and educational center, a planetarium, a concert hall, an amphitheater, and a number of public squares. As such, the Lakhta Center will become a rare example of a multinational company headquarters integrated with a wide range of public functions.

© Kamil Nureev Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex

The tower is composed of a cluster of five individual tower forms, each of which twists and tapers as it rises—resulting in the tower as a whole twisting 90 degrees from base to tip. As described by the tower's concept designer Tony Kettle, "the tower was designed as a simple organic spire with asymmetrical movement in its skin, to be seen as a singular landmark at city scale." Structurally, the tower features a central core, with five "outrigger" levels to distribute horizontal loads to 15 perimeter composite columns. This strategy allows the building to resist the wind loads at the site which can be up to 140 kilometers per hour at a height of 400 meters.

Diagram showing the development of the Lakhta Center Tower's form. Image Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex

The second major part of the complex is a 260-meter-long boomerang-shaped multifunctional building which contains many of the public functions. Rising to a maximum height of 80 meters, the building's roof and sloping facades were designed to minimize its visual impact, masking the size of the structure.

© Stanislav Zaburdaev Courtesy of Lakhta Center Multifunctional Complex

The Lakhta Center's exterior finishes have now been completed, with the interior works currently ongoing. The entire complex is due to be finished later this year.

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