Russian Lakhta Center Named Skyscraper of the Year

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Robison Wells
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Emporis has revealed the winner of its annual Skyscraper Award, which recognizes the best in design, construction and innovation in structures worldwide. This year, honoring skyscrapers completed in 2019, the company has named the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, chosen from more than 700 buildings submitted to the competition.

The Lakhta Center, at 462 meters (1516 ft) tall, is the tallest skyscraper in Europe and the 13th tallest in the world. The construction of the building took the efforts of more than 20,000 people from 18 countries. However, the building isn’t primarily recognized for its size but for the unique shape—the center is in the form of a spire with five wings twisting from bottom to top.

“When choosing the Lakhta Center as its favorite, the jury was impressed by the skyscraper’s unusual form,” said Emporis in their award announcement. “The exterior structure of the building consists of five wings that rotate almost 90 degrees. The twist creates a dynamic impression, giving the building the shape of a blazing flame, which resembles Gazprom’s logo. This natural gas producer has taken up its new headquarters inside the building.”

Though most of the building will be office space, there is also an observation deck and a restaurant that offer panoramic views of the city.

St. Petersburg has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. That committee opposed the building’s construction because it would disrupt the historic skyline of the city. That opposition did not stop the project.

The jury also picked the building for its environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies. Because St. Petersburg is so far north, the Lakhta Center will experience freezing temperatures, and the double-skin façade prevents unnecessary heat loss. It also uses innovative infrared radiators which recirculate heat back into the building.

The second-place winner for the Skyscraper Award was Leeza Soho, an office building in Beijing, China, which is significant as it is two towers separated by a massive atrium, connected with a series of sky bridges. It is 207 meters (679 ft). Third place went to New York City’s 35 Hudson Yards, part of the vast Hudson Yards project. It stands at 307 meters (1010 ft).

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