Gallery: RUSSIA TOWER – World’s largest naturally ventilated building


What is going on with all these gigantic spiky eco towers popping up all over Russia and the former Soviet Union? First it was the piercing Siberian eco-tower in Mansyisk, then the sharp and very aggressive looking ‘Peace’ Center in Astana, Kazakstan, then the enormous volcanic Crystal Island spire in Moscow, and just this week, this new sharp green tower going up in St. Petersburg. Seriously, what gives? Iconic British architect Norman Foster is responsible for 4 out of 5 of these pointy eco towers, so clearly the man has a thing for building sharp, angular ‘environmental’ towers in the former Soviet Union. But is there a connection in terms of the geography and clients as well? Is it something in air?

Whatever the case, we are excited to discover YET ANOTHER enormous pointy Foster-designed eco tower going up in Moscow, Russia: the Russia Tower. When this colossal tower is completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in Europe at 2,009 ft tall (612.2 meters), and one of the tallest in the world, just behind Taipei 101 and Burj Dubai. As if that distinction were not enough, the Russia Tower will also be the largest building in the world with a natural ventilation system.

Considering the impending onslaught of spiky Russian green skyscrapers, we think the natural ventilation system is certainly one of the most interesting elements of the Russia Tower design. The mixed-use project – incorporating apartments, hotel, office and leisure space – will utilize an ‘energy cycle’ system to regulate energy, temperature and hot water throughout the building. There will also be a series of green indoor gardens running up through the core of the building, to assist with natural ventilation, improving indoor air quality, and provide recreational green space for the building’s inhabitants. Foster + Partners’ pyramid shape for the building also maximizes exposure to natural daylight, which will allow the tower to cut back on both electric light and heat during the day. If all goes according to plan, Russia Tower will pioneer sustainable architecture in the realm of super skyscrapers, and will reinforce the economic and social vitality of Moscow. Construction began in September 2007 and the building will be complete by 2012.

+ Russia Tower

+ Russia Tower Wiki
+ Foster + Partners website


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  7. Marianna March 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Huon, you read my mind! I took one look at this thing and thought about the Ryugyong hotel. That thing in Pyongyang is just freaking frightening. And so is this one…I guess there’s something about harsh, triangle shaped buildings. *shudder*

  8. xilangan February 28, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    a christmas tree huh…yawn. too boring.

  9. Huon February 28, 2008 at 4:52 am

    This has a remarkable similarity to the world most ugly building, the Ryugyong hotel.
    Check it out.

    Here is the link:

    Just copy paste it into your browser if the hyperlink doesn’t work.

  10. Marc Joseph February 27, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    These designs of really tall buildings with wide bases are kind of scary from an aesthetic standpoint. It reminds me of the abandoned PyongYang hotel and I have a feeling that these simplistic yet oddly scaled structures will be eyesores on the European Skylines. I think that Russia is adopting this typology of building to keep with their tradition of iconic, almost ominous looking, structures (see Palace of the Soviets).

    The dilemma I see here is this: To design taller buildings, the bases need to have a certain mass to anchor the structure. Yet is the pursuit of height worth this ugly bloated prerequisite?

  11. Brendan Crain February 27, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    NormFo is out of control with these megaprojects…

  12. Andrew February 27, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Isn’t the height of Taipei 101 to the spire around 508 – 509.2m? The article seems to imply that both Taipei 101 is taller which is not the case. Just thought I’d mention it. :)

  13. k-s February 27, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Upon reaching its final height of 612.2 m (2,009 ft), it will be the tallest building in Europe and the second tallest in the world, after the Burj Dubai, which is scheduled to open in 2009 at an estimated height of 818 m (2,684 ft).

    Taipei 101: Spire — 509.2 m (1,670.60 ft)
    Russia Tower : 612.2 m (2,009 ft)

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