As we reported back in 2009, RMJM‘s proposed Okhta Center was the subject of heated debate as residents of St Peterburg’s wanted nothing to do with the tower which was regarded as a “symbol of political ego.” Yet, as Record shared, the tower is set to move ahead after receiving a construction permit from Glavgosekspertiza, the body in charge of issuing building permits. Towering 403 meters into the skyline, the building will become the highest in Europe and as we’ve seen with Nouvel’s proposal for 53rd Street, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s 15 Penn Plaza and Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower, adding a big change to the skyline sparks big controversy. In St. Petersburg, approximately 3,000 people gathered to protest the project which is being developed by gas giant Gazprom and is backed by Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. In addition to strong public opposition, BD reported 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. The tower still needs a construction permit from City Hall, which, as Record reported, has backed the project from the start.
More images after the break.