Life in the ocean of air. What happens at 326 meters above Petersburg

    For the first time the high-altitude line of St. Petersburg moved as far as 326 meters of 2011, when a new antenna was installed with the help of helicopters on the TV tower. This mark remained inaccessible until May 10 in 2017. At 9.50 in the morning the builders of Lakhta Center poured the walls of the core of the 78th floor of the tower, which is a level of 327.6 meters. At the same time they exchanged the last ten floors. A little more than 20 months passed from the start of floor construction.

    Lakhta Center skyscraper growth by months

    Find out what's up there? Our guides today are the people who drive the highest cranes in the city.

    Crane driver Lakhta center on the platform near the crane cab

    If you walk 326 meters along the road, it will take you about 4 minutes. The environment during this time is unlikely to change much. But if you go up by the same distance, then there things are different.

    Lakhta Center Tower

    There is another air, wind and temperature. There are the paths of "bird migrants" and glide paths of aircraft. There, the lower cloudy tier is in a hurry to meet the fog rising from the ground. Mosquitoes don't fly there ... And skyscraper builders are working on this mark.

    Cranes Lakhta Center

    Above all - crane operators "K-1", "K-2", "K-3" and of course, "K-4" - a lifting machine, mounted in the core of the tower Lakhta Center. Rise to them. But first - we learn that they control the machines.

    Crane K 4 in the core of Lakhta Center

    Great Ka

    In total, 16 lifting machines are on the construction site of Lakhta Center. At all - one name, "K", plus a serial number.

    Cranes Lakhta Center
    Construction site, April 2017

    Cranes differ in type - there are classic cranes with a tip and with a swinging boom. The first is used to move goods horizontally, the second - for vertical transportation. It is possible to distinguish machines in the following way: cranes with a swinging boom can understand it almost vertically upwards, and the counterweight is located compactly on the landing next to the tower. In the "classic" arrow has a "tail" - a console with a counterweight.

    Classic cranes and flywheel on the site Lakhta Center
    Photo - Ilya @yosivim Nekrasov

    Construction legend has it that a fly-up arrow was invented in the UK. Supposedly, according to local laws, the landlord owned not only the land, but also the airspace above it. In order not to invade the neighbor’s “air” during the construction process, I had to invent something. So the crane appeared, capable of raising the boom almost vertically, with a radically smaller turning radius.

    In connection with this story, it is thought that it is not only a violation of the neighboring airspace, but also in all the dense urban development. Today, the construction of buildings sometimes goes on so compact spots that it’s scary not for air, but for neighboring objects. Here, for example, how MoMa was built - a museum of modern art in New York. Well, where would the traditional tap turn?

    Construction site MoMa

    Above the multifunctional building work cranes, both traditional and with a swinging arm - three of each kind. At the peak, the growth of the highest machines of this working group will reach 95 meters. It inspires, given that these are separate cranes that do not have a fastener to the building. MFZ

    Cranes MFZ

    Over the construction of the flagship of the complex, the 462-meter tower, four supermachines are working. The disposition is as follows. Around the skyscraper are located "K-1", "K-2" and "K-3", model 710 HC-L 32/64 Litronic.

    Cranes tower Lakhta Center
    Layout of cranes for work with the building of a skyscraper. For comparison - next to the scale is a piece of the MFZ building and a crane for it.

    Lakhta Center Tower

    These are the highest cranes in the city. And in general - the biggest cranes with swinging arm, produced by "Liebherr". Their arrows reach 45, 50 and 60 meters. Maximum carrying capacity - 64 tons, the speed of movement of cargo - 176 meters per minute. Faster than a regular elevator.

    Delivery of cargo to the tower of Lakhta Center

    Cranes grow with the building — about a quarter of a time additional sections are added to the mast. At the peak of the growth of cars will step over the 400-meter mark. One of the "libhera" in summer will grow to 440 meters - it is with his help that the tower spire will be installed.

    Cranes K2 and K3.  Lahta Center
    "K-2" took a height of 320 meters.

    Of course, these cranes have fasteners to the building.

    Attachments of the crane to the tower Lakhta Center
    Are taps higher? The largest crane of those that built the Burj Khalifa megatoll has grown to 750 meters.

    Cranes Burj Khalifa
    Cranes Burj Khalifa

    Today, when it comes to buildings of 1000+ meters, it is necessary to make cranes higher. Or not? Let's look at “K 4” from our construction site.

    Crane K 4. Lakhta Center

    This machine closes the skyscraper's quartet. Although the K 4 is also a Liebherr, model 357 HC-L 12/24, it is, in a way, a legacy of Soviet engineers. In the 50s of the last century, when Stalin's skyscrapers were erected, UBK - universal tower cranes were tested for the first time. Development of engineers P. P. Velikhov, L. N. Shchipakin, I. B. Gitman and A. D. Sokolov. Everyone was awarded the Stalin Prize for this work.

    The essence of innovation is as follows. The UBC, and now its “heirs,” do not have a traditional ground support with a mast extension during the construction process. It relies on the construction of the building itself. The building is growing - the crane moves to a new level. Therefore, it is also called self-climbing or creeping.

    Crane K4 in the elevator hall
    "K 4" is mounted in the elevator lobby of the core of Lakhta Center. To change positions, the crane is lifted hydraulically and a new section is built in.

    It turns out that the height of the work of such a crane is limited only by the growth of the building. You understand who most appreciated this innovation. Take a photo strongly of any skyscraper during construction, and in the center of the core you will see a self-lifting worker. Sometimes - not even one. Unfortunately, he still cannot completely replace the traditional tap. But this is a quick and easy forward, always at the peak of the process.

    Crane K 4 in the core of Lakhta Center

    K-4 is now at the zenith of construction. His boom reaches up to 417 meters, the cabin has a height of 380. Views from there are the same ones that will be on the observation platform of a skyscraper, only earlier and without a queue. Look in?

    stairway to Heaven

    The path to the cabin is one - the stairs. There are no special elevators in the crane for this purpose.

    Ladder in the tower crane Lakhta Center

    Can fellow crane operators "toss" each other at work and back? No, because of the first and sufficient - is unacceptable for safety. Violation is possible only in extreme cases. Last winter, when the support of the WHSD under construction caught fire, crane operator Tamara Pastukhova lowered 3 workers from a 100-meter height in an improvised “cradle”. Such situations transportation of people by crane and limited.

    However, a little “cut off” the way up is still possible. In Lakhta Center, crane operators drive up to the 55th floor in an elevator located in the tower itself. From there - on the transition ladder they move to the mast crane. But further - without options, on foot.

    Transition bridge:

    Transition bridge from the tower to the crane.  Lahta Center

    Transition bridge from the tower to the crane.  Lahta Center

    If it were not for this maneuver, then to climb into the cabin "K-1", "K-2" or "K-3", it would be necessary to overcome more than 700 steps. Those who work at K-4 are more fortunate - the height of the cabin is “only” 50 meters, but you cannot block the road either.

    In any case - the crane operator once again does not run down. Even they have lunch at home. Tea can be drunk on the spot. But a hot lunch is delivered from the ground.

    Lunch in the cockpit
    Lunch with a view is better than in a panoramic restaurant.

    Work and weather

    After the forced march to the workplace - a sitting 8-hour shift in a small cabin. Everything you need here is at hand. Two levers are responsible for turning the tower and lifting the load.

    In the cockpit.  Building Lakhta Center

    The on-board computer displays the current parameters - boom reach, load capacity, rope length, turning radius and wind speed.

    On-board computer crane Lakhta Center

    On the monitor - a unique minute - calm. Perhaps this will happen again for a brief moment once or twice a year.
    “The most difficult thing in our work is the weather,” says Sordar, manager of K 2. “The weather like this is not hard.” I hope one or two days this normal weather will stay. Usually - constant wind.

    Wind has to take into account all who work in the air. But if it is sometimes for aircraft only to help, then any wind is a hindrance for cranes. During a storm, work has to be stopped altogether. In this case, the flywheel boom cranes rise up for greater stability machines.

    Storm. Fly arrows - in the wind, a turning mechanism - on the "neutral" - for minimal resistance to impulses. The

    weather is the only thing that brings the construction site. "Distinguished" the last two years. In 2015, there were 159 storm warnings, in 2016 - already 258. 2017 seems to be going to continue the progression. But the wind is not everything. Most of the time, crane operators carry their loads “by instrument”.

    - When the fog starts, we will have a hard work. We will only be on the radio working teams listen. But nothing will be visible below. In this weather, like today, work normally. But what is below is also not clearly visible. Through the camera look. And slingers listen.

    Monitor in the cockpit.  Building Lakhta Center
    Camera "bottom view"

    Poor visibility - not just because of the height, rain or fog. The skyscraper and its cranes have grown to the clouds.

    Lakhta Center Tower and Clouds
    Photos of Nikolai Ivanov

    Insidious and low cloud type

    Clouds are not always about kilometers above the ground. The base of their lower tier can begin even from a hundred meters.

    There are two low cloud types at once - clouds are layered and simply layered. The former are also called “bad weather clouds” and everything is clear with them. But the second type is characterized by increased deceit towards builders. On his conscience - a good dozen of false calls of fire and rescue services to the construction site.

    Screen news about Lakhta Center
    And such "state of emergency" for the year was not one.

    It is all about the form and color. Such low stratus clouds have the form of "ragged" and "torn", "resemble the fog." But it is only when they abstractly float across the sky, attracting the attention of only weather forecasters. If such a cloud is unaccompanied during the flight, it is not far from the tower, then many immediately realize: “fire!”

    Clouds at the tower of Lakhta Center.  12/31/16

    The press office thanked citizens indefatigably for their vigilance and non-indifference, but asks first to clarify the causes of “smoke” in the Lakhta Center. Even in the event of a real state of emergency, there is a 24-hour fire brigade at a construction site and it will take all the necessary measures.

    Cloud at the tower of Lakhta Center

    If we ignore the unusual properties of clouds to cause panic, we can recall that this weather phenomenon is simply beautiful. There is even a “Cloudy Floor” in the London Splinter to watch him.

    But the clouds with cranes of a skyscraper.

    Clouds from the tower crane.  Construction site Lakhta Center

    Clouds from the tower crane.  Construction site Lakhta Center

    Clouds from the tower crane.  Construction site Lakhta Center
    The photo with clouds was made by the leading engineer of the building control department of Lakhta Center Alexey Sivoho.

    But the unforgettable one is the first meeting with low clouds and a rising fog.

    Low Clouds and Lakhta Center Tower
    August 2016. Photographer - Aleksey Mayorov

    The sun

    The average number of sunny days in St. Petersburg is about 70. But the crane operators of the skyscraper have more of them - due to reaching the lower edge of the clouds. This is sometimes enough to see the sun.

    The sun in the cockpit of the crane Lakhta Center

    The cabin has a visor with dimming. But it is clearly not enough - crane operators are saved by thick curtains. In case of heat there are vents. In the breaks, you can go out to warm up on a small platform and see the most beautiful sunrises or sunsets in St. Petersburg.

    View of the Zenit Arena from the crane Lakhta Center

    View of Yuntolovo from the Lakhta Center crane

    Who flies here?

    326 meters - height atypical for aircraft flight. Nevertheless, in the lower corridor you can often notice small helicopters - for short distances, climbing may be unnecessary.

    Helicopter at the tower of Lakhta Center

    Small aircraft is also not lagging behind - perhaps to show beautiful views of the city to its passengers. Soon such panoramas will be available from the Lakhta Center observation platform.

    View of the Sea facade of St. Petersburg from the tower of Lakhta Center
    The sea facade of St. Petersburg - the view from the crane

    For large aircraft 326 meters - "shallow", below the height of the circle. This is just for takeoff or landing. “Rosaviatsia” by the way, the skyscraper approved - the glide paths are held in another part of the city. A tower can serve as a symbolic beacon not only for ships, but also for those who hurry to earth from the depths of the aerial ocean.


    Birds and Lakhta Center Tower
    Illustration from here.

    Surprisingly, with birds the situation is more severe than with aviation. It is assumed that the birds may suffer due to a collision with the building. The fact that birds successfully fly around any other obstacles doesn’t count. There is a version that panoramic glazing can disorient them. Therefore, ornithologists began their observations of the behavior of "bird migrants", as they call the wards, since 2011. So far, everything speaks in favor of the bird mind. From the latest expert opinion:
    “Above the construction area, there are insignificant movements of synanthropic species - gray crows, gulls, successfully avoiding collisions with tall structures and cranes. Part of the silver gulls moved from the Novoselkovskoy dump to the Neva Bay and back at altitudes from 100 to 200 meters. The flight directly above the construction site was rarely observed, no collisions with the structures were registered. Glazing of the floors of a high-rise building did not cause collisions of birds with structures. ”

    Crane also do not observe any misunderstandings with birds. Even on the contrary =)

    Birds at the construction site of Lakhta Center


    Video about how the Petersburg TV tower was built - until May 10, the tallest building in the northern capital and the Lakhta Center skyscraper, which took the high-altitude baton.

    At the crane operators of the Lakhta Center, the photographer Nikita Grigoriev visited.

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