Situated only a few kilometres from the Kremlin and in the middle of the Moscow City agglomeration of skyscrapers, Federation Tower is, at almost 347 metres high, one of the highest building in Europe. Designed by architects Peter Schweger (SAA Schweger Architekten) and Sergei Tchoban (nps tchoban voss GmbH& Co. KG), this two-tower complex took first place in an international competition, defeating projects by other outstanding architects. Construction began only after a lengthy phase of design adjustments and approvals. The smaller of the two towers (Tower West) was completed in 2008; the taller tower (Tower East) is approaching completion, which is scheduled for 2016.
The Moscow City business district is one of the largest and most ambitious projects in the Russian capital. Approximately 15 skyscrapers are springing up in an area of about 100 hectares on Presnenskaya and Krasnopresenskaya embankments. A total of 60 hectares are to be built upon, and more than 2.5 million square metres of offices, apartments, commercial, and leisure space will go up in the coming years in this new district on the bank of the River Moskva. Conceptually, the goal is a unified and integrated information space, the newest telecommunications systems, energy-efficient technologies, independent electrical and heating systems, a modern transport infrastructure, and an active, diverse, and multifunctional use of space. Since 2006 a new underground line has linked Moscow City with the Moscow metro system, and a new high-speed overhead railway line will connect the district with two international airports.
Development of this brownfield site, which is situated in the city centre and is bounded by the River Moskva and by important main roads, began in the early 1970s. At that time, the International Trade Centre – later, the Expocentre Fairgrounds – was located here. The area’s importance grew with the construction of the Third Ring Road. The beginning of the 1990s brought the first plans for the creation of a business district as a ‘city within a city‘; the prototypes for this were London Docklands and the Quartier La Défense in Paris. The planning and development of Moscow City is largely free of historical stylization or traditionalism.
Design work on Federation Tower was a complex and slow process. As a new landmark for Moscow, the building needed to have a very plastic, expressive, and at the same time clear silhouette which would be equally interesting from various viewing points.
A six-storey rectangular block with a number of slits serves as the building’s base. The gap between the podium and the towers is emphasized by a four-storey waist; from this the two towers rise in the form of two curved, equilateral triangles which taper as their height increases. The storeys above the podium have an outline shaped like a diagonal lens and are set back from the two towers in order to distinguish them from the base formed by the podium. Thanks to the solid plinth, which is clad with printed and curved glass, the dynamic composition of the two towers (242.4 and 373.7 metres high) achieves an optical balance. At the pedestrian level the plinth imparts a human scale to the urban context. The heights of the towers relate to one another in a ratio of 3:2. Both towers are reinforced with a triangular core.
As part of a unified design code for the Federation Tower complex, Sergei Tchoban has created various elements based on the geometry of the building; these include a selection of door handles, a family of lighting fixtures, and a series of lighting switches. These objects were devised in conjunction with participating companies and should ensure that an architectural quality is present in even the smallest details. In order that the building’s design language should become clear to users inside the complex too, it has been given a distinctive image which is becoming a business symbol of the entire complex.
The podium contains five basement storeys and six storeys above ground. Out of this rectangle grows a lens shape, which is visible from the 7th floor upwards. Between the seventh and tenth floors the two towers are joined together by a bridge to form a single unit. From this point upwards the two towers of unequal height rise separately. The 373.7-metre, 95-storey-high Tower East contains office space on 57 floors and apartments on 23 floors. The five upper storeys are being occupied by food outlets and a fitness club. The 63 storeys of the lower Tower West, which is approximately 242.4 metres high, divide into 38 storeys of office space, 11 storeys containing apartments, and four top storeys for other functions, including a swimming pool and a restaurant. Both towers have a triangular layout of equal size with a contour which bows slightly outwards. With the exception of the mechanical floor, which is clad with lamellae, the towers are glazed from top to bottom.
The largest floor area in the complex is occupied by office spaces. These are divided into three zones: in the podium (levels +1 to +6), the so-called ‘lens’ (levels +7 to +10), and the two towers (levels +11 to +43) with a total floor area of 273.206 square metres. The offices in the towers and lens are accessible by means of double-storey elevators from the large entrance lobbies in levels -1 and +1. These so-called ‘twin elevators’ offer an innovative solution consisting of two elevator cabins which move independently of one another in the same lift shaft; this makes skyscraper projects significantly more effective and substantially reduces waiting times. The offices in the podium storeys are accessed through separate entrances and independent groups of elevators.
If necessary, individual levels can be directly linked to one another by staircases or elevators, making it possible for large contiguous office spaces to be created for individual tenants. The annular corridor around the core office allows spaces in both towers to be subdivided into units as small as individual cellular offices. The outfitting of individual storeys may be custom-designed, starting from the common lift lobby. In cases where the layout is divided up, various types of office space – such as open-plan, cellular offices, or a combination of the two types – may be created, provided that account is taken of the local fire-safety rules.
On levels -1 to -3 and in areas adjacent to the 14-storey atrium, a Lifestyle Centre with sophisticated amusements, shops, cafes, and restaurants is being created. Other high-quality retail areas are on the ground floor (Level +1), which is reserved for luxury clothing and accessories brands. Altogether, in addition to the spaces in the Lifestyle Centre, there are about 14 500 m2 of retail space. The Federation Tower complex is part of the utilities, supply, and security structure which is being created for the Moscow City business district. The four underground storeys in the podium have been deliberately designed without garages. Approximately 5000 parking spaces have been provided on a nearby lot. The podium contains entertainments, shopping, food outlets, a conference centre, and a passageway leading to the express railway and parking decks.
The façades of the towers, which have a complex geometrical shape, are fully glazed, as is the six-storey podium. For the towers the architects have used high-quality steel-structure glazing without visible profiles; this underlines the uniform appearance of the façade as a whole. In view of the local weather conditions, the architects have used glazing units with triple safety glass. In places, the glass has been printed with a polychrome cloud motif in order to conceal the load-bearing structures. The façades of the top floors of the two towers are distinguished by their steeply inclined shape. At night, the façades are illuminated throughout; on holidays the illumination is based on a special concept.
The Federation Tower complex is connected to a nearby modern boiler house and is equipped with cooling, central heating, staggered use of central heating and cooling for different consumers, and a highly efficient heat-recovery system. The basement contains supply and waste-disposal systems for shared use. A considerable advantage for users is access to public-transport networks and a metro station in the building. During the execution of this project the architects mainly used local materials, including steel and reinforced concrete. Furthermore, the use of ship transport on the nearby River Moskva makes it possible to reduce lorry traffic.