The historic core of St. Petersburg features an abundance of monumental buildings, palaces, parks and statues that earned the city its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When a supertall tower was planned for the city centre in 2005, fears mounted that such a massive building would compromise the architectural integrity of its neighbours. Since moved to the suburban shores of the Gulf of Finland in the Primorsky District, the 86-storey Lakhta Center is finally under construction.
The business complex will be the tallest building in Europe at 462 metres, easily overcoming the height of Moscow's 374-metre Federation Tower. Featuring a design by Gorproject, with the initial concept created by RMJM, the tower will become the new headquarters for the state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom. Over half of the interiors will be dedicated towards public functions, including a children's museum, planetarium, health centre, cinema, multifunctional hall, and a science-based educational complex. Europe's highest observation deck will be situated on the top floor, providing panoramic city and water views 378 metres above the ground.
A myriad of shops and restaurants will also be provided alongside a four-star hotel. An open outdoor amphitheatre boasting 2,000 seats will be surrounded by lush landscaping and fountains. The organic form of the tower takes cues from a sailboat, also symbolizing "the energy of water, the flow of spaces, openness and lightness", according to the project's website.
As the tower begins its skyward ascent, the area surrounding the site is also very much a work in progress. New streets are being created and existing streets extended. An underground parking garage serving 1,800 vehicles will be constructed. A new metro station is expected to be built and operational by 2025. All of this is carefully being put into place as part of a larger, soon-to-be thriving, waterfront community. Upon the Lakhta Center's completion in 2018, the scene will be quite the departure from the land's previous use as an industrial sand yard.
A video recapping the construction progress of the landmark tower was recently posted to the Lakhta Center YouTube channel. Barely off the ground, the project has already broken records. In March 2015, 19,624 cubic metres of concrete were poured for the bottom slab of the box-shaped foundation. That procedure took the record for the largest continuous concrete pour in history from the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles.
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