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The Lakhta Center is a mixed-use complex constructed along the shore of the Gulf of Finland, approximately 9km away from St Petersburg’s city centre in Russia. The complex comprises a tower, a multifunctional building, a stylobate and a park.

The 462.7m-tall tower within the complex is expected to become the highest skyscraper in Europe and one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. It will serve as the headquarters for Gazprom and its subsidiaries.

“The 462.7m tall tower within the complex is touted to become the highest skyscraper in Europe and one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.”

A former sand storage yard, the project site was selected in March 2011. Initial construction works for laying the foundation or zero-cycle construction works started in October 2012 and construction was completed in 2018. The center received authorisation for opening in October 2018 and is scheduled to be opened in 2019. The investment for the zero-cycle works is expected to reach $1bn.

The tower was to be originally built at the Okhta promontory in the Krasnogvardeysky district but was renounced in December 2010 following public dissent. Certain improvements and adjustments were made to the initial architectural concept submitted by RMJM London in 2006 to incorporate the tower at Okhta.

More than 3,000 people were involved during the construction phase and the project will create approximately 30,000 jobs in St Petersburg when operational. The complex is expected to serve more than 5,000 employees and roughly 3,000 visitors a day.

Design, layout and features

The Lakhta Center is built over a 330,000m² site and includes a park, social and cultural facilities, offices and a car park with 2,000 spaces.

The park at the site is connected to St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary park via a covered pedestrian bridge built across Lakhta Bay. The inclined buildings of the stylobate are reminiscent of the hull of a ship and integrate marine motifs with wave-like structures.

The tower features 33 lifts, a public observation deck and a restaurant on the top floor. An outdoor amphitheatre adjacent to the tower was constructed overlooking the water.

The multifunctional blocks adjacent to the tower will consist of a research complex, a children’s educational centre, a planetarium, a 500-seat conference hall, a modern sports complex, a medical centre with a paediatric unit, a central bank branch, a cinema, a residential complex, art galleries, cafés and restaurants, shopping malls and a public piazza.

The buildings within the complex will feature sensors for automatically adjusting interior lighting, modern plumbing ware that reduces water consumption by 15% and a state-of-the-art fire fighting system.

Lakhta Center façade

The façade of the tower features a unique type of glass, and the curved window panes each measure 4.2m in height, 2.8m in length and approximately 1,763lb in weight.

The air space between the double-skin façade provides both heat insulation and natural ventilation within the tower. Depending on the time of the day, the glass façade changes its colour, giving the tower the look of an animate object.

Lakhta Center construction

Up to 80.304 million cubic metres of В60-В80 grade reinforced concrete and 14.624 million tonnes of steel were used for the construction of the Lakhta Tower. The project also witnessed the excavation of 226,000m³ of soil, which was disposed at three sites located approximately 60km from St Petersburg.

The new Nobel Center will host the Nobel Prize ceremony, as well as house the Nobel museum and the Nobel Foundation offices.

The project set a Guinness World Record in March 2015 for the continuous pouring of more than 19,600m³ of concrete for the creation of the site’s foundations.

A 30m-deep and 1.2m-wide diaphragm wall (D-wall) surrounds the boundary of the foundation, which provides underground waterproofing and holding soil pressure from outside during the pit excavation and the installation of a 20m-high box-type foundation. The D-wall is supported by four 650mm-thick concrete disks.

The entire project required the installation of 2,000 piles by drilling wells, into which the pile shafts or metal cages were lowered and concrete was poured.

Each of the 264 foundation piles for the tower is 55m to 65m-long and 2m in diameter, and laid at depths of 72.5m to 82.5m. The box foundation for the tower was mounted on top of these piles. The bored piles were laid by two BG-40 and two BG-28 rotary drilling rigs.

Yacht berths, a power substation, a sewage collector, as well as water and wastewater treatment facilities were also constructed as part of the project.

Contractors involved

The general design contractor for the project is Gorproekt CJSC while RMJM was the architect. The general contractor for the zero cycle works is Arabtec, the piles were laid by Bauer and Geoizol while the installation of the D-wall was carried out by Geostroy.

AECOM was contracted for construction supervision and construction monitoring services while Rönesans Holding was involved in the construction works.

JVK-Cimolai implemented design, manufacture and supply of steel structures for construction, and PERI was involved in formwork scaffolding.

Inforce Project was involved in the planning and development of the project.