Lakhta Center – a large scale project of the construction of a modern business area in the north-west of Saint Petersburg. Opening in 2018.
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We Remember Cities by their Skyscrapers

RBC

22.08.2017

Ahmad Abdelrazak

Vice president Samsung C&T

For over a hundred year skyscrapers have been perceived as a symbol of power to capture the human imagination because of their scale, and their symbolic nature to show the financial wellbeing, the technologies, and the potential for iconic representation of cities.

Prior to the 1900, most of skyscrapers are made out of stone and used as symbol of power to reaching the heavens and they are no meant to be used for economic advantages.

 


Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Moscow (Photo: Nikolay Galkin / ТАСС)

Portrait of Stone

We remember cities by their skyscrapers. Examples of Chicago, where the basic principal of highrise construction began, where the Chicago School of Architecture utilized new materials and construction technologies for skyscraper construction, thus new theories of Tall Buildings design were developed. And New York City suggest that the image of a financial capital in the public consciousness is largely shaped by the architectural appearance of the city.


Chicago, 1890 (Photo: The Granger Collection / ТАСС)

Subsequently, new cities began to appear on the world map of skyscrapers – Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur. and Shanghai, which is expected to become the new financial Hub of China and Asia as per its visionaries.


New York, 1920 (Photo: ТАСС)

Supertall building has been historically known to use the latest and most advanced design and construction technologies.  After the Industrial revolution, new materials had been introduced such as cast iron and steel was used instead stone/masonry construction, elevator, light façade, fireproofing, new foundation systems, and new structural and architectural theories, building codes, etc. 


Moscow, 1950 (Photo: Vasily Egorov / ТАСС)

After world war II, some of the most sophisticated technologies used was brought into civil use such as new steel, welding, bolting, new structural system, modular construction, lighter and faster construction.  This has ensured the continuous development of new technologies and their implementation in complex architectural projects.  The skyscraper design was driven by the most advanced technologies that led into the most economical and sustainable design that is mostly industry driven. 


 Hong Kong, 1967 (Фото: Uriy Muravin / ТАСС)

Today, the technologies are moving at much faster pace than the construction technology can utilize, thus needing more reflection on the planning of cities that are smart, sustainable, and that can stand for the test of time. We must learn from the past lessons and us those as lunching ground into the development into new cities.


Singapore, 1991 (Photo: Dmirty Toleorov / ТАСС)

The latter circumstance is extremely important, since in modern large cities rationality has become a mandatory requirement for architectural projects. Singapore and Hong Kong, for example, are some of the most rational cities in terms of planning, sustainability, efficient infrastructure, energy use, and have become some of the most smart cities in the world. The requirements for architecture design and planning requirements utilize the best practices of the American megacities and in fact, western architects that have the freedom to use the most advanced design. We can no longer afford to continuously horizontally expand cities as they can become unsustainable, difficult to manage, and impose huge demand on the infra structure.  New cities and buildings must be planned where we can live, play, and work within a short walk to enjoy life.


Shanghai (Photo: Shen Chunchen / Global Look Press via ZUMA Press)

Enhanced Feature

It is significant that in new circumstances high-rise buildings acquire a wider functionality than it was at the dawn of the construction of skyscrapers. A good example is the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai which our company built in 2010.  The project was implemented in desert conditions, and its idea was to create a building and development that would include residencies, offices, a shopping centre, and cultural venues, entertainment facilities, etc.


Burj Khalifa (Photo: CHROMORANGE / Walter G. Allgöwer / Global Look Press)

The Burj Khalifa is 162 story tower and we needed to build the tower at the shortest possible time.  Therefore, we mechanized the entire construction process by separating the vertical element construction from the horizontal floor construction that allows and by using Auto Climbing formwork systems, and prefabrication of reinforcing steel, which enabled us to reduce the amount of labour needed to go up and down the tower during construction. In addition, we utilized heaving equipment and machinery that allowed us to lift material and transport resources to the highest level, including pumping concrete to new record of 600 meters. We also introduced the most advanced structural health monitoring program, where we were able to monitor the building behavior in real time basis during construction and subsequently utilized as part of permanent building management system.


Burj Khalifa (Photo: Xinhua / ZUMAPRESS.com / Global Look Press)

The Structural Health monitoring program was the biggest mega research project adopted in skyscraper at the time.  The implantation of this system allowed to understand the behavior of the building during construction and to eliminate any potential risk for the project.


Burj Khalifa (Photo: Artur Widak / ZUMAPRESS.com / Global Look Press)

Create a Different City

Many of the technologies used in the design and construction of the Burj Khalifa and other iconic structure around the world, we are now using at the designa dn construction planning of the Lakhta Center in St Petersburg. 

 


Lakhta Center  (Photo: Pert Kovalev / ТАСС)

An important feature of Lakhta Center is that the property is located 9 kilometres from the city centre, which can be used as a catalyst to create a city that can rival Singpore, Hong Kong, that can be smart, a city of smart, a city of light, and a city that can function and operate in the most efficient ways.  The Lakhta Center can be used as a functional and futuristic city, that can become a museum for highrise building construction and center hub of construction technology.  This vision was developed for example in Yongsan landmark in Seoul and it is continuously be developed in Singapore and other future cities.

 


Lakhta Center (Photo: Sergey Nokolaev / ТАСС)

I would also note another function of modern skyscrapers.

Today, the Burj Khalifa has become a landmark not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world, as you can see. The City of St Petersburg has the opportunity to use Lakhta Center, in my opinion, create an iconic city that can complement the historical part of the city and make it contextual, but can rival Singapore and other advanced cities. I love St Petersburg and my vision of the city is to create a new architectural hub and cultural center that is amazing and stunning.  We have the opportunity; I hope that the city planners can get it done.  Attract the best!!

 

 




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