RMJM reaches for the sky with $3bn tower

Scottish architecture firm RMJM has revealed its new plans for the $3 billion headquarters of Russia's gas company Gazprom in St Petersburg.

The designs were unveiled along with the announcement that the firm has been appointed to design the headquarters.

The structure is to be built on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, seven miles from its original site in the centre of St Petersburg.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The shift in location was announced last December following an outcry about the height and location of its original Oktha Centre proposals, claiming it would ruin the city's skyline.

Unesco also voiced concern about the impact of the development, while the St Petersburg skyline was placed on the World Monuments Fund's 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

Sited on a 17-hectare brownfield site at Lakhta, on the outskirts of the city, the centrepiece of the project will be one of Europe's tallest towers. One of the options being considered is a 426m-tall structure.

The complex will also include commercial office space as well as retail, leisure and residential developments.

Tony Kettle, International Design Principal at RMJM's European Studio in Edinburgh, who will be leading the project team, said that the redesign had made the structure "thinner and more elegant".

"The tower design is the natural evolution of the RMJM concept previously proposed for the Okhta site, a design inspired entirely by the city of St Petersburg with its baroque architecture and water filled canals, with the changing form of water to ice, from soft organic freeform to angular crystaline geometry.

"The tower is a city-scale landmark that is designed to complement the historical spires of Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Admiralty.

"The form and silhouette has evolved from that proposed for Okhta to make it thinner and more elegant when seen as a distant spire from the southern Neva embankment of the city."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

RMJM has been involved with the project since 2006, and Mr Kettle and his team have spent more than three months revising their original design. The architectural firm has been hit by financial problems recently that has seen a series of high profile resignations from the company's offices around the world.

Earlier this month, it was reported that RMJM was being pursued by German acoustic consultant Muller BBM for unpaid fees relating to work done on the Gazprom project

The design stage of the project will be completed in 2012 and the first phase of construction will be funded by Gazprom Group.

Investment for further phases of the project will be shared between the Gazprom Group and private investors.

It is hoped that the complex will provide a blueprint for future sustainable design across Russia.

Related topics: