The Largest Building in Europe: Russia Tower

It will also be the second biggest building in the world

This will match the size of Mother Russia and the Russian thirst for big territories. Yesterday started the work on the Russia Tower, which - once finished - will become Europe's tallest building and it will be located in the heart of Moscow's business district, in the precincts of the Moscow International Business Center.

"This tower will become a symbol of Russia which is turned to the future and to new heights. This building will be unique in both size and architecture," said Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov. "The building will be completed in two, two-and-a-half years," the Interfax news agency reported.

Other sources say it will be completed by 2011.

The skyscraper will be 612 meters (2,008 feet) tall and is designed by well-known British architect Norman Foster, famous for being the author of other great-scale projects like the Wembley Stadium, Hearst Tower of New York, McLaren Technological Center or the Hong Kong Airport.

The building will be the second tallest in the world and will harbor a total area of over 470,000 square meters and it will contain shopping centers, offices, hotels and apartments. Offices will be located at the lowest floors, hotel rooms in the middle, and apartments at the top, and there will be a total of 118 levels. The last seven levels will serve as a platform for visitors wanting to look at a panorama of the Russian capital.

The total costs of building it are estimated at about two billion dollars (1.4 billion euros). The building will have a pyramidal shape. "We will not stop here," added Luzhkov. "We are, essentially, in the process of constructing a new city." "It will be a building that won't enter in disacord with the rest of the surrounding buildings, most of them old and with few levels. It also won't harm the overall image of Moscow", said the project's author.

The Russia tower will be surpassed just by the Burj Dubai, which will be finished in 2008, and will be 818 m (2,684 ft) tall.

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