UK Architects Bid For Abramovich cultural district
David Chipperfield Architects has joined other British firms Dixon Jones, the respected Dutch firm OMA MVRDV and nine other shortlisted firms including Russian practices, Alexander Brodsky, Studio 44, Yuri Avvalcumov, Work AC from the United States and French practice Lacaton & Vassal to compete for the largest cultural project to emerge in Russia under private development. The firms were selected through a competition run in London by the Architecture Foundation. This is a boost to a profession which has been severely effected by cut backs at home in the post Olympic period. The winner will oversee a £255 million development in In St Petersburg. The competition will result in the creation of a new cultural and commercial district for the Iris Foundation, an organization founded by Abramovich’s partner Daria Zhukova. The location on New Holland Island is a former army barracks. The St Petersburg branch of Zhukova’s Moscow-based Garage Centre of Contemporary Art will be at the centre of the development, alongside flats office and commercial space. Two new bridges will connect the island to the city,which currently remains a rundown area of the burgeoning capital.The project will take seven years to complete and is expected to create more than 100,000 square meters of useable space on the island which will include the restoration of the beautiful existing 19th century buildings, alongside the new construction.
The competition is financed by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich who was knocked off of the top-three spot on Russia’s official rich list this week. Abramovich has shown an increasing interest in modern art since his relationship with Zhukova began.