The Lakhta Tower: How Nature has Influenced the Future of St. Petersburg as a Sustainable City

Ian Briggs
Director
Plus Architecture, Melbourne

Jaimin Atkins
Director
Plus Architecture, Christchurch



The Lakhta Tower, Europe’s tallest building, was inspired by the concept of energy in water and its transformation to ice. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just transforms from one form to another. My fascination with nature and the underlying numbering systems, DNA and formulas behind the creation of the most beautiful natural forms has directly inspired the Lakha Tower form and led to a unique response to sustainable design that has reduced running costs by 40 percent.

It is widely known that Leonardo da Vinci studied birds in his quest to design a flying machine that inspired the Wright Brothers. For me it is the nature and structure of plants which will hopefully lead to other innovations. I had been experimenting with twisting forms due to their asymmetrical and organic nature. For this project I was looking for a form that would capture the spirit of flowing water to create a contemporary building form imbued with movement. I created five individually twisting towers that taper and come together to create a single organic spire. The separate twisting forms of the individual towers become one, wrapped in a "fur coat" providing insulation whilst responding to the culture and context of the city. This unique form allows daylight to penetrate, reducing running costs and improving the quality of space.

Elements from nature can be broken down to provide us with the very formulas that can influence the design of the buildings of tomorrow with lessons learnt from the Lakhta project.

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