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Controversial Gazprom tower gets green light

Oil giant Gazprom has edged closer to winning approval from the city of St Petersburg to build its 394m-tall RMJM-designed tower

Yesterday (22 September) the local authorities agreed to waive a city-wide building restriction which prohibited the construction of structures over 100m-tall.

The building, known as the Okhta Center, may become the tallest in Europe and is expected to house the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, a Gazprom subsidiary.

The project has faced severe criticism from local residents. In September, protesters clashed with police and Gazprom security guards during a public hearing over the plans, and in January last year ‘two activists’ were arrested after 300 protesters started a rally on the site earmarked for the tower.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ heritage body UNESCO has threatened to remove the city from the world heritage list if the project goes ahead.

Readers' comments (4)

  • A terrible decision. All involved in this project should be ashamed, in particular RMJM's Tony Kettle, who has been helping to have this restriction waived in order that his ghastly tower can be built.

    Removal of a World Heritage Site from the list demeans us all; some places in the world are so special they belong to us all, and should be protected by all nations for all of humanity.

    RMJM has sold out for profit. The Outstanding Universal Value of Petersburg will be lost to us all.

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  • “This is a monstrous, barbaric decision,” David Sarkisyan, director of the Moscow Museum of Architecture told Bloomberg News. “This tower is a symbol of political ego and people will always resent it.”


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  • The best architecture is often a symbol of someone's ego, commonly built with disregard for the little people. Plus ca change...

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  • St Petersburg is currenty allowing destruction of its architectural heritage. The removal of World Heritage Site status will be a blow for all who once loved the city.

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