St. Petersburg Skyscaper Criticized

The director of St Petersburg's renowned Hermitage museum has spoken out against plans to build a 300-metre high skyscraper in the heart of Russia's former imperial capital. In an interview with the Guardian, Mikhail Piotrovsky said the tower would ruin the city's historical profile and prestige.

An exhibition of short-listed concept designs for the so-called Gazprom City development, opened in St Petersburg this week. The plans by Russia's biggest energy company to build a tower opposite the 18th century Smolny cathedral on the Neva river have incensed local preservationists. Mr Piotrovsky said: "Some of the designs show genius, but putting it opposite Smolny would deform the historic skyline of the city and look like a challenge."

The development, a multistory business centre, is part of a wider plan by Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, to boost his home city's prestige. St Petersburg is characterized through its historic architectural designs, churches and waterways and it has been argued that the rise of modern skyscrapers would appear incongruous amidst the citys beautiful neo-classical facades.


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