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Experts Slam Giant Gazprom Tower Plan

Published: July 21, 2006 (Issue # 1188)


As energy giant Gazprom selects architects for its ambitious Gazprom-City business center in St. Petersburg, local experts weighed in Thursday on the possible construction of the planned 300-meter skyscraper.

In a letter to Governor Valentina Matviyenko released Thursday, the St. Petersburg Union of Architects said the tower will destroy the unique harmony of the citys skyline and might result in St. Petersburgs exclusion from the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.

The center is to be located on the right bank of River Neva opposite Smolny Cathedral. And although the final design has not been chosen because an architectural competition is underway, Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller said when it was announced last November that he expected a positive outcome.

I am positive that St. Petersburgs citizens will be proud of these new architectural masterpieces, Miller said when the international architectural contests in relation to Gazprom-City and the Gazprom-Arena Football Stadium were presented.

St. Petersburgs architects, however, are not so positive. In the letter to Matviyenko and the chairman of the Legislative Assembly, Vadim Tyulpanov, they write that the construction of the giant tower visible from the city center would be a crime.

The low skyline makes the verticals of St. Petersburg especially magnificent... the conservation of inimitable silhouettes of its spires and domes is of great importance to town planning and spiritual importance, reads the letter from the St. Petersburg Union of Architects.

A 300-meter tower, more than twice as high as the Peter and Paul Cathedral and three times higher than St. Isaacs and Smolny Cathedral, visible from all the main locations of the historical city center (even from Vasilievsky Island)will bring the irreparable damage to the fragile skyline of the city as it will make all its verticals look almost toy-like, the document continues.

The architects said the world already has the depressing example of London, where the Tower of London and historic cathedrals are now lost among skyscrapers, and Rome, where the dome of St. Peters Basilica is no longer the citys focus.

The Gazprom-City project has also attracted criticism from St. Petersburg charities and foundations.

Petersburg is the only megalopolis in the world whose center as a whole is on the UNESCO list and now its on the brink of an abyss, Alexander Margolis, head of the international Salvation of Petersburg-Leningrad Foundation said Thursday, speaking at a news conference organized under the title The Skyline of St. Petersburg to Save or Destroy?

This strategic investor came from Moscow. Therefore it is used to Moscow practices where... entire architectural formations are being destroyed... and where the image of the city center is already totally distorted, Margolis said, referring to Gazprom.

Therefore the same might happen in St. Petersburg in the near future, he said, if we dont stop whats happening now.

Gazprom said they think the chosen area is most appropriate for their business center.

The industrial zone on the border of historic and modern St. Petersburg is regarded upon as the most suitable building site for the office area. This location will allow Gazprom-City to become a link between St. Petersburgs past, present and future and to give the city a new image, a statement from Gazproms information division reads.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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