Anti-Skyscraper Movement Collects Petition Signatures
Published: July 18, 2008 (Issue # 1391)
Living City, a pressure group that lobbies for the preservation of St. Petersburg’s historic center and heritage buildings, has collected nearly 2,000 signatures in a petition against skyscraper construction close to the city’s historic center, activist Pyotr Zabirokhin said on Thursday.
The activists, who demonstrated on Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa for nearly a week between last Friday and Thursday, are demanding that the newly built Stock Exchange be lowered from its height of 67 meters and that the Finansist residential complex be lowered from its height of 65 meters. They contest that these buildings have damaged the city’s famous view of Vasilyevsky Island’s Strelka by being too tall.
Living City says the buildings must not breach a 48-meter tall limit stated in 2004 height regulations that remained in force when the skyscrapers were designed and built.
Governor Valentina Matviyenko has admitted the new buildings violate the restriction but has insisted that the Stock Exchange be lowered by only 3.7 meters to comply with a permit that had been issued by the City Hall, which, in its turn, exceeded existing height regulations.
The city’s preservationist movement argues that the view will not be restored by this minimal measure, even if it is undertaken.
“It has already been admitted that the Stock Exchange and Finansist are town-planning errors, and, correspondingly, we want to get the authorities not only to admit this but also correct the errors,” Zabirokhin said.
“We also want to call on [the authorities] to reconsider other skyscraper projects that have already been built, such as Monblan, Severniye Zerkala, Premier Palace and others, and to prevent such errors in the future.”
Living City is also demanding the reinstatement of the now-abolished 48-meter height restriction.
“[The city authorities] abolished it with a secret phone vote between members of the government in December and introduced [the new, more vague regulations] officially in April,” Zabirokhin said.
The terms of the Living City petition include the 396-meter tall, RMJM-designed Gazprom Tower, part of the Okhta center development.
Living City is planning to continue the campaign on its website, www.save-spb.ru, for another two weeks, according to Zabirokhin. The petition will be sent to Matviyenko and town planners, he said.