This new “city,” however, will just be a cluster of high-tech administrative buildings, although the main tower “is to rise at least 300 meters (985 feet) into the sky and symbolize the growing power of the firm. It is also to be situated just opposite the famed 18th century Smolny Cathedral on the Neva River in historic St. Petersburg.”
This location has proved rather controversial.
Because Gazprom City “is part of a longer range plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin to boost the prestige of his home city,” however, it seems unlikely that the project will be held back. This, after all, may be St. Petersburg’s newest architectural moment: “Much of the development that has occurred in recent years has benefited Moscow, whereas St. Petersburg has seen little change. Only recently, with the celebration of the city’s 300th birthday in 2003, did the city begin awakening from its centuries-long sleep. But even as high-tech projects and a new theater designed by Sir Norman Foster have gone ahead, major changes to the city center, with its numerous UNESCO-protected royal residences and palaces, are considered taboo.”
In any case, the winner of the competition will be announced on December 1st, and the actual tower should be fully constructed by 2016.
Until that time, here’s a quick bet that at least one person out there – whether they’re a novelist, a filmmaker, a graphic artist or even just a refreshingly ambitious architectural student – will design, write, film, or draw some futuristic sci-fi dystopia called Gazprom City, simply because the name is so cool. Of course, you’ll probably get sued. But think Perdido Street Station – described by this reviewer as “Metropolis meeting Gormenghast in the heart of Dickensian London” – goes to Renaissance Paris via, perhaps, Nostromo… and you get the picture.
So: Gazprom City. Artists and writers, show us what will happen there.
(Image credits: In order, these are designs by Daniel Libeskind, Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, OMA, Massimiliano Fuksas, and RMJM. Story found via things magazine).