Conceived by Foster as a self-contained city within a city, it contains museums, theatres and cinemas and will stand 450m tall and will enclose the largest volume of any building on the planet.
The building's design will allow residents to work and live within a dense area where every amenity is within walking distance, including an international school for 500 students.
Located on the Nagatino Peninsula, 7.5 km from the Kremlin, residents will benefit from panoramic views over Moscow from a viewing platform at the building's apex.
The building’s spiraling form emerges from a newly landscaped park, rising in converse directions to form a diagonal grid.
"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," said designer Norman Foster.
"It is the largest single building in the world, creating a year-round destination for Moscow and a sustainable, dynamic new urban quarter. It is a paradigm of compact, mixed-use, sustainable city planning, with an innovative energy strategy and 'smart' skin which buffers against climate extremes."
The internal built volume of over 1M square metres will be covered by the triangulated steel mega frame and a sloping facetted glazed outer skin.
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. A vertical louvre system sheaths the internal facades to ensure privacy for individual apartments.
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.
The mixed-use 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.
Enclosure panels 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. On-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation are also planned.