Lakhta Tower: Landmark as Generator for Polycentric Growth

Tony Kettle
Design Principal
Kettle Collective, Glasgow

The Gazprom Okhta Tower was proposed in 2006 for a site in the historic city of St Petersburg, Russia. Despite it being a controversial project with UNESCO and some residents, it was supported by the Russian Government and other residents of the city who wanted to see growth and positive investment.

In 2012, Gazprom reviewed the location of the Tower and the design was refined and extended for a site at Lakhta on the edge of the city overlooking the Gulf of Finland. This new location is still part of the city but is far enough from the historic core to avoid controversy and is open enough to offer future opportunities for growth. Its location allows the creation of a new landmark spire visible from the historic center, as part of a cultural and leisure district which includes new museums and sports facilities, as well as business centers, offices and residential space.

It was topped out in January 2018 and will be completed later this year. It is linked via new infrastructure, including a new rail link and road improvements to allow easy access to the historic center. There is increased space and flexibility for associated new development, but there are no plans for further high-rises. The Lakhta Tower is seen as a singular high-rise landmark – among Europe’s tallest – and is given its own space to breathe, with only low-rise development planned in further phases.