Last year, the venue of EXPOFORUM hosted the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum – a large-scale event, for which, actually, the complex was built, in order to replace the morally and physically outdated LENEXPO. Today’s EXPOFORUM has very little about it of the original project of the complex, with which Evgeny Gerasimov and Sergey Tchoban once won the international competition, and even the final approved version that passed all the expertise was also slightly altered in the course of construction. But then again, it’s only the first stage of construction that has been currently completed.
The place for the center is a lucky one – it is located at the crossing of several large-scale highways, in the immediate proximity to the international airport, and at the Pulkovskie Hills, the rare case of elevation, rare for Saint Petersburg’s terrain. It is understood that good transport accessibility is one of the key assets of any international convention center. Just as important is the comfort of stay, the convenience of inner traffic, intuitive navigation, flexibility and variability of its modules, sturdy technical and material base, and, last but not least, eye-catching design: for thousands of visitors arriving to forums, exhibitions and conventions, these complexes play the role of the city’s or even the nation’s face. So it comes as no surprise that design and construction of such complexes around the world is done by the most prominent architects. It would not be an overstatement to say that the architecture of EXPOFORUM successfully solves all of the tasks mentioned above.
The face of the complex consists of five buildings that stand in a graceful arc along the Peterburgskoe Highway: two business centers, Hilton and Hampton by Hilton hotels, and a congress center, from which a long passage leads to the expo pavilions. “The location of the complex just outside the city boundary and next to the airport accounted for the necessity of creating bright and recognizable façades that would look great from remote vantage points” – explains one of the authors of the project, leader of the firm SPEECH, Sergey Tchoban. Visually, all the five façades are grouped into one smooth line, although in reality these are independent buildings that also perform different functions. The impression of unity is achieved first of all by the color: all of the façades of the complex are designed in uniform golden tones that bring up the textbook associations with the Amber Room and the “Golden Autumn” – incidentally, the town of Pushkin (named after the famous Russian poet who is believed to be the first to come up with the metaphor) is not far away either. The buildings are decorated with volumetric ceramic panels from extruded ceramics. “All the panels were made specifically for this project, including the unique curvilinear elements, which allowed us to soften the outlines of the buildings” – explains Andrey Perlich, the chief architect of the project (SPEECH).
This line is broken but once by the fully-glass façade of the congress center. According to the project, it is covered by a golden “sail” marquee 30 meters high, which must become the main architectural accept of the entire complex. It was decided not to actually build the marquee for the inauguration of the EXPOFORUM but, according to Evgeny Gerasimov, there is still hope that, as part of the second stage of construction, this element will finally occupy its due place.
All the five buildings are of the same height, although both hotels have eight floors in them, while the business centers have seven. Given the unity of form and color, the only way to show the outer individuality of the buildings was to play with the window apertures. For each of the buildings, the architects chose its own rhythm, its own principle, according to which the windows are grouped together or, conversely, get dispersed over the façade. For example, in one of the business centers, they are united in large elongated groups, two stories high, which put one in the mind of the TASS building, while in the other one the vertical and horizontal pairs alternate.
The façade of the Hampton by Hilton hotel (in the middle) is slit with circular bullseye-style openings, which, as they recede from the congress center, gather into ever-lengthening “snakes”.
The regular orthogonal grid of the windows of the Hilton hotel is livened up by golden “little staircases” that dissect the façade from top to bottom.
Pending the absence of the “golden sail”, the glass façade of the congress center is livened up by the plastique alone: against the serene glass backdrop billow three smooth horizontal “waves” – at the level of the second, fourth, and sixth floors.
There is a 500-meter passage stretching into the depth of the complex from the congress center, upon which, as the main “axis”, the three expo pavilions are strung. Andrey Perlich describes this passage – which seemingly performs a purely utilitarian function – as “the most spectacular and sophisticated part of the exhibition complex”. Its façades are up to 16 meters high, these façades being completely made of glass – specially for EXPOFORUM insulated glass units 5.5 meters high were made. To heat such a giant volume, two rows of convectors were required that were installed on the bottom and middle levels. The unique wave-shaped roof with skylights (into which LED’s are installed) saves this grandiose space from looking monotonous, which is the issue characteristic for many such passages in similar complexes around the world.
As for the expo pavilions itself, the area of each of which is over 13 000 square meters, here the architects set for themselves and solved a whole number of most challenging technical tasks. Huge tor gates, unsupported 90-meter girder spans, pull-out partitions that divide, if necessary, the halls into sections – everything in this complex is indeed state of the art. The outside façades of the pavilions, designed in the same golden tones, are decorated by the symbols of Saint Petersburg: the most famous historical buildings and monuments, ships, and palaces. The decoration uses the famous drawings by Mikhail Makhaev. The images are photo printed upon the large ceramic plates 3 millimeters thick, the interesting fact being that the printing was made on ceramic granite before heat-treating it in the furnace - a solution unique for Russia that ensures the long lifetime of the plates and images.
Currently, there are three complete pavilions; the construction of another three on the other side of the passage has yet been postponed. If they are indeed built in the long run, the giant parking lot that now occupies all the vacant space will have to go underground.
In the course of construction, on the territory of the complex were discovered the remains of the foundation of the church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, built in the XVIII century by Giacomo Antonio Domenico Quarenghi and destroyed during the Second World War. The church was completely restored by the old drawings and not it adorns the grand façade of the complex, which overlooks the Peterburgskoe Highway.
Milan, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Kwangchow – it is common knowledge what an important role is played in the life of these cities by international trade shows that take place in them almost all the year round. At the moment, it is hard to say which was primary: was it the necessity for organizing trade shows that determined the construction of expo centers in these cities or is it the other way around - the all-but-unlimited possibilities of Fiera Milano, Messe Frankfurt, KoelnMesse or Pazhou attract the organizers of the world’s largest trade shows. With the advent of EXPOFORUM, Saint Petersburg will also have a right to claim the status of a venue for such grand-scale events. Whether this will come to pass, only time can tell – but the architects have definitely done their job: now the city does have a venue worthy of hosting world-class conventions and trade shows.
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
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
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 Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
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.
Park of Sentiments
The project of “Romantic Park Tuchkov Buyan”, which was developed by the consortium of Studio 44 and WEST 8, and has won an international competition, combines sculptural landscape design and wooden structures, variety of spatial features and an eventful agenda, designed for diverse audience, with a beautiful and complex passeist idea of a palace park, meant to evoke thoughts and feelings.
Architecture as an Educational Tool
The concept of a charity school “Tochka Budushchego” (“Point of the Future”) in Irkutsk is based on cutting-edge educational programs, and is designed, among other things, for adapting orphaned children for independent life. An important role is played by the architecture of the building: its structure and different types of interconnected spaces.
The Gallery Approach
In this article, we are covering the concept of a Central District Clinic for 240 patients, designed by Ginzburg Architects, which won at a competition organized by the Architects Union and the Healthcare Ministry.
In this issue, we are publishing the concept of a standard clinic designed by UNK Project, which took second place in the competition organized by the Union of Architects of Russia in collaboration with the Healthcare Ministry.
From Foundation to Teaspoon
Based on the taste of their friendly clients, the architects Olga Budennaya and Roman Leonidov designed and built a house in the Moscow metropolitan area playing Art Nouveau. At the same time, they enriched the typology of a private house with modern functions of a garage loft and a children’s art studio.
Continuation and Development
The second “office” stage of Comcity, the most popular business park of the “New Moscow” area, continues the underground street of the already existing part of the complex, responding to its architectural identity.
A Comfortable City in Itself
The project that we are about to cover is seemingly impossible amidst human anthills, chaotically interspersed with old semi-neglected dachas. Meanwhile, the housing complex built on the Comcity business part does offer a comfortable environment of decent city: not excessively high-rise and moderately private as a version of the perfect modern urbanist solution.
Moving on the Edge
The housing complex “Litsa” (“Faces”) on Moscow’s Khodynka Field is one of the new grand-scale buildings that complement the construction around it. This particular building skillfully tackles the scale, subjugating it to the silhouette and the pattern; it also makes the most of the combination of a challenging land site and formidable square footage requirements, packing a whole number of features within one volume, so the house becomes an analogue of a city. And, to cap it all, it looks like a family that securely protects the children playing in the yard from... well, from everything, really.
Visual Stability Agent
A comparatively small house standing on the border of the Bolshevik Factory combines two diametrically opposite features: expensive materials and decorative character of Art Deco, and a wide-spaced, even somewhat brutal, facade grid that highlights a laminated attic.
The Faraday Cage
The project of the boutique apartment complex in the 1st Truzhenikov Lane is the architects’ attempt to squeeze a considerable volume into a tiny spot of land, at the same time making it look graceful and respectable. What came to their rescue was metal, stone, and curvilinear glass.
The Union of Art and Technology
His interest for architecture of the 1930’s is pretty much the guiding star for Stepan Liphart. In his project of the “Amo” house on St. Petersburg’s Vasilyevsky Island, the architect based himself on Moscow Art Deco - aesthetically intricate and decorated in scratch-work technique. As a bonus, he developed the city block typology as an organic structure.
The project that Evgeniy Gerasimov and Partners developed for Moscow’s Leningrad Avenue: the tallest building in the company’s portfolio, continuing the tradition of Moscow’s Stalin architecture.
In the project that they developed for a southern region of Russia, OSA Architects use multilayered facades that create an image of seaside resort architecture, and, in the vein of the latest trends of today, mix up different social groups that the residents belong to.
Just a Mirror for the Sun
The house that Sergey Skuratov designed in Nikolovorobinsky Alley is thought out down to the last detail. It adapts three historical facades, interprets a feeling of a complex city, is composed of many layers, and catches plenty of sunlight, from sunrises to sunsets. The architect himself believes that the main role of this house is creating a background for another nearby project of his, Art House in the Tessinsky Alley.
Part of the Whole
On June 5, the winners of Moscow Architectural Award were announced. The winners list includes the project of a school in Troitsk for 2,100 students, with its own astronomy dome, IT testing ground, museum, and a greenhouse on the roof.
Yet another project of a private school, in which Archimatika realizes the concept of aesthetic education and introduces a new tradition: combining Scandinavian and Soviet experience, turning to works of art, and implementing sustainable technologies.
In the “Parallel House” residence that he designed in the Moscow metropolitan area, the architect Roman Leonidov created a dramatic sculptural composition from totally basic shapes – parallelepipeds, whose collision turned into an exciting show.
In the Istra district of Moscow metropolitan area, the tandem of 4izmerenie and ARS-ST designed a sports complex – a monovolume that has the shape of a chamfered parallelepiped with a pointed “nose” like a ship’s bow.
Stairway to Heaven
The project of a hotel in the settlement of Yantarny is an example of a new recreational complex typology, and a new format that unites the hotel, the business, and the cultural functions. All of this is complemented by 100% integration with nature.
Cape of Good Hope
In this issue, we are showing all the seven projects that participated in a closed-door competition to create a concept for the headquarters of Gazprom Neft, as well as provide expert opinions on those projects.
The Outer Space
Honoring the 300th anniversary of the Kuznetsk coal fields in 2021, a new passenger terminal of the Aleksey Leonov Airport in the city of Kemerovo will be built, designed by GK Spectrum and ASADOV Architectural Bureau.
The Pivot of Narkomfin Building
Ginzburg Architects finished the restoration of the Narkomfin Building’s laundry unit – one of the most important elements of the famous monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
The housing complex “Respublika” is so large that it can be arguably called a micro-town, yet, at the same time, it easily overcomes most of the problems that usually arise with mass housing construction. How could Archimatika achieve that? We are examining that on the example of the first stage of the complex.
The Flowing Lines
The five houses of the “Svoboda” block belonging to the “Simvol” residential complex present a vivid example of all-rounded work performed by the architects on an integral fragment of the city, which became the embodiment of the approach to architecture that hitherto was not to be seen anywhere in Moscow: everything is subjected to the flow of lines – something like a stream, enhanced by the powerful pattern of the facades akin to “super-graphics”.
A City by the Water
The concept of a large-scale housing development at the edge of Voronezh, near the city reservoir, or “the sea”, as it is locally called, uses the waterside height difference to create a sophisticated public space, paying a lot of attention to the distribution of masses that determine the look of the future complex if viewed from the opposite bank of the river.
A Journey to the Country of Art Deco
The “Little France” residential complex on the 20th line of the Vasilyevsky Island presents an interesting make-believe dialogue between its architect, Stepan Liphart, the architect of the New Hermitage, masters of the Silver Age, and Soviet Art Deco, about interesting professional topics, such as a house with a courtyard in the historical center of Saint Petersburg, and the balance between the wall and the stained glass in the architectonics of the facade. Here are the results of this make-believe conversation.
A House in a Port
This housing complex on the Dvinskaya Street is the first case of modern architecture on the Gutuevsky Island. The architectural bureau “A-Len” thoroughly explores the context and creates a landmark for further transformations of this area of Saint Petersburg.
Balance of Infill Development
Anatoly Stolyarchuk Architectural Studio is designing a house that inadvertently prevails over the surrounding buildings, yet still tries to peacefully coexist with the surrounding environment, taking it to a next level.
The Precious Space
Evolution Design and T+T Architects reported about the completion of the interior design project of Sberbank headquarters on the Kutuzovsky Avenue. In the center of the atrium, hovers the “Diamant” meeting room; everything looks like a chest full of treasures, including the ones of a hi-tech kind.
Big Little Victory
In a small-sized school located in Domodedovo in Moscow metropolitan area, ASADOV_ architects did a skillful job of tackling the constraints presented by the modest budget and strict spatial limitations – they designed sunlit classrooms, comfortable lounges, and even a multi-height atrium with an amphitheater, which became the center of school life.
The Social Biology of Landscape
The list of new typologies of public spaces and public projects has been expanded yet again — thanks to Wowhaus. This time around, this company came up with a groundbreaking by Russian standards approach to creating a place where people and animals can communicate.