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RMJM’s breathtaking Lakhta Centre is as unique as it is iconic, and boasts a list of impressive facts that make it a step above the rest. Known for breaking records and holding prestigious titles, the Lakhta Centre exudes innovation and is one of RMJM’s most recognisable designs of recent times.
The Lakhta Centre has become a focal point in the Saint Petersburg skyline thanks to its striking barbed design and sleek curved facade. The design was inspired entirely by the city’s baroque architecture and water-filled canals, while incorporating several innovative efficiency features.
The mixed-use tower includes commercial office space as well as retail, leisure and residential developments, and occupies a unique position on Saint Petersburg’s landscape. A majority of the towers space is occupied by global energy company, Gazprom, and serves more than 5,000 employees, and roughly 3,000 visitors a day.
Design and Sustainability
Situated on a 330,000m2 ex-sand storage yard, the Lakhta Centre features a park, social and cultural facilities, offices, and a car park with a 2,000 vehicle capacity. Every inch of the tower was designed and crafted with excellence in mind. Such excellence was carried out by a team of 3,000 people during the construction phase, which in turn resulted in approximately 30,000 new jobs upon its completion.
Image courtesy of Lakhta Centre
The striking layout of the complex represents the hull of a ship, and integrates marine motifs with wave-like structures. These environmental features are at the heart of the towers design, and go deeper than its iconic appearance. Several environmental strategies were put in place during the design and planning of the complex, and have resulted in innovative and efficient energy saving solutions. Such innovations include a double-layered skin that maximises the amount of daylight let in and minimises heat loss for this intense Saint Petersburg winters. This intelligent design combined with infrared radiators – as opposed to conventional heaters – mean that excess generated heat is not lost, but rather channelled back into the heating system.
The Lakhta Centre – 6 Interesting Facts
The iconic skyscraper has solidified its place in history by towering 462 metres above ground, garnering it the title of the tallest building not only Russia, but also in Europe.
Over the last decade, RMJM’s portfolio has expanded with several impressive high-rise structures. These include, but are not limited to, the St Regis Zhuhai hotel and office tower, the Capital Gate ADNEC, and Suzhou’s Gate to the Orient. The addition of the Lakhta Centre to this list strengthens RMJM’s reputation as industry-leaders in iconic, innovative, and record-breaking design.
A Number of Floors
With the phenomenal exterior of the Lakhta Centre, it’s almost easy to forget that it is more than just a work of art, but a functioning development. A total of 90 floors – 87 elevated and three underground – fill the height of the tower, and are used for various operations.
A building of this magnitude require appropriate mobility which is provided for with a total of 34 elevators placed throughout, that all see a waiting time of no longer than 30 seconds.
The top floor of the tower – situated in the spire – presents an exquisite observation deck and restaurant where employees, and visitors can enjoy the views – previously only offered by aircraft.
An Iconic Spire
At 104 metres long, the spire atop the Lakhta tower forms the final structural element of the skyscraper, and symbolises the power of water. The crowning jewel shoots into Saint Petersburg’s skyline like no other, but the magnificence doesn’t stop there. Naturally, a skyscraper of this proportion required equally substantial construction equipment, leading the ground team to call in Europe’s tallest crane to help finish the job.
The brutality of local winter conditions , and the extreme height of the towers spire, prompted the design team to adopt an anti-icing system that prevents ice forming on the outside of the spire, keeping those underhead safe from falling icicles.
A World Record
In order to properly support the tower’s 670,000 tone weight, a substantial amount of concrete was poured to cement the building’s foundations – 19,624 cubic metres to be exact. The continuous concrete pour took just over 49 hours, and was enough to earn it a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous pour of concrete in the world.
An Iconic Facade
The standout facade of the Lakhta Centre incorporated the largest volume of glass ever used on a high-rise building. 16,500 curved glass panels were installed, and have been fitted with automatic shutters and valves that have been designed to reduce heat loss. Keeping it in line with the theme of water and life, the glass facade has been designed to change colour depending on the position of the sun, giving the impression of an animate object.
A building of the Lakhta Centre’s stature requires a fairly substantial construction process, and as such saw the completion of the tower after 6 years of development.
Some of the key moments of the construction process include:
- February/March 2015: The pouring of concrete for the foundation
- September 2015: Construction of the first floors begins
- May 2016: Glazing of the towers facade has started
- February 2017: The tower reaches 260 metres
- April 2017: The tower surpasses 300 metres
- August 2017: Installation of the spire begins
- October 2017: The Lakhta Centre becomes the tallest building in Europe
Take a look at the awe-inspiring video below – published by the Lakhta Centre – which perfectly captures the magnitude of the tower, and gives an inside look at the construction of Europe’s tallest building.
RMJM’s Russian Presence
While the tower has become a landmark in Saint Petersburg, it is part of a long list of Russian projects that RMJM has been involved in. Other key projects include the Sheremetyevo Airport – Terminal B, Domodedovo Airport, and the equally iconic City Palace Tower, otherwise known as the Evolution Tower.
With the tower being completed in 2018, construction will now be focused on the business and public areas of the complex. The opening is expected to take place later in 2019, when the complex will welcome guests.
Will you be visiting Saint Petersburg? Share your photos of the Lakhta Centre with us using #RMJM, and who knows, your photo could be featured on our social media channels.