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World’s largest single building given the go ahead

One of the world’s most ambitious building projects, Crystal Island has been granted preliminary planning permission in Moscow.

Crystal Island scheme will be created by architecture firm Foster + Partners. Conceived as a city within a city, it contains a mix of buildings including museums, theatres and cinemas. Located on the Nagatino Peninsula, edged by the Moscow River, it is located only 7.5 km from the Kremlin, and offers panoramic views over Moscow from a viewing platform at its apex.

Crystal Island also will have a range of cultural, exhibition and performance facilities, approximately 3,000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments, as well as offices and shops.

The internal built volumes of over one million square metres 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 wintergardens, 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.

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.

Charman Norman Foster said: “Crystal Island is one of the world’s most ambitious building projects and it represents a milestone in the 40 year history of the practice. It is the largest single building in the world, creating a year-round destination for Moscow and a sustainable, dynamic new urban quarter."