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Sustainable buildings in Europe will have a new height to scale with the creation of the Gazprom Tower, officially known as the Okhta Tower. The plan has recently been given the green signal to begin construction; it will be designed by UK-based architectural firm RMJM. Upon completion, this building will be the tallest in Europe and one among the world’s most energy-efficient.

St. Petersburg in Russia will be the home to Okhta Tower, which through its 77 storeys will cross 400 metres in height. This tower will primarily serve as headquarters to Gazprom’s oil unit, OAO Gazprom Neft, and will also be home to a concert hall, a museum, a hotel and a business centre. In the name of sustainability, this tower will incorporate multiple elements for energy-efficiency during construction.

Glass Skin

The building will be insulated by an exoskeleton, dubbed as a low-energy ‘fur coat’, and will consist of two layers of glazed glass ‘skin’ with an atrium between the inner and outer walls. This buffer zone will supply the building with natural ventilation, sunlight for interior lighting and at the same time will act as a thermal insulation by keeping the structure warm during fierce minus 30 degrees Russian winters. Trees and plants will be sandwiched between the double glass walls, which will be responsible for providing warmth in winter and lower temperatures in summer.

The outer wall will comprise of temperature-colour-changing glass panels. This tower will change colour up to 10 times a day depending on the position of the sun, and creating a dazzling scene of a 300m-tall twisting glass tower across 75 floors.

Inspired by the pentagonal plan of an ancient Scandinavian fort believed to have once occupied the site, the tower consists of a central concrete core ringed by five square interlocking floorplates. The floorplates spin on their axes as they ascend, giving the building its twisted effect. A ‘cog mechanism’ – whereby the five floorplates interlock – ensures the tower’s stability.

Sustainability

The pentagram design of the tower maximises access to daylight and allows for spectacular views for the offices without losing heat due to exposed surface area in comparison to other structures.

Specialized water, heating and ventilation systems have also been incorporated to reduce the energy consumption levels of the building. There will be a public viewing gallery on the 70th floor.

The office floor plans will also feature a large number of social spaces and green zones that will let the workers to access leisure areas without wasting energy by using elevators for vertical transportation.

The cost of construction is estimated at to $2.4bn. This cost will be borne jointly by Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Neft ($1.4 billion) and the St Petersburg City Administration ($1 billion).

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