Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

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Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby PVC King » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:23 am

UK architect to design Gazprom HQ
By Andrew Bolger in Edinburgh

Published: December 1 2006 18:24 | Last updated: December 1 2006 18:24

A UK-based international architectural company, RMJM, has been appointed to design the new headquarters Gazprom, the Russian gas group.

The Scottish-based firm’s winning proposal is a 396-metre twisting, glass needle which it claims will echo the spires across the city of St Petersburg.


RMJM was the architectural collaborator of Enric Miralles, the Catalan architect, on the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, a building that ended up costing £430m ($851m, €639m) – more than 10 times the initial estimates.

The contest for the Gazprom contract was controversial, in part because of fears that the beauty of the Russian city would be tarnished by the building’s proposed height. RMJM defeated five other international architects for the commission to develop proposals for the $600m (€451m, £303m) tower in the historic heart of the city, close to the Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge and Smolny Cathedral.

Tony Kettle, UK managing director of RMJM and lead architect on the project, said: “There has been much debate and opposition to introducing a building of this height to St Petersburg, but when you consider Paris, a city with an equally precious environment, it has been made even more special by the 324-metre high Eiffel Tower.

“I think that the quality of the tower’s design and its exclusive nature is critical here and we firmly believe that our design truly works for the city. St Petersburg is not the place to create a collection of towers like Manhattan or Paris’ La Defense. We have created something quite unique and timeless, a beautiful landmark for the city which will also set new standards for energy conservation and sustainability. Gazprom is one of the world’s most important energy companies and it is fitting that in a city of spires, this new spire should symbolise the importance of energy.”

RMJM said the the inspiration for its design came from the concept of energy in water – the site is located on the city’s main waterway, the River Neva. The five-sided tower twists as it rises.

RMJM’s proposal for the headquarters development also features a unique environmental strategy, which acts as a low-energy “fur coat”. It said the double-layered skin of the tower would allow the maximisation of daylight and the minimisation of heat loss in the extreme St Petersburg environment.

The announcement came on the same day that RMJM opened its first office in Moscow, taking the firm’s total number of offices across the world to 11.

The practice was awarded the 46-storey Moscow City Palace Tower contract earlier this year as well as leisure, residential and commercial projects across Russia.


The Scotsman wrote:RMJM says its Gazprom design 'understands St Petersburg'
RMJM, the Edinburgh firm of architects behind the Scottish Parliament, says its spiralling glass tower design for the massive new Gazprom headquarters "understands St Petersburg", invokes the city's history and is efficient.

Seven of the world's leading architecture firms short-listed for the project, including RMJM, unveiled their designs at an exhibition in St Petersburg last week, ahead of a decision expected on 1 December.

The brief was to design a tower about 300 metres tall for the former state-owned energy company's new headquarters, to be built on the Neva River, opposite the Smolny Cathedral, by 2012.

Tony Kettle, UK managing director for RMJM, said the 75-floor design tapered to a point like one of the historic centre's many spires.

"St Petersburg is the city of spires. Whenever there's a building that's celebrated, it's with a gold object such as a spire ... this [design] touches the sky in the way one of the historical spires may have."

The five-sided glass building is designed to let as much sunlight in as possible, while a "fur coat", a double-skin of glass with an air cavity, is designed to trap heat, improving energy efficiency.

The project has proved controversial in a city centre that is on UNESCO's list of protected monuments.

Other short-listed designers include Daniel Libeskind, who designed New York's Freedom Tower, the replacement for the World Trade Center.

An online poll on Gazprom's website gives RMJM a small lead. While the poll is unofficial, Kettle said he hoped the poll showed that RMJM "understands St Petersburg better than some of the others".


[quote]SHOWS: (CEEF) ST.PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (RECENT) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. PALACE SQUARE
2. ADMIRALTY ARCH
3. EXTERIOR OF ST.PETERSBURG'S ACADEMY OF ARTS
4. EXHIBIT SIGN OUTSIDE ACADEMY BUILDING READING "GAZPROM CITY''

(CEEF) ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (NOVEMBER 21, 2006) (REUTERS - ACCESS
ALL)
5. GAZPROM CITY PROTESTERS INSIDE MAIN ENTRANCE HALL OF ACADEMY OF ARTS
BUILDING/ FIVE PROTESTERS DRESSED UP AS TOWERS OF THE SMOLNY CATHEDRAL NEXT TO
WHICH THE GAZPROM TOWER IS PLANNED TO BE LOCATED - PROTESTERS WEARING GAS
MASKS
6. PROTESTERS DRESSED AS SMOLNY CATHEDRAL WEARING GAS MASKS
7. PROTESTERS HOLDING SIGNS THAT SAY: "DANGER: GAS'' AND "GAS
ATTACK''
8. JOURNALISTS
9. PROTESTERS GATHERED
10. VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS GOING UP THE STAIRS/ WOMAN DRESSED AS RUSSIAN
EMPRESS CATHERINE THE GREAT IN 18TH CENTURY DRESS LEADING THEM
11. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) WOMAN PRETENDING TO BE "GAZPROM CITY"
TOWER SAYING:
"Dear friends, the historical centre of St. Petersburg is very
beautiful. And I hope that you give me a chance to grow up and to also become
beautiful. Please enter dear friends.''
12. WOMAN DRESSED AS CATHERINE THE GREAT ON PLATFORM SHOES ENTERING THE
GAZPROM CITY EXHIBIT
13. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) YULIY RYBAKOV, AUTHOR, A FIGURE IN RUSSIA'S
DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SAYING:
"Our city is being attacked]

I am not so sure that this tower should be built in the centre of this particularly fine histoical city;
PVC King
 

Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:44 pm

Any thoughts?
PVC King
 

Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:01 am

Gazprom Winner is 'Corn on the Cob'
The St. Petersburg Times

A 300-meter-tall twisting glass tower dubbed "the corn on the cob" beat out five international rivals to win the contentious competition to build a new Gazprom headquarters in St. Petersburg. The decision infuriated critics, and a group of St. Petersburg’s cultural luminaries, including Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky, filmmaker Alexander Sokurov, rock musician Yury Shevchuk and writer Daniil Granin threw their weight behind what threatens to become a city-wide campaign against the construction. Yury Sdobnov, vice-president of the Russian Union of Architects has already branded the winning design "blasphemous." The British design has also been dubbed the "Tower of Babylon" by its critics. The head of the Hermitage Museum said the building will blight the city’s landscape. "It is a new economic symbol for St. Petersburg," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told reporters at a ceremony at the company’s current St. Petersburg offices, where he and Governor Valentina Matviyenko announced the winning design by British architect RMJM.

http://www.times.spb.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=19671
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Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:02 am

This one might run and run....
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Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby malec » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:32 am

I really find the design of this scraper quite beautiful. It's elegant and soars nicely but it's just way too tall. No matter how fantastic the design is it's just out of place. I don't want to see this built there but please don't ditch the design, let someone else have it :D

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Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby PVC King » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:57 am

It is not particularly ugly but all buildings must be judged by how they relate to their location.

On those grounds this fails miserably
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Re: Gazprom City Tower To Dominate The Smolny Cathedral

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:40 am

Skyscraper proposal divides St. Petersburg
January 04, 2007
Irina Titova
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia–From the day that its construction began in 1703, St. Petersburg has been an audacious architectural endeavour. But critics say a new project goes too far.

OAO Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly, has announced plans to build a skyscraper outdoing the most lavish visions of Czar Peter the Great, who founded the city on marshy islands as an imperial showcase.

The glass-encased, twisting tower would rise 320 metres, 2.5 times higher than the city's current tallest building.

It would be a massively discordant element on an unusual skyline, critics say. St. Petersburg is comparatively low-rise, with the horizontal skyline punctuated only by a few church and ceremonial spires.

Mikhail Amosov, head of the city council's planning commission, called the planned tower – which critics have derisively likened to a corn cob – "the symbol of the destruction of old St. Petersburg."

Although the foreign investment pouring into Russia has turned Moscow into a sprawling construction site, St. Petersburg has attracted less post-Soviet business. Advocates of the tower say it shows the city is no longer going to be content to take a back seat to Moscow.

St. Petersburg hosted the G-8 summit last July. Some Russian companies have said they plan to move their headquarters to the city, but few appear to have actually done so.

Gazprom has okayed a move to register its oil branch, Gazprom Neft, in St. Petersburg, but its headquarters has not yet been moved there. The tower is to be built on the bank of the Neva River, just across from the Smolny monastery complex, one of the city's most beloved sites. "It won't just be visible, it will tower over Smolny Cathedral," said Mikhail Milchik of the Culture Ministry's preservation division.

Tony Kettle, lead architect for Britain-based RMJM, which won the design competition for the tower, said he believes the design is respectful to the city because the tower echoes St. Petersburg's other spires.

St. Petersburg's residents are just as divided as the officials and architects.

"Will we ever be able to see the Smolny Cathedral from our window again?" said Galina Sviridova, who lives near the site of the proposed tower.

"It's probably a matter of taste, but I personally do not understand why St. Petersburg should remain only a city of monuments," said Ilya Vasilyev.
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