It is the tallest building in Europe – the northernmost skyscraper in the world. It has nine-story tall media screens on its unique, ventilated facades, a planetarium hovering over the atrium of the courtyard, a theater hall with 494 seats that can be converted from an amphitheater to a ballroom and panoramic viewing decks under the tower spire. This is The Lakhta Center, a new, multifunctional complex in Saint Petersburg, offering many public spaces and where the Gazprom Group is headquartered.
A public office building of this scale must be built as secure as possible. Fire safety is the Achilles heel of high-rise buildings, and fire protection is one of the first priorities at all stages of design, construction and operation of the building.
Fire protection for such a complex had to be planned with technologies that are modern, effective, reliable and convenient to install and operate.
HI-FOG® high-pressure water mist fire suppression systems were chosen by the designers at the early stage of the Lakhta Center project. These systems suppression efficiency are as reliable as traditional sprinkler systems based on Marioff fire tests, but consume less water, which is an important advantage for the design of complex engineering systems, especially for buildings of such an impressive scale as The Lakhta Center.
Both the fire suppression system and manual handgun water mist system in The Lakhta Center are HI-FOG systems, manufactured by the Finnish company Marioff, a leader in high-pressure water mist fire protection technology. A dedicated full-scale fire test, the joint work of testing laboratories, designers, customer specialists, fire experts and engineers of the manufacturing company, confirmed the technical solution meets parameters set for the project. Fire protection of facades using HI-FOG nozzles was tested at a special stand, using full-scale fragments of the facades and a large number of wooden stacks as a combustible load. Test results have proven the effectiveness of facade fire protection and helped to increase fire resistance of the facade elements. Hence, the customer has optimized costs and reduced the weight of the building which is important for a unique high-rise building.
The Lakhta Center project was extraordinary, and there are few fire suppression projects of this scale in the world. It included four pump stations, 355 kilometers of high-pressure pipelines and 57,000 sprinklers. Work on the Lakhta Center’s fire suppression system was a challenging task, not only in terms of developing unique technical solutions, but also in production and logistics.
Water mist fire protection suppresses a fire by spraying mist from sprinklers, saturating the fire with water vapor, cooling the rooms, precipitating smoke and providing localization and suppression of the fire, as well as protecting building structures from heat. Such systems quickly localize a fire at an early stage, prevent it from spreading, and effectively reduce the temperature and smoke in protected rooms, making it easier for firefighters to take control of the situation after the system’s discharge.
High-pressure pumps supply water regardless of pipe resistance and elevation differences. Due to that, high-pressure water mist suppression systems are an optimal solution for high-rise multifunctional complexes. Stainless steel pipes and fittings guarantee no leaks while also ensuring uninterrupted operation of the system.
The article is originally published in the Russian TATLIN architecture, design and art magazine.