2010 Skyscraper Competition
Mikhail Belyakov, Vyacheslav Borisenko, Pavel Pechurkin
Does a skyscraper have a soul? If it does than this is a soul given by humans. Taking away a material shell from a skyscraper we provide it with a possibility of transformation so it can get closer to a Plato’s idea of a skyscraper (At this point we need to insert a smiley). Still, seriously enough we do move from a totem to a pure spirit that keeps skies untouched and pure no matter how sexually unappealing it sounds.
Though having had said that we have told only half of the story. The second half of the story is connected with a crispy fresh history of Saint-Petersburg, where a fight with the Okhta Centre skyscraper that ruins the historical cities’ skyline has become a real and unique example of citizenship and a symbol of human spirit prevailing over the power of money. We want a different “non-material” skyscraper to emerge every night on the spot of the Okhta Centre tower.
Imagine a skyscraper made of light, or more exactly, of laser rays and a net lifted by a zeppelin into a night sky. This is a skyscraper that becomes a skysaver.
And an obvious allusion with Pushkin’s “non-material monument” that transcends imperial Alexandriysky Stolp (Alexander’s Column in the Palace Square of Saint-Petersburg) roots our skyscraper in the cultural tradition of Russia.
Our skysaver is being erected on the spot of the Nienshanz Fortress that existed there before.
The fort will be reconstructed and will host a city museum and a tourist information center. A zeppelin floating over the fortress will hold a lightweight super-strong net that will reflect light and laser projections. Light becomes a material of a skyscraper, which can be turned on and off. With a text message vote citizens and visitors can pick a symbol for the night. Any image and/or anything can be displayed in the sky. Peter the Great, Statue of Liberty, a watchtower of GULAG, Hiroshima nuclear bomb explosion. You name it. Literally. You vote you choose. Choose a new architecture of the city, architecture of light.
Last several years Saint Petersburg experienced a fight between citizens and authorities over the plans to build a 400-meter high tower intimately close to the historical city center. According to an opinion of the majority of experts and citizens the Okhta Centre tower will drastically change historical cities’ skyline. With the same zealousness one can insist on building a skyscraper in Venice.
Alexander Pushkin, the most famous Russian poet. One of his most significant poems reads: “I have erected a non-material monument to myself…that proudly ascends the Alexander Column”