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RMJM bypass World Heritage restrictions in St Petersburg

September 25 2009

RMJM bypass World Heritage restrictions in St Petersburg
RMJM have been granted an exemption to St Petersburg’s strict height limits by the governor of the city, paving the way to construct Europe’s tallest tower.

The £1.5bn Okhta Tower will reach a height of 396m when complete, far higher than the permitted 100m in the city, whose central districts comprise a World Heritage site. This has elicited a rebuke from Unesco that makes Caltongate  the centre will “damage the image of Russia”, with clashes taking place between protestors and police outside consultation sessions held by city authorities.

RMJM will now progress their plans to build the tower which will include an art museum, concert hall and sports facilities as well as office space, with architect Tony Kettle defending the design, pointing out that a 312m tower already exists in the city:

“It is a beautiful organic form in stainless steel and glass, because it twists it feels very baroque which links back to the work of Rastrelli who was the main architect of the city. I was trying to capture the sense of the movement of the city, the river Neva and its buildings. The tower has to be 396m, as at this height we can create a sustainable low-energy building which also has a pragmatic function."

Located some three miles from the city centre the tower will become home to Gazprom, a Russian energy giant, it is expected work will begin in 2010 for completion in 2013.

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