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RMJM's St Petersburg tower receives boost from UNESCO

RMJM's 394m-tall Okhta Tower in St Petersburg has received a significant boost after an informal meeting with the director of UNESCO.

According to RMJM, UNESCO director Francesco Bandarin believes that the visual-impact presentation given by the Scottish practice ‘removed many of the myths’ around the project.

Tony Kettle, director of design at RMJM, told the AJ: ‘We had an informal meeting with Francesco and he said the visual impact speaks for itself. He also added that he was impressed with the architecture, design and technology of the building.’

The £300 million scheme, designed for oil-and-gas giant Gazprom, has sparked huge controversy in Russia with UNESCO threatening to remove St Petersburg’s World Heritage status. The threat resulted in protesters taking to the streets against the scheme.

Kettle believes the fears are misplaced, and that Bandarin's evaluation should allay many of the concerns raised by local heritage groups.

He said: ‘The tower will regenerate a 77ha brownfield site. It will create a landmark that will be the spark for further development.

‘It will replace green spaces taken away when a new six-lane highway was built. It will also provide a public viewing gallery at the top, a public library, sports facilities, a swimming pool and even exhibition spaces.’

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