Foster Forges Ahead in Russia, Despite Delays
A delay in the start of construction on Foster & Partners’ Rossiya skyscraper in Moscow this month seems to have barely dented the firm’s far-reaching plans in the rest of Russia. Construction on another major project began moving forward and it has just signed on to design a skyscraper in the Siberian oil boomtown of Khanty Mansiysk.
As reported by RECORD and other news organizations, the ceremonial cornerstone for the Rossiya tower was scheduled to be laid on June 12: Russia Day, a holiday that commemorates the adoption of a sovereignty declaration of the Russian Federation in 1990. At 118 stories, the pyramid-shaped, 1,425-foot-tall tower will be the tallest building in Europe. But the groundbreaking was delayed with little advance notice.
Rossiya’s developer, ST Towers, said that it was still preparing the required technical documentation. A spokesperson for Foster attributed the delay to a scheduling conflict with Moscow’s mayor, which forced the postponement of the event until early September.
Another Foster-designed project has had better luck. A groundbreaking ceremony in St. Petersburg on June 9 inaugurated the redevelopment of New Holland Island, a former military quarter within the city’s historical center that will be converted into a cultural district with offices, shops, and recreational facilities.
And still another Foster project is in the offing. On June 11, Lord Foster himself was among the featured guests at the Russian International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, where an agreement on the construction of the tower in Siberia was signed between Khanty Mansiysk regional governor Alexander Filipenko and Shalva Chigirinsky, chairman of the development firm STT Group, which has already partnered with Foster on three other projects.
Khanty Mansiysk is the booming capital of a sparsely-populated region that accounts for more than a half of Russia’s oil production. After a year of planning and consultations, which initially considered the option of several smaller buildings, the unveiled design features a crystalline 56-story tower, “Yugra,” that will rise atop a heavily wooded, hillside complex.
At the height of 919 feet, the 1.7-million-square-foot structure will be among the tallest in Russia, topped with a restaurant and a viewing platform. The tower and two diamond-shaped buildings at its base will accommodate retail areas, offices, two hotels, entertainment amenities, and residential space. The current timeline calls for construction to begin next year and to proceed in three distinct phases, with the expected completion date in 2012.