At 77 stories, Saint Petersburg's Okhta Tower will be the tallest building in Europe, and will boast sustainable features for heating, lighting, and ventilation. But Saint Petersburg residents aren't exactly pleased about the tower's construction.

Arichtectural firm RMJM has designed Okhta Tower and just got the go-ahead to begin construction. The building will serve as headquarters for a division of Russian natural gas company Gazrpom, and will also have spaces for a concert hall, a hotel, a museum, and a business center. Sustainable design was key to the concept for Okhta, with double glass walls that allow atria to provide natural ventilation, enable sunlight effectively to light the interior, and provide thermal insulation in the face of the northern chill.

Still, residents and even the international community aren't thrilled about the new architectural division. Okhta Tower, they argue, will be inconsistent with the mostly low-rise buildings that are a hallmark of Saint Petersburg. And at 400 meters, the tower would greatly overshadow the spire of the famed St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Even the UN signals disapproval, as Saint Petersburg could be stripped of its title as a UNESCO world heritage site.

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[Inhabitat]

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