Europe's new tallest tower nears completion in Saint Petersburg
Rising over the historic city of St. Petersburg like an elegant glazed bullet, the 87-story Lakhta Center is nearing completion following six years of construction. The supertall skyscraper rises to an impressive height of 462 m (1,516 ft), making it Europe's tallest building, as well as the 13th tallest building in the world.
The Lakhta Center consists of the skyscraper itself and surrounding public spaces, including a 2,000-seater amphitheater, water features, and a landscaped pedestrian embankment. The tower's structure has been completed (the construction photos shown below were taken last year but are the most recent available), and its interior is now under way.
The construction of the skyscraper has involved 20,000 people from 18 countries and its foundations required concrete to be poured for an incredible 49 hours without stopping. Its glazing measures 72,500 sq m (780,383 sq ft), and comprises 16,505 individual pieces of glass.
The skyscraper takes the form of a spire with five wings that twist a total of 90 degrees from top to bottom. It also features an observation deck at 357 m (1,171 ft), as well as a restaurant boasting panoramic views of the area. Once the building is operational, it will mostly host workers of Russian gas giant Gazprom.
To put its 462 m (1,516 ft) height into perspective, the Lakhta Center is a lot taller than other high-profile European towers like the Shard, which measures 310 m (1,017 ft), as well as Europe's previous tallest building, the East Federation Tower in Moscow, at 373 m (1,227 ft). The USA's tallest building, the One World Trade Center, is taller at 541 m (1,776 ft), though, and Dubai's Burj Khalifa continues to reign supreme as the world's tallest skyscraper by far, rising to almost twice the height of the Lakhta Center, at 829.8 m (2,723 ft).
The Lakhta Center has been pre-certified LEED Gold (a green building standard) and boasts some energy-efficient design. Its glazing has integrated mechanical ventilation systems that reduce air-conditioning use, and rainwater will be recycled for irrigation. Its 34 elevators generate electricity when moving downwards, and efficient LED lighting will be adjusted automatically, depending on the natural light available.