Foster + Partners in Russia

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Commissioned by developer STT Group, Foster + Partners is leading the push to define the urban Russian landscape of the 21st Century.

Most prominent is the Rossiya (Russia) Tower in Moscow with a proposed height of 612 meters (2008 feet). This would make it the tallest skyscraper in Europe. As with many new structures of this stature, it will be a mixed use building consisting of three volumes with offices on the lower floors, the middle occupied by a hotel and residential apartments on the upper levels. The building is the crowning addition to the ambitious Moskva (Moscow) City/Moscow International Business Center development. Construction is anticipated to commence this September.

“Based on a highly efficient geometry derived from the triangular plan, the vertical city is a powerful triumvirate of three ‘arms’ that meet at a central green spine running the full height of the tower. Wider at the base and tapering towards the top, the pyramidal form is elegant and slender in profile, and benefits from a highly efficient composition to achieve the maximum stability with the minimum structure, as well as the most effective distribution of space. The tower is aided in resisting wind loads by a series of sloped fan columns extending diagonally upwards to the spine from the broad, triangular base. Overlaid by columns set at a reverse angle, this unusual oblique lattice carries the building’s load while also giving it its’ distinctive geometric facade.”

The oil rich town of Khanty Mansiysk in Siberia is the locale of Foster + Partners most intriguing design, a crystalline ecological tower rising 280 meters (919 feet) out of “two podium buildings” atop a heavily wooded hill. Like the Rossiya Tower, the 56 story Yugra Tower (shown below) explores the triangular form, with its facets maximized to reflect and refract natural light throughout the complex. “At the summit, a viewing platform and restaurant offer panoramic views over the city.”

The triangular form is again central to “the redevelopment of New Holland Island [that] will create a new cultural quarter in the heart of St. Petersburg. The triangular shaped self-sustaining island provides 7.6 hectares of mixed-use cultural development including an indoor theatre, conference facilities, galleries, hotels, shops and restaurants, with a flexible performance venue incorporating an outdoor arena – the Festival Hall – at its heart.”

Another cultural quarter redevelopment resides in Zaryadye near the Red Square, “overlooking St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin” where the Rossiya Hotel once stood. According to a report in the Moscow Times, Foster + Partners plan has been heavily criticized, a sentiment shared by New York Times critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff and has been sent back to the drawing board.


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