Briefing against St. Petersburg skyscraper

On November, 24th the news agency " Rosbalt " has lead a briefing « Petersburg against Gazprom » in Moscow, the projects of a skyscraper made by the foreign "stars" shown in the beginning of month were discussed. At the conference, among the journalists as it was found out later, "incognito" a representative of the originator of event was in present. Probably Gazprom has started to be interested in public opinion.

Written by:
Irina Filchenkova

25 November 2006

The member of Federal committee on preservation of a cultural heritage of St.Petersburg Michael Milchik has told, that at the exhibition of six projects of skyscrapers of the foreign stars presented in the closed competition of "Gazprom", everyone interested got bulletins for voting for the best work in which there were all projects, but there was no column « against all », that has deprived the inhabitants "legally" to state the attitude to the idea of competition. In turn the Petersburg newspaper "Sheets" has organized on a site a similar interrogation to learn the true reaction of the townspeople – the voting in which more than 10 thousand person participated for today has shown, that 90 % are against  the construction.

If at the press conference lead by the Union of architects of Russia in October , the project of skyscrapers existed only in imagination of the public now all acted refer that forecasts are justified - really, surrounding constructions become toys in comparison with any of skyscrapers which under the presented projects reach at all 300, 320 meters. All participants of a briefing, J.Gnedovsky, M.Milchik, D.Sarkisjan, M.Hrustaleva and the representative «Rosbalt» Andrey Fadeev have shown discontent with the competitive projects. Director of a museum of architecture David Sarkisyan has told, that he is personally familiar with four of six nominees, and he is surprised by such bad quality of the presented works and even has suggested to make a greater exhibition-answer in order to show better « the perfect inconsistency » of his familiar stars.

Marina Khrustalyova, the chairman of  the board of the Moscow society of protection of an architectural heritage (MAPS), has named the western stars in a context of Russia guest performers and “gasterbaiter” which search for the development of the new lands and from which we should not wait for revelation. « We see, that they were not so enclosed in this project – possible the time of competition was too short, possible the offered sum seemed to be small, possible they simply did not trust, that it will be constructed, but those projects they have made reminds the competition of 20th years among the students ».

The competition and statement of a problem in the general opinion of all gathered, is aggressively antisocial. Sarkisyan considers the project to be the check on pediculosis, check of a civil society - is it exist or not, whether it can resist to what the authority does. « If we can defend it the cultural heritage of Russia has the future, if we can not - so it is possible to give it up as a bad job and to close a shop. In case the project will be carried out, Petersburg will go on the way of Moscow where almost does not remain the historical center instead of which we have a mix of turkish city, Las Vegas and the Disneyland ». 

Marina Khrustalyova in the performance in general has drawn enough far-sighted conclusions - «the construction of so defiant construction in which it is obviously read not timid fallocentrism and the desire to show an existing vertical of authority – it is a cheap architecture in the sense that it is measured only by money. … The matter is that Petersburg is 303 years now and if anything global does not happen it will exist as much again. Gazprom is only 14 and through as much approximately years if there will be no miracle, the company will lose the value by virtue of the clear reasons - the raw economy cannot prosper eternally. And then this building becomes empty and decayed, and will stand the phantom above all the city ». 

As the most active oppositionist on today's front naturally acts the Petersburg public the youth has joined also the professionals - the student's organization « the Alive city » has lead some actions, including infront of the building of Academy. As if to nominees, authors of projects they till now officially are not notified on illegality of spent competition and design requirements. But even, if it would be made - it is impossible to tell precisely, will it change the situation or not.

At a briefing we were informed, that the Union of architects of Russia has received the reciprocal letter from the president of V.Putin with the request to enumerate all the norms which have been broken.

25 November 2006

Written by:

Irina Filchenkova
Headlines now
​The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
​Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
​Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
Agility of the Modular
In the Discovery housing complex that they designed, ADM architects proposed a modern version of structuralism: the form is based on modular cells, which, smoothly protruding and deepening, make the volumes display a kind of restrained flexibility, differentiated element by element. The lamellar and ledged facades are “stitched” with golden threads – they unite the volumes, emphasizing the textured character of the architectural solution.
Polyphony of a Chaste Style
The “ID Moskovskiy” housing project on St. Petersburg’s Moscow Avenue was designed by the team of Stepan Liphart in the past 2020. The ensemble of two buildings, joined by a colonnade, is executed in a generalized neoclassical style with elements of Art Deco.
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​In the Space of Pobedy Park
In the project of a housing complex designed by Sergey Skuratov, which is now being built near the park of the Poklonnaya Hill, a multifunctional stylobate is turned into a compound city space with intriguing “access” slopes that also take on the role of mini-plazas. The architecture of the residential buildings responds to the proximity of the Pobedy Park, on the one hand, “dissolving in the air”, and, on the other hand, supporting the memorial complex rhythmically and color-wise.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
​Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
​Architectural Laboratory
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​“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
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​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.
​Celestial Tectonics
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
​Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
​The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
​The Starting Point
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The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
​Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
​The Contact
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​In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
​The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
​...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
​Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.