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Tallest Skyscraper in Europe Constructed with Aluminum Façade

Lakhta Center© by Lakhta Center

The Lakhta Center in St Petersburg, Russia, includes a 462 m tower with an aluminum façade — making it the tallest skyscraper in Europe and the 13th tallest building in the world.

The tower is composed of a cluster of five individual tower forms, each of which twists and tapers as it rises, resulting in the tower as a whole twisting 90 degrees from base to tip.  It is constructed witha central core that distributes horizontal loads to perimeter composite columns in order to enable the building to resist high winds that can be up to 140 km per hour at a height of 400 m. “The tower was designed as a simple organic spire with asymmetrical movement in its skin, to be seen as a singular landmark at city scale,” Tony Kettle, the tower’s designer from architectural firm RMJM.

Rendering illustrating how five individual tower forms twist and taper around each other to form the tower.
Rendering illustrating how five individual tower forms twist and taper around each other to form the tower. (Source: Lakhta Center.)

The building envelop of the tower is clad with an aluminum and glass façade made by Josef Gartner GmbH in Gundelfingen, Bavaria. The project was complex, since the tower twists as it rises upwards, requiring the 100,000 sq m aluminium and glass façade to also be twisted by 0.8 degrees. The glass supplied by Trosifoil was cold-formed, which provides a cost-efficient method for producing in a variety of different weights (up to 700 kg) and geometric shapes with smooth transitions. Instead of being prefabricated façade units, the glass panels were pressed onto the curved aluminum frame from the outside of the building structure, requiring the support of skilled alpinists to be suspended from the building by rope.

The Lakhta Center is considered to be a mixed-use complex. In addition to office space, it feature a 360 m high observation deck and a restaurant with panoramic views. The remainder of the complex includes a scientific and educational center, a planetarium, a concert hall, an amphitheater, and a number of public squares.

As of 2019, the main construction and installation works for the Lakhta Center have been completed,  and preparation for the commissioning of the complex is in progress.

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