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Skyscraper Lakhta St. Petersburg

Emporis Skyscraper Awards Announces the Winner

The winners of this year’s Emporis Skyscraper Award are finally official. Fascinating projects from all over the world have been nominated, but only a few outstanding skyscrapers from e.g. St. Petersburg, Melbourne, and Singapore made the Top Ten of the sought-after architecture prize.

The Emporis Skyscraper Award goes to a project in Russia for the very first time in its 20-year history. The 462-meter-high Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, designed by GORPROJECT and RMJM, is not only the tallest building in Russia, but is the tallest building in Europe and the fourteenth tallest building in the world. 

The winner was chosen by an international jury of experts from over 700 skyscrapers completed in 2019 with a minimum height of 100 meters. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the prestigious Skyscraper Award by Emporis, a global provider of building data,  has become an indispensable part of the international architecture scene since its introduction in 2000.

When choosing the Lakhta Center as its favorite, the jury was impressed by the skyscraper’s unusual form. The exterior structure of the building consists of five wings that rotate almost 90 degrees. The twist creates a dynamic impression, giving the building the shape of a blazing flame, which resembles the logo of Gazprom, the natural gas producer that has taken up its new headquarters inside the building. The skyscraper was also able to score points with the jury due to its use of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies. As the northernmost supertall skyscraper in the world, the building is exposed to extreme temperatures. A double skin façade prevents unnecessary heat loss and makes it extraordinarily energy efficient. In addition, thanks to the innovative use of infrared radiators, excess heat is not lost but fed back into the system.

Voted into second place, was the Leeza SOHO in Beijing. The unique office building with its round shape and twisted inner core was one of the last projects by star architect Zaha Hadid before her death in 2016. Especially striking to the jury was the atrium of the tower, which runs through the entire building from top to bottom and elegantly divides it into two halves. With a height of 194 meters it is also the highest atrium in the world. The continuous glazing of the atrium ensures that the building is flooded with light and allows an exceptional view into the building as well as to the busy streets of Beijing.

In third place is 35 Hudson Yards in New York. The skyscraper is located in Manhattan and is part of a major Hudson Yard construction project bound to reshape the west side of Manhattan. 35 Hudson Yards is the tallest residential building of the Hudson Yards project and includes 143 apartments and a luxury hotel that extends over 11 floors. The 72-story building stood out to the jury particularly due to the use and mix of special building materials. The façade is made of Bavarian limestone and glass, adding to its unique appearance with several setbacks over its full height of 316 meters.

This year’s results show again that Europe is quite capable of keeping up with the competition from Asia and North America. After already claiming 2nd and 3rd place in the previous year, this year a European skyscraper was finally able to win the sought-after award again, the first time since 2013.

Iuliia Tore