The story of construction of a grand-scale expo complex in the city of
The changes affected not only the architectural image of the future
exhibition center but also the provisions of the master plan. At this point we
will remind you that the complex will be built in the Pushkinsky district of
Saint Petersburg, on the ground of the former "Shushary" state-owned
farm: located a ten minutes' drive away from the "Pulkovo" airport,
this site borders on the
First of all, the transport infrastructure of the future "Expoforum" was more carefully thought out. While originally the architects placed the pavilions and the congress center on the land site of a square shape one of the edges of which in fact "barged into" the shore area of the lake causing legitimate questions, now the site took on a shape of a smoothed-out trapeze with its edges fringed by automobile roads. The territory of the exhibition center is accessible by two fully-fledged driveways - from the southeast and the northern sides of the land site, the northern crossing with the Peterburgskoe Highway being more developed and presenting a grand-scale flyover, because on this side the exit from the main two-level parking garage is situated. The architects also provided for a traffic circle on the rear side of the complex - it will help to separate more efficiently the traffic flows that are headed to different halls of "Expoforum".
The composition of the complex itself also changed beyond recognition. In the original version of the project, the public and recreation space occupied as much as a third of the entire site - in fact, the whole roof of the underground parking garage was treated as an open-air venue for public events or even for exhibiting airplanes and heavy machinery. Upon a closer look at this idea, however, the architects admitted that the climate of Saint Petersburg is not exactly conductive for organizing frequent auto or aviation trade fairs, and this is why the land site is now filled with buildings almost completely: instead of a giant windswept "marching ground" there appears a system of wind-protected squares, courtyards, and little streets. The function of the centerpiece of the composition is still performed by the covered pedestrian passage; now, however, the buildings of the exhibition center are evenly spaced on its either sides, so on the layout "Expoforum" looks like a tree pictogram with branches shooting off its trunk.
New master plan
As far as the functions are concerned, no significant changes were made
to the project. As earlier, "Expoforum" includes the expo, congress,
and business centers, 3 and 4-star hotels, as well as a freight forwarding unit
and the engineering infrastructure facilities without which launching such a
massive organism into operation would have been impossible. The congress
center, the hotels, and the two business centers are joined together and placed
in the front housing line - one can say that these are the magnificent upper
branches of that "tree" and the main facade of the entire
"Expoforum", its "face" that will welcome the visitors
coming down the
And, while originally this facade was facing the highway with rainbow colors, now the complex is designed in an entirely different way. While the golden casing is still there, the architects change it from a uniform coating into a net with cells of different sizes. Interesting is the fact that this is not rigid orthogonal grid - each cell sports rounded, as if melted, corners (at one of the facades they even turn into windows of a completely round shape), which serves to soften the rigid geometry of the buildings and makes them look very much like the good old punch cards. The theme found by the architects is both winsome and unobtrusive; it is more than appropriate in the buildings meant to showcase the achievements in the field of high-tech solutions.
The arch also survived into the new project, although, while it was a
pass-through one and served the function of the entrance gate to the territory
of "Expoforum", now the characteristic parabolic shape was given to
the marquee of the north entrance. It is perceived as a golden sail whose edges
are drawn down to the ground, and the main canvas is spread out by the gusts of
For the other facade, the architects also chose the golden amber color.
According to Eugene Gerasimov, there were several reasons for the monochrome
solution. First of all, the architects needed a more reserved tone, one that
would "pull" together the composition of various volumes, and at the
same time one that would not leave a "mottled" or
"overcrowded" impression. Second of all, this very tone was the perfect
choice for adding some "flavor" of