Saint Petersburg – Together with Danish engineering consultancy company Ramboll and London-based Pascall+Watson Architects, Grimshaw – one of the UK’s leading architectural practices, which has been working internationally for over 30 years, building on its broad scope of expertise to provide the highest quality design services – recently rung the curtain down on the first phase of a master plan for Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Expecting to handle 12 million passengers a year, and 5 million more once the second phase is completed – scheduled to be up and running by 2015 – Pulkovo International Airport, the third busiest in Russia after Moscow's Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports, is intended to provide access to a comprehensive network of flights, balancing the need for a sustained growth with the impact on the city’s community. ‘This development is a quantum leap, easily holding its own among the world’s top airports. I think the future for Saint Petersburg is bright; Pulkovo will become a large hub, drawing business from Asia and Eastern Europe,’ explains Mark Middleton, managing partner at Grimshaw.
The new terminal’s layout, though it operates efficiently – unsurprisingly, since the architects have proven themselves to be committed to quality and functionality in previous projects – underlies a context-driven design, from which results an archipelago-like spatial configuration, loosely recalling the geography of Saint Petersburg, a city made up of a cluster of islands connected by a few hundred bridges. Middleton goes on to say: ‘We are known for our expressive structures and attention to detail. We wanted to keep producing work well-informed by practical realities while making this particular building more about form and space.’
The cold, harsh climate in Russia represents a challenge to the architects. It calls for innovative design and construction solutions to create a building that matches the initial creative visions and meets most of the artistic ambitions. The thermal performance of the envelope has thus been discussed at length so as to make it a prominent aesthetic design feature without compromising the users’comfort.
Photos Yuri Molodkovets