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A U.K. architectural firm, has secured a major commission in Russia. The firm was chosen to design a mixed-use tower in Moscow that is slated to become Europe’s tallest skyscraper. It will surpass the Federation Towers, currently under construction in Moscow, whose height reaches 432 meters (1,425 feet).

The selection was announced last week by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The announcement completes a lengthy process to choose the form of the building that will become the centerpiece of Moscow City, the Russian capital’s budding business district. The city’s public advisory council will consider the project in April, but seems unlikely to provide serious opposition.

Foster, who is working for Shalva Chigirinsky, the same developer who partnered with him in St. Petersburg, presented three alternative designs for what is to be known as the Rossiya (Russia) Tower. The mayor chose a high-rise that will reach almost 600 meters (2,000 feet) high. website reported that the tower’s slender volume will narrow toward the top, consisting of a tripartite structure joined around a spine. Its 118 floors will enclose a total area of over 5.5 million square feet. An observation deck will be positioned at the top, while the uppermost floors will be designated for residential and hotel use. The lower floors will be used for office and retail space. The tower will be equipped with a system of natural ventilation, harnessing rainwater and snow while maximizing environmental recycling. The grounds will also contain a public ice rink and underground parking.

According to Chigirinsky, the project’s estimated cost is $1.5 billion, with a planned completion date in 2010-2011. At the end of 2004, the developer and his company won the bid to redevelop the site of the Rossiya Hotel in the immediate vicinity of Red Square, a mammoth structure that is presently being dismantled. Reportedly, he has engaged Norman Foster to be the lead designer of that project as well.
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