Once constructed, Okhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia will be the tallest building in Europe, and one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the word. The twisting tower, designed architecture firm RMJM, will primarily serve as the headquarters for Gazprom’s oil unit OAO Gazprom Neft, with additional spaces dedicated to a concert hall, museum, hotel and business center.
At 77-stories tall, the tower’s eco-conscious features include double glass skin to provide natural ventilation, interior lighting and thermal insulation for merciless sub-zero Russian winters, and a specialized water system that reduces the energy needs of the building. Numerous social spaces and green zones have also been set up for the comfort and leisure of visitors.
While supporters of the project say it will help the city thrive, critics fear it will alter St. Petersburg's character, which to this day exhibits the low rise profile and ambiance of a 19th century city. Among the project's critics is David Sarkisyan, Director of the Moscow Museum of Architecture. “This is a monstrous, barbaric decision,” he said, “This tower is a symbol of political ego and people will always resent it."