Lakhta Center in March 2020
|Former names||Gazprom Tower, Okhta Center|
|Tallest in Russia and Europe since 2017[I]|
|Preceded by||Federation Tower|
|Location||Lakhta, Saint Petersburg, Russia|
|Architectural||462 m (1,516 ft)|
|Observatory||357 m (1,171 ft)|
|Floor count||87 above ground
3 below ground
|Design and construction|
|Architect||RMJM-(until 2011), GORPROJECT|
|Architecture firm||RMJM (until 2011), GORPROJECT|
|Structural engineer||Gorproject, Inforceproject|
|Main contractor||Rönesans Holding|
The Lakhta Center (Russian: Ла́хта це́нтр, tr. Lakhta tsentr) is an 87-story skyscraper built in the northwestern neighborhood of Lakhta in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Standing 462 metres (1,516 ft) tall, it is the tallest building in Europe, the tallest building in Russia, and the fourteenth-tallest building in the world. It is also the second-tallest structure in Russia and Europe, behind the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, in addition to being the second-tallest twisted building and the northernmost skyscraper in the world.
Construction of Lakhta Center started on 30 October 2012, with the building topping out on 29 January 2018. It surpassed Vostok Tower of the Federation Towers in Moscow as the tallest building in Russia and Europe on 5 October 2017. The center is designed for large-scale mixed-use development, consisting of public facilities and offices. First designed by RMJM, the project was then continued by GORPROJECT (2011-2017) based on the RMJM Concept (2011) under the main contractor, Rönesans Holding. Lakhta Center is intended to become the new headquarters of Russian energy company Gazprom.
On December 24, 2018, Lakhta Center was certified according to the criteria of ecological efficiency at LEED Platinum, making it one of the five most eco-friendly skyscrapers in the world. The concrete pouring of the bottom slab of Lakhta Center's foundation on March 1, 2015 was registered by Guinness World Records as the largest continuous concrete pour; 19,624 cubic meters of concrete were used during 49 hours, which is approximately 3,000 cubic meters more than in the previous record registered at Wilshire Grand Tower. The record has since been surpassed. The tower's curtain wall is also the world's largest cold-bent facade by area.
The opening date of the complex will be determined after the completion of finishing and landscaping. The improvement of the embankments is planned to be completed at the end of 2020.
As the historical center of St. Petersburg has been a World Heritage Site since 1990, The World Heritage Committee opposed the construction of the 400-metre tower of Okhta Center as it would affect the cityscape of historic Saint Petersburg. In December 2006 UNESCO World Heritage Centre Director Francesco Bandarin reminded Russia about its obligations to preserve it and expressed concern over the project. In 2007, the World Monuments Fund placed the historic skyline of St. Petersburg on its 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites due to the potential construction of the building, and in 2009 reported that the tower "would damage the image of Russia." During the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO held in Saint Petersburg in 2012 it was stated that a large area of Saint-Petersburg falls within preservation and buffer zones provided for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That is why it is good for the city that the Okhta Center, which had been planned by Gazprom in front of Smolny Cathedral was moved to Lakhta.
The project being moved to Lakhta did not stop the discussions. On 11 April 2012, ex-governor of St. Petersburg and now Federation Council chairwoman Valentina Matvienko said to journalists that the "Lakhta center could become a new symbol of the city and attract the businessmen from all over the world to St. Petersburg."
On 26 January 2012, it became known that Gazprom was planning to build a new harbor for yachts near Lakhta Center and Krestovsky Island. A new company for managing these sea assets was to be created. It was announced that a new metro station was to be constructed near Lakhta Center on 16 March 2012. This metro station's building was included in the City development plan of Leningrad in 1980 but only with the construction of the Lakhta Center did it again enter the agenda. The plan of the metro station's construction was to be finalized by the end of 2012.
The permit for construction of the first stage of Lakhta Center, which included the skyscraper and stylobate, was obtained on 17 August. On 31 August 2012, a public hearing on the topic of the layout and surveying of the site of the Lakhta Center was held in the administration of the Primorsky district of Saint Petersburg. Objects planned for placing in the area of construction, scheme of communications and transportation infrastructure were presented to the public.
Approximately 3,000 people will be employed in the construction, mostly from professions relating to design and construction. After completion, a few thousand workers of different occupations were expected to be employed in the complex.
Geodesic, ecologic and soil investigations and design documentation for the project were prepared by GORPROJECT (Russia), NIIOSP (Russia), Petrochim-technologiya LLC (Russia) and Trest GRII JSC (Russia). In planning and executing works at the underground cycle, piling and producing construction materials such companies as Arabtec (UAE), Bauer Group (Germany), Geostroy CJSC (Russia), Inforsproekt CJSC (Russia) and Renaissance Construction (Turkey) take part. Verification calculations, working documentation development, optimisation of processes and technical supervision are performed by Arup Group Limited (Great Britain), Samsung C&T (Korea) and Lend Lease Project Management & Construction (Great Britain). Project management is being done by AECOM (USA). Exclusiva Design (Italy) is key contractor for the interior design of public spaces. German company Josef Gartner is in charge for the glazing of the skyscraper. Glazed facades of Entrance Arch as well as parts of Multi-functional building are done by Waagner-Biro.
Zero cycle works started on 30 October 2012. They consist of pit excavation, installation of the disk system, piling under the tower, multifunctional building and stylobate and construction of the foundation itself.
The main potential general contractor for the construction of Lakhta Center, Turkish Renaissance Construction company, was selected on 22 April 2014. On 22 May 2014 the contract for the construction of the foundation of one of the buildings in Lakhta Center was finally signed.
- March 2013 – zero cycle works are in process. Piles are being installed. According to the schedule of construction a diaphragm wall is to be completed by the end of April while piling works will continue until 15 August 2013.
- July 2013 – mounting of the 264 piles under the box-type foundation has been finished. Excavation of the foundation pit is in progress.
- September 2013 – total area of the site is announced to be increased from 330 to 400 thousand square meters due to a 700 parking space expansion to the planned parking spaces.
- October 2013 – construction of box-type foundation has been started. According to the plan this part of the work is to be finished in 2014.
- December 2013 – mounting of the concrete disks to the diaphragm wall has started. Disks are to provide the diaphragm wall with more resistance to outside ground pressure.
- April 2014 – construction of the skyscraper's foundation pit is complete.
- June 2014 – piling is completed. 264 piles were mounted for the tower of Lakhta Center, 848 piles were mounted for the mixed-use building and entrance arch and 968 piles were mounted for the stylobate (undergroung parking). All in all 2080 piles were dug in.
- September 2014 – excavation of the foundation pit for the mixed-use building has been finished. Foundation concreting has started.
- February and March 2015 – the pouring of the bottom slab of the skyscraper's box shaped foundation over. 19,624 cubic meters of concrete were cast in the foundation.
- June 2015 – construction of the underground floors has finished.
- September 2015 – pouring of the 2m thick upper box foundation slab has been completed, which means that all works below zero elevation are finished.
- September 2015 – the construction of the first floors of the tower core is underway.
- January 2016 – construction of the succeeding ten floors of the tower; works on stylobate complex.
- April 2016 – construction of the tower core at floors 22–26. Installation of the metal farm in the 18-22nd floors of the tower.
- May 2016 – glazing of the facade of the tower has started.
- September 2016 – construction of the tower core at floors 46–50.
- December 2016 – installation of facade at floors 16–18; construction of the tower core at floors 57-61
- February 2017 – Lahkta Center's tower reaches height of 260 metres; floors 61-64 are under construction.
- April 2017 - height exceeds 300 meters, making Lakhta Center a supertall building (international classification), work is being done on floor 67.
- May 2017 - the skyscraper reached a height of 327,6 meters, working on the 78th floor.
- August 2017 - Installation of the spire starts at floor 83
- 5 October 2017 - Lakhta center became the tallest building in Europe as it reached a height of 374 meters.
- 29 January 2018 - the height of the tower is 462 meters, the assembly of spire structures is completed. Glazing of the tower continues at floor 70.
- 20 June 2018 - The last tower crane was removed. The developers were motivated to finish work requiring tower cranes before the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi finals in order to make the building look architecturally complete.
- On 27 June 2018, the initial commissioning of the building was carried out. Technical documentation, building plan and technical passport were prepared.
- On 16 October 2018, Lakhta Center MFC JSC received authorization for commissioning of the facility. The relevant document was officially published by the State Construction Supervision and Inspection Service of Saint Petersburg, Russia.
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The Multi-functional building (MFZ) is a structure consisting of two buildings, North and South, which are united by a common foundation, stylobate and roof. The building resembles a boomerang. It has a variable number of storeys with a height difference from 7 to 17 floors, with the peak height being a little more than 80 meters. The building is approximately 300 meters long. The end facades are in a negative angle due to the removal of the console on 25 m. Facades are made from glass, with a total area of more than 60 thousand m².
Constructive scheme of the building - frame. More than 24 thousand tons of metal structures were used for the construction of this facility.
The main load-bearing elements are 4 reinforced concrete cores which perceive horizontal and vertical loadings, transferring them to the base executed in the form of the plate grillage leaning against piles. Between the Southern and Northern buildings of the MFZ along the entire height of the atrium, with a roof of translucent polymer membranes ETFE. In the space of the atrium, transitional bridges are spanned, which serve as observation points. Atrium is a pedestrian area from which you can get to any of the objects of the building.
The MFZ contains a planetarium, which has a holding capacity of 140 people. A very accurate projection of the starry sky is formed by a star machine (Japanese projector - Ohira Tech Megastar-IIA ). Larger objects, artificial aircraft, visual effects and much more are created by a projection system with a resolution of 8K at the meridian, which uses 10 Sony GTZ280 laser projectors. Five projectors illuminate the lower tier of the dome, four the top, and one forms an image at the zenith. Thus, a total resolution of 48,483,533 pixels is achieved. The side of the globe-shaped star hall juts out from the wall, and has been decorated with triangular stainless steel sheets, which have been polished to a shine.
Complex of buildings and structures
Next to the already commissioned Lakhta Center, construction continues. In addition to the existing entities of the complex, (tower, multi-purpose building, arch, stylobate) another is being constructed. According to official documents, it is called the "Complex of buildings and structures", or simply KZS.
The complex of buildings and structures is a single structure consisting of two buildings connected by a courtyard. The authors of the project suggest that it will not only strengthen the office function of the Lakhta Center, but also complete the formation of the architectural ensemble, balancing the skyscraper horizontally. Completion is planned for spring 2021. The KZS increases Lakhta Center's total area from 400 000 m² to 570 000 m².
Lakhta Center will contain offices, a co-working center, a sports center, a children's science center, and a conference center. The project includes 1,500 square meters of indoor exhibition space. Part of the open area will be used to demonstrate art, installations and sculptures. There will be a free public observation deck at the top of the skyscraper at a height of 357 meters.
- The main entrance of Lakhta Center is designed to be an arch. The height of the arch is almost 24m while its length is 98m.
- There will be 34 elevators in the tower, but not all of them will travel to the top floor. The mixed-use building will contain 62 elevators. Besides these elevators there will be special firefighter lifts constructed to be used in case of emergency. The total capacity of all elevators is up to 1,280 people.
- Lakhta Center's foundation is going to be concreted continuously in round-the-clock mode. Constructors plan to pour 24,000 cubic metres in 48 hours. The volume of concrete to be poured under the mixed-use building near the tower is 48,000 cubic metres. This volume is large enough to be included in the Guinness Book of Records.
- Around 400,000 cubic meters of concrete will be used for Lakhta Center's construction. During the first stage of foundation concreting 8,500 cubic meters of concrete will be used.
- In order to provide more effective fire-fighting, a HI-FOG water mist suppression system will be used. When the temperature exceeds 57 °C, sprinklers creating a water mist will start working automatically. Along with the sprinklers, there will be drenchers which can be switched on manually or with remote control in order to create a water curtain in an emergency.
- The area of the tower's glazing is 72,500 square meters and the glazing of the whole complex totals 130,000 square meters.
- Lakhta Center is also set to be the first skyscraper in St. Petersburg where an ice formation control system will be used. Heating of the glass at high floors will prevent ice accumulation and help maintain good visibility.
- Lakhta Center is designed to a high safety standard, which allows it to stand on one core even if all ten supportive columns collapse. The core structure is up to the highest fire rating. The building is designed to be able to withstand a four-hour fire without any structural damage.
- On December 31, 2018 Green Christmas lights were lit on the skyscraper, thus turning the building into the highest Christmas tree in Europe
- On June 28, 2019, an automatic weather station was installed at the highest point of the spire (462 meters), which monitors temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed.
While designing Lakhta Center several "green" and energy-saving technologies were implemented, resulting in it being awarded a LEED Platinum certificate:
- Double facade. Usage of double glazing will help to increase the level of thermal insulation, which allowed the designers to reduce costs for heating and conditioning.
- Usage of the excess heat generated by technical equipment responsible for the heating of premises.
- Usage of equipment with reduced noise level along with noise suppressors, sound-proof curtain walls and floating floors.
- Usage of economical infrared radiators.
- The consumption of material and energy resources will be decreased due to conversion of kinetic energy of the center's workers and visitors' steps to electric energy.
- Usage of contactless sensors or motion detectors to economize energy and water usage.
- Mounting of systems supporting an optimal level of temperature and humidity inside the building.
- Smart waste disposal system which improves hygiene and reduces CO2 emissions. Waste is also sorted, which is one of the essential principles of green construction. Waste disposal is required by 20 times less frequent than in a conventional system.
- Usage of ice storages which will accumulate up to 1000 tons of ice at night for air conditioning during the daytime. It will help to reduce the differences in electricity use between night and day. It also allows the reduction of electricity expenses on the account of the differences in tariffs for day and night usage of electricity. As the cooling of the building is to be made using accumulative ice generators it will be possible to save on electricity expenditures up to 13 thousand rubles a day.
- In support of the World Wide Fund for Nature's and FLAP's (Fatal Light Awareness Program) "Bird - Friendly Building Program", Lakhta Center's illumination has been designed to be bird-safe especially during bird migration periods (autumn, winter). The system of the illumination intensity and color change is under development at the moment.
- Due to the peculiarities of the highly humid and windy climate in the North Western region of Russia the possibility of icing up of buildings is relatively high. In order to prevent complete icing up of the tower's spire, engineers changed glassing to the metal gauze.
- In order to provide Lakhta Center and adjoining areas with electricity without imposing any extra burden on existing infrastructure, a new standalone power substation "Nevskaya guba" will be constructed.
All in all, while constructing Lakhta Center approximately 100 innovations are to be used. It increases the indexes of energy saving by 40% compared to the buildings where standard technologies are in use.
- The lighting system of the Lakhta Center includes 23,000 lighting devices (about half a million LEDs), of which the tower accounts for 17,0000.
In experts' opinion, period of recoupment of using green and energy-saving technologies in Lakhta Center may be at about 20 years though Lakhta Center's Projection department's specialists think that this figure is a bit overestimated.
Lakhta Center's construction raises a problem in terms of transportation development because of the expected growth in traffic flow in the region. Two traffic circles are to be built near Lakhta Center. These will become part of the М32А highway in the future. A light rail service from Finland Railway Station and a new tram line from Primorskaya underground station will be built to serve Lakhta Center. Plans are ongoing to build a new underground station with the working title of "Lakhta". Bicycle lanes near Lakhta Center with 90 parking places for bicycles are also planned.
During his visit to Russia in 2011 the Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Professor Sang-Dae Kim was treated to a presentation of Lakhta Center. Professor Kim commented on the "modern shape" of the proposed Lakhta Center, which according to him had "nothing in common with ordinary boxes". He also stated that something new ought to be created, which can be shown to new generations in 200–300 years as for them what is created nowadays will be the same historically as the architecture of the 18-19th centuries for us today. Mr. Kim also noticed that the project reminds him of the oriental concept Yin Yang: on one hand, the historic part of the city with horizontal buildings and water, and on the other hand a vertical which will add additional charm to the city. Lakhta Center combines an interesting form and modern technologies, so according to Mr. Kim, with the lapse of time the center can become a new symbol of Saint Petersburg.
In 2019 the Lakhta center complex became the leader in the number of nominations for the Award of Excellence and Urban Habitat. It was a finalist in five categories: Best high-rise building of 400 meters and higher; Construction award; Award in the field of construction engineering; award in the field of geotechnical engineering; award for facade engineering.
In 2020, the Lakhta center reached the final of the most prestigious competition among high-rise buildings CTBUH Award of Excellence. One of the nominations is a unique illumination of the complex.
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- Official site of Lakhta Center
- Official Site of the Okhta Center project
- Visual Analysis projecting the appearance of the tower at the Lakhta site, from various points in St. Petersburg
- Official social media page
| Europe’s tallest building
2017 – present
| Russia’s tallest building|
2017 – present
| Tallest building in Saint Petersburg
2017 – present