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Okhta Center, St. Petersburg, Russia

Friday 25 Sep 2009

Green light for Gazprom

courtesy RMJM 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 3

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29/09/09 Roger Emmerson, Edinburgh
Ghosts wander aimlessly in a maze of Barcelona chairs on the top floor of a skypricker. They've forgotten why they're there and where they came from as they gaze down in mute incomprehension at a city a quarter of a mile below.
29/09/09 Peter H, Maseru
Having studied St Petersburg, as part of my PhD thesis, on the subject of capital city urban design, this project appears to be, to say the least, inappropriate.<p>

It recalls two other very tall structures: the Tower of Babel and the World Trade Center; both of which were built to be as high as possible. The former was never completed, due to a 'Babel of tongues', and an inability to communicate; the latter was, in effect, a monument to pride.
St Petersburg is a beautiful and magnificent city, evocative of a more spacious and gracious age; notwithstanding the facts that an estimated 100 000 people died during its construction; that it survived Revolution and wartime siege; and finally reverted to its original name.<p>

The key question, to my mind, is : Is this building appropriate for its setting, in one of the most magnificent low-rise cities in the world; and should an office building be higher than the highest existing building : the cathedral of St Peter and St Paul ?
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29/09/09 Sy Auerbach, F.A.I.A., Chevy Chase, MD
Wooopdy-doo! I'm taller than all the rest! For what purpose?

Just showing off! Like so many others!


Russia’s controversial tower project wins final approval 

A 400-meter tower designed by RMJM for the Russian energy giant Gazprom has gained final approval from the city of St. Petersburg, despite opposition from residents and UNESCO. At 77 stories tall, the new tower, known as the Okhta Center, will eclipse the city’s tallest structure, the spire of St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, by more than a factor of three and may become the tallest building in Europe.

The building will serve as the headquaters for Gazprom's oil unit OAO Gazprom Neft, and include a concert hall, art museum, hotel and a business center. While supporters of the project say it promises to transform the depressed city into a thriving one, critics fear it will alter St. Petersburg’s character, which to this day exhibits the low rise profile and ambience of a 19th century city. Among the project’s critics is David Sarkisyan, Director of the Moscow Museum of Architecture. In an interview with Bloomberg.com, Sarkisyan called the decision to approve the project 'monstrous and barbaric'. "The tower is a symbol of political ego and people will always resent it,” he said. Residents rallied to defeat the project right up until the end, clashing with police and Gazprom security guards in the process.

UNESCO has threatened to strip the city of its status as a world heritage site if the tower is built.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

Key Facts

Status Planning approved
Value 0(m€)
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