The Lakhta Tower: Landmark as Generator for Polycentric Growth

Tony Kettle
Design Principal
Kettle Collective, Glasgow

Exploring the Role of Towers in an Historical Urban Context: Case Study of the Lakhta Tower, St Petersburg Russia.

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

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 for growth. It’s location allows the creation of a new landmark spire visible from the historic centre, as part of a cultural and leisure district which includes new museums and sports facilities, as well as business centres, offices and residential.

It was topped out in January 2018 and will be complete this year. It is linked via new infrastructure including a new rail link and road improvements to allow easy access to the historic centre. In this location there is increased space and flexibility for associated new development, but there are no plans for further high rise. The Lakhta Tower is seen as a singular high rise landmark, the tallest building in Europe, and it is given space to enjoy its own setting, with only low rise development planned in further phases.