Archi.ru wrote about the project of creating a large-scale exhibition complex in St. Petersburg in 2009. Then the joint team of Evgeny Gerasimov's workshops and nps tchoban voss proposed to the city a spectacular composition of several parallelepipeds that contained exhibition halls, and an arch building, completely faced with glass in bright colors and outwardly resembling either a high-speed train or a snake. This option was approved as a starting concept, but in the process of developing the site and specifying the TOR, the architectural and planning solution of Expoforum has undergone such colossal changes that in fact we can talk about the development of a new project.
The changes affected not only the architectural image of the future Exhibition and Convention Center, but also the general layout solutions. Recall that the complex will be built in the Pushkin district of St. Petersburg on the land of the former state farm "Shushary": located 10 minutes from the airport "Pulkovo", this site borders on the Petersburg highway, Pulkovskoye reservoir and residential buildings of the state farm. It is clear that from the point of view of the successful development of the exhibition business, the most important neighborhood is the proximity to the international airport, so the front part of the complex is still oriented towards the motorway. But how the main territory is used, the architects have radically rethought.
First of all, the transport infrastructure of the future Expoforum was thought out more thoroughly. If earlier the architects placed pavilions and a congress center on a square plot of land, which with one of its edges actually "drove" to the coastal zone of the reservoir, causing natural questions, now the site has acquired the form of a smoothed trapezoid, the boundaries of which are highways. There are two full-fledged entrances to the territory of the Exhibition and Convention Center - from the southeastern and northern sides of the site, and the northern intersection with Petersburg highway is more developed and represents an impressive traffic junction, since on this side there will be an exit from the main 2-level parking lot. The architects also envisioned a roundabout on the reverse side of the complex - it will allow more efficient distribution of the traffic of cars heading to different buildings of Expoforum.
The composition of the complex itself has also radically changed. In the initial version of the project, a good third of the site was allocated for the organization of public and recreational space - in fact, the entire roof of the underground parking was considered as a place for holding mass street events with the possibility of exhibiting aircraft or cars here. But looking at this idea with a more sober look, the architects admitted that the St. Petersburg climate is not very conducive to the frequent holding of the same air or car dealerships, so now the site is being built up almost completely and instead of a giant parade ground open to all winds, a system of protected areas appears here. courtyards and inner streets. The central axis of the composition remains the covered pedestrian passage, but now the buildings of the Exhibition and Convention Center are evenly distributed on both sides of it, so in terms of the Expoforum it resembles a schematically depicted tree, from the trunk of which branches spread out in both directions.
As for the functions, here the project hasn't changed much. Expoforum still includes exhibition, congress and business centers, hotels of 3 and 4 stars, as well as a transport and forwarding center and engineering infrastructure facilities, without which it is impossible to launch such a large-scale organism. The congress center, hotels and two business centers have been combined and brought to the first line of development - this is, one might say, the majestic crown of that very tree, the main facade of the entire Expoforum, its face that will be seen by all visitors arriving along the Petersburg highway. Behind it, exhibition pavilions were lined up in two rows, perpendicularly. “By and large, these are hangars, because nothing more effective for the exhibition business has yet been invented,” comments Evgeny Gerasimov. “The only innovation we've made is so we split them into separate segments. Previously, these were very large hangars, now their area has decreased, and the number has increased. " Similarly, the “snake” building from the original project was fragmented: each facility of the first line can function separately - this allows making the sequence of construction as convenient as possible for the investor, and subsequently ensuring more economical operation. By the way, about the order: first, the first line objects and three of the six exhibition pavilions will be built, and the ground parking will be located on the territory, which will later be given for the construction of three more pavilions (and then the cars will move underground).
And if earlier this facade was facing the highway with all the colors of the rainbow, now the complex is solved in a completely different way. Here, although the same golden shell appears, the architects turn it from a continuous coating into a grid with cells of various sizes. Moreover, this is not a rigid orthogonal grid - each cell has rounded, like melted corners (on one of the facades, they even gradually transform into completely round windows), which softens the laconic geometry of the cases and gives them an obvious resemblance to punched cards. The theme found by the architects is both advantageously unobtrusive and thematically more than appropriate for buildings designed to showcase high-tech advances.
The arch has also been preserved in the project, however, if earlier it was through and served as an entrance gate to the Expoforum territory, now the canopy of the northern entrance has acquired a characteristic parabolic shape. It is perceived as a golden sail, the ends of which are drawn to the ground, and the main panel is straightened by the gusty Petersburg wind.
For the other façade, the architects also opted for a golden amber hue. According to Evgeny Gerasimov, several important arguments were found in favor of the one-color solution. On the one hand, there was a need for a calmer tone that “brings together” the composition from scattered volumes and, at the same time, does not create a feeling of flickering and “compulsion”. Secondly, it was this tone that ideally suited for interweaving into the image of the "echo" complex of the classical architecture of St. Petersburg - photographs of its most famous buildings will be photoprinted on the ceramic panels of the facades of the exhibition pavilions. In fact, the entire facade here will turn into a gigantic canvas, broken by slightly more transparent verticals of the galleries-transitions into separate segments, each of which has its own plot. There is also the Bronze Horseman, and the Palace Bridge, and the Arch of the General Staff - when moving along the highway, they will replace each other like silent film frames, or, perhaps even more familiar for St. Petersburg, canvases in the exhibition hall. In favor of the association with the museum, of course, the chosen color of the cladding also serves - rather than the non-gilded frame of the painting, but, on the other hand, the images applied to the ceramic panels acquire a characteristic shade of slightly clouded sepia, which is most often found in old photos. and motion pictures.