Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Building Tours Accompanying ‘Moscow Gaining Height’ Conference

Moscow Building Tours

By Antony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director

Click here to read a full report of the conference
Click here to view the picture gallery from the various building tours

From the 22-24 of October, 2008, the Lobby Agency and TSNIIEP organized the 'Moscow Gaining Height' conference, with the CTBUH as an international conference partner. Following five sessions of knowledgeable speaker presentations, the remaining day and a half of the conference was devoted to technical tours, aimed at giving delegates first-hand experience of some of the seminal projects built and under construction in Moscow. The Thursday afternoon featured the ‘Moscow City’ urban-scale project and the Federation Towers in particular. Delegates were treated to a presentation in the Federation Towers by Mr. Ara Aramyan, Vice-President of the developer the Mirax Group, and were then guided to the top of the completed lower tower of the twin complex, getting good views of the taller tower under construction (approximately 75% complete) and views out over the city of Moscow. The grandeur of the completed tower’s lobby areas and high-level restaurant were particularly amazing.

The final day of the conference started with a visit to the headquarters of TSNIIEP, who had been instrumental in supporting the conference. TSNIIEP are basically an architectural design and engineering research institute who work closely with the government on developing codes for high-rise buildings, and have worked with numerous developers to deliver a number of high-rise projects throughout the city. They were especially instrumental in designing and developing the first high-rise buildings in the city after the 40-year hiatus following the first Stalinist skyscrapers, which were completed in the 1950’s. Head of TSNIIEP Mr. Stanislav Nikolaev received the visiting party and, together with colleagues, discussed the work of his institute.


Ara Aramyan        Federation Tower            TSNIIEP Visit
Presentation in the Federation Towers by Ara Aramyan, Vice-President Mirax Group   Federation Towers, view looking up   Presentation by Stanislav Nikolaev (Director of TSNIIEP) and Valery Ostretsov (Head of Architecture, TSNIIEP)

In the afternoon delegates had a choice of technical tours, including the seminal Moscow State University Tower, completed in 1953 and standing 240 meters tall with 36 stories. The tallest of the seven towers built during the Stalin era in Moscow, the building was for a while the tallest building outside New York, and the tallest building in Europe till 1988, and it still stands proud as a truly massive complex buzzing with students and academics. Delegates were able to journey to the top of the tower, with great views out over Moscow, and also to see some of the original interiors, including the wooden-seated classrooms and lecture theatres.

Other delegates elected to visit the Triumph Palace Tower which, at 264 meters and 57 stories, is the tallest residential building in Europe. The building is often termed ‘the 8th tower’ as it is built in a similar style to the 7 previous Stalin-era skyscrapers, though it was clear to visiting delegates that the attention to detail and finishing was far inferior to these original skyscrapers. Still, delegates were treated to a thorough tour of the building, including the roof viewing platforms with fantastic views out over Moscow.


Moscow State University         Triumph Palace Rooftop - Georges Binder & Antony Wood
Moscow State University
  Georges Binder and Antony Wood at the Triumph Palace Tower rooftop viewing platform

The conference drew to a close following Friday's technical tours, and all delegates agreed it had been an informative and inspiring three days. The mixture of presentations and technical tours, overseas and local speakers across numerous disciplines, and the somewhat close gathering of 120 or so delegates had given the event a uniqueness and opportunity for networking which is sometimes missing at larger events, and from which all delegates had benefitted. Like many cities around the world, it is clear that Moscow and other parts of Russia are enthusiastically embracing tall buildings as an urban solution. And although the country’s immediate future in light of the current global economic slowdown is unclear, conference attendees witnessed convincing evidence that the thirst for knowledge and information-sharing between Russian-based and overseas colleagues is indeed strong. Hopefully what has started here with the information shared and contacts made at the ‘Moscow Gaining Height’ conference will continue long into the future and ultimately result in better, safer and more sustainable tall buildings worldwide.



Picture Gallery
Click an image below to enlarge. Photos courtesy of Antony Wood, Victoria Safontseva and Maxim Burov.


Technical Tour - Federation Towers
                 
 Presentation at the Federation Tower    Presentation by Ara Aramyan, Vice President of Mirax Group    Federation Tower - View Looking Up    Federation Tower - Lobby    Federation Tower - Tunnel to Control Room
Presentation by Ara Aramyan, Mirax Group   Presentation by Ara Aramyan, Mirax Group   View looking up
Tower lobby
  Tunnel to building control center
                 
Federation Tower - Typical Floor   Federation Tower - Looking Down on the Lift Core   Federation Tower - View   Federation Tower - High Level Restaurant    
Typical floor
  Looking down on tower lift core   View across Moscow
  High-level restaurant
   

Technical Tour - Capital City Towers
                 
Capital City Towers   Capital City Towers   Capital City Towers        
Capital City Towers   View looking up   View looking up        

Tour - TSNIIEP headquarters
                 
Delegates at TSNIIEP Headquarters   Valery Ostretsov   Elizabeth Belenchia, Stanislav Nikolaev and Antony Wood   Delegates enjoy a toast    
Presentation by Stanislav Nikolaev (Director of TSNIIEP) and Valery Ostretsov (Head of Architecture, TSNIIEP)   Valery Ostretsov (Head of Architecture, TSNIIEP)


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  Elizabeth Belenchia (FIABCI), Stanislav Nikolaev (TSNIIEP) and Antony Wood (CTBUH)

  Delegates enjoy a toast


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Technical Tour - Moscow State University
                 
Moscow State University   Moscow State University   Moscow State University Lobby   Moscow State University Lecture Theatre   Moscow State University Stalin Bust
Moscow State University   View looking up

  Lobby

  Lecture Theatre

 

Technical Tour - Triumph Palace Tower
                 
Triumph Palace Tower   Triumph Palace Tower - Looking up   Triumph Palace Tower - Rooftop Terrace   Triumph Palace Tower - View   Triumph Palace Tower - Binder and Wood
Triumph Palace Tower
  View looking up
  Rooftop terrace
  View across Moscow

  Georges Binder and Antony Wood on the rooftop terrace

Cultural Tour - Kremlin
                 
Kremlin   Kremlin_Great Kremlin Palace   Kremlin Ivan the Great Bell Tower   Kremlin Guards   Kremlin at Night
Kremlin
  Great Kremlin
Palace
  Ivan the Great Bell Tower   Kremlin guards
  Kremlin at night

Cultural Tour - Red Square & St Basil's Cathedral
                 
Red Square     St Basil's Cathedral   St Basil's Cathedral    Red Square by night    St Basil's Cathedral by night
Red Square   St Basil's Cathedral
  St Basil's Cathedral
  Red Square by night
  St Basil's Cathedral by night

Cultural Tour - Stalinist Towers
                 
Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building
Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building