The Largest Building In The World To Be Green

Foster + Partners have just been granted preliminary permission to start construction on this volcano-shaped superstructure in Moscow, which will be dubbed “Crystal Island”. In terms of efficiency monolithic buildings like this seem unnecessary, but the proposed dimensions are amazing: it will be 1,500 foot tall with 26,909,776 foot squared of floor space, that’s enough room to house 30,000 people.

As you would expect from a Foster + Partners project, the self-contained city within a city has green energy management at the very heart of the design. Crystal Island will generate low carbon energy from solar arrays and wind turbines located on the building with vast atriums to regulate the internal air temperature during the extremes of the Russian summer and winter.

Fosters + Partners say:

Crystal Island will have a range of cultural, exhibition and performance facilities, approximately 3000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments, as well as offices and shops, designed to maintain a dynamic and animated public realm throughout the day. Residents are able to work and live within a densely planned area where every amenity is within easy walking distance, including an international school for 500 students. Mixed-use also presents a strong case for energy balance, with individual components using energy at different times, while reinforcing the breadth of economic and social activity of the area.

The building’s spiraling form emerges majestically from a newly landscaped park, rising in converse directions to form a diagonal grid. This distinctive geometry extends throughout the project into the park. The result is that the scheme is seamlessly integrated into a new park landscape, which provides a range of activities throughout the year, including cross country skiing and ice skating in the winter.

The internal built volumes of over one million square metres (more than ten million square feet) assume a staggered formation within the triangulated steel mega frame, extending flush against the sloping facetted glazed outer skin. This terracing creates a series of winter gardens, which form a breathable second layer and thermal buffer for the main building, shielding the interior spaces from Moscow’s extreme summer and winter climates. A vertical louvre system sheaths the internal facades to ensure privacy for the individual apartments.

Enclosure panels on a dynamic geometry are slotted into the structural framing to allow daylight to penetrate deep into the heart of the scheme and can be controlled to modify the internal environment – closed in winter for extra warmth and opened in summer to allow natural ventilation. Energy management is at the heart of the design, with additional strategies to include on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation.

Via: Aesthetic Poetic


  1. Alexander says

    The look of the building is special in design but the building has a weakness it is mainly made of glass but how strong is the glass because russia is close to two fult lines and shocks from there can be strong enough to send a earthquake across that way so they better have a safty plan for that

  2. TonyNoMad says

    I get down with people and how we treat each other.

    Then I see another idea from a human mind come to life, and my breath is taken away of what we are all able to create together…

    Fantastic looking structure…


  1. […] But if we look around our cities today, the big winner has been modernism – mainly for practical reasons. Maybe there’s the occasional Gherkin here and there, but our skylines are still decidedly artificial-looking. Now, that’s about to change”¦because you can’t get much more organic-looking than Crystal Island. Rising 450 metres from street level like a pulled cobweb, this structure will house apartments, offices, a school, shops, exhibition and conference rooms, and of course people – up to 30,000 of them, estimates Justin Thomas of MetaEfficient. […]

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