One of the world’s most ambitious building projects, Crystal Island has been granted preliminary planning permission in Moscow. Enclosed within a vast mega structure covering a total floor area of 2.5million square metres – the project’s scale is unprecedented. At 450m the scheme in one of the tallest structures enclosing the largest volume, on the planet. It also creates a spectacular new emblem on the Moscow skyline. Conceived as a self-contained city within a city, it contains a rich mix of buildings including museums, theatres and cinemas, to ensure that it is a major new destination for the whole of Moscow. Located on the Nagatino Peninsula, edged by the Moscow River, it is located only 7.5 km from the Kremlin, and offers panoramic views over Moscow from a viewing platform at its apex. Crystal Island will have a range of cultural, exhibition and performance facilities, approximately 3000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments, as well as offices and shops, designed to maintain a dynamic and animated public realm throughout the day. The internal built volumes of over one million square metres (more than ten million square feet) assume a staggered formation within the triangulated steel mega frame, extending flush against the sloping facetted glazed outer skin. This terracing creates a series of wintergardens, which form a breathable second layer and thermal buffer for the main building, shielding the interior spaces from Moscow’s extreme summer and winter climates. A vertical louvre system sheaths the internal facades to ensure privacy for the individual apartments. Enclosure panels on a dynamic geometry are slotted into the structural framing to allow daylight to penetrate deep into the heart of the scheme and can be controlled to modify the internal environment – closed in winter for extra warmth and opened in summer to allow natural ventilation. Energy management is at the heart of the design, with additional strategies to include on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation.