Gazprom Tower 'will be moved'

City government confirms RMJM tower will be built elsewhere

The controversial proposed Gazprom Tower may be seeking a new site.
The controversial proposed Gazprom Tower may be seeking a new site.

A planned 1,299-foot tower in the centre of St Petersburg will be relocated after a four year campaign by residents, architects, government figures and international organisations.

The steel and glass tower, commissioned by the state energy company Gazprom and designed by RMJM, will be built away from the city’s historic centre after international architects and the United Nations waded into the furore, with the latter threatening to strike the Russian city from its list of World Heritage sites.

The city’s governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was quoted in the New York Times saying that residents of the area, which includes the landmark Smolny Cathedral, had failed to reach a consensus.

“We have followed the discussion attentively and evaluated all the pros and cons, but one cannot debate forever,” she said.

Meanwhile, Igor Metelsky, deputy governor, told RIA Novosti: "We have asked builders to present other variants for [the location of] the proposed building. I think we will enter an active stage in considering the bids before the end of the year,” he said. “I can tell you that we are already looking into two projects.”

The plan by the architectural firm RMJM London had been contentious since its unveiling in 2006. It envisioned a twirling tower, evocative of a flickering gas flame, that would have risen far above a skyline broken now mostly by church spires.

The concession has been greeted with surprise by many involved in the campaign, especially after Russian president and St Petersburg native Vladimir Putin expressed support for the futuristic tower.

But legal opposition by the country’s culture minister, who invoked the city’s zoning and preservation laws, as well as international opposition seems to have won out in the end.

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