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Gazprom Winner is Corn on the Cob

Published: December 4, 2006 (Issue # 1227)


A 300-meter-tall twisting glass tower dubbed the corn on the cob beat out five international rivals to win the contentious competition to build a new Gazprom headquarters in St. Petersburg.

The decision infuriated critics, and a group of St. Petersburgs cultural luminaries, including Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky, filmmaker Alexander Sokurov, rock musician Yury Shevchuk and writer Daniil Granin threw their weight behind what threatens to become a city-wide campaign against the construction.

Yury Sdobnov, vice-president of the Russian Union of Architects has already branded the winning design blasphemous. The British design has also been dubbed the Tower of Babylon by its critics.

The head of the Hermitage Museum said the building will blight the citys landscape.

It is a new economic symbol for St. Petersburg, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told reporters at a ceremony at the companys current St. Petersburg offices, where he and Governor Valentina Matviyenko announced the winning design by British architect RMJM.

It will be a new leader, echoing the already famous architectural monuments of St. Petersburg, Miller said.

According to RMJMs design, the tower will change color up to 10 times per day, depending on the position of the sun.

RMJM was picked from a shortlist of six internationally renowned architects, including Germanys Daniel Libeskind and the Netherlands Rem Koolhaas. The other designs included ones in the shape of a DNA strand, a cluster of cubes, and an abstract design reminiscent of a flying eagle.

What will actually be built remains to be seen, as RMJM will present the final design for Gazproms approval in May.

This project is not a whim for Gazprom, Matviyenko said at the ceremony. St. Petersburg should be happy that the No. 1 company in Russia is coming to the city.

Critics, however, see the tower as a symbol of Gazproms control over the city. The tower will form the centerpiece of Gazprom-City, a business and residential center that will be built opposite Smolny Cathedral, one of the citys most famous landmarks.

Polls have shown that up to 90 percent of residents are against the tower and architectural experts said it would destroy the architectural harmony of the city.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Add to your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya Ploshchad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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