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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

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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