Final go-ahead for Gazprom tower
RMJM’s long-proposed Gazprom tower in St Petersburg is now on course to become the highest building in Europe after being given the final go-ahead by the authorities
The decision, announced on Saturday, immediately sparked a huge protest rally in the city, with an estimated 3,000 people gathering to protest against the 403m-high tower and its impact on the skyline.
The tower, officially known as the Okhta Centre, is being developed by gas giant Gazprom and is backed by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.
The extent of public opposition to the skyscraper first emerged in 2007 when the first “march for the preservation of St Petersburg” was held.
The latest rally was addressed by veteran Russian rock singer and critic of the Kremlin, Yuri Shevchuk.
“When a house is on fire, you have to save your nearest and dearest – in this case, to save the great architecture of this city,” Shevchuk told protesters, according to the St Petersburg Times. “This is our nearest and dearest, with whom we live.
“We’re not slaves, not cattle – we shouldn’t sit still and be silent while our masters do whatever they want. It’s our self-esteem that brought us to this square, and it is growing and widening across the country.”
BD reported last month that Russian authorities were reviewing RMJM’s design following a report from Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, which has repeatedly threatened to strip the city of its World Heritage Site status if the tower as originally planned is built.
But Glavgosekspertiza, the body in charge of issuing building permits, is understood to have granted the project the construction permit it required. Now the tower appears only to require a construction permit from City Hall, which has backed the project from the start.
RMJM declined to comment.