Wandering Camera

Album 396
(Translated b
y Ilia Leikin)


We have already touched the topic of "Gazprom City" before.

The plan is to demolish and rebuild a site around Okhta and Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge with Gazprom's office complex, with a glazed tower about 300m in height as a centrepiece. This, of course, would not fit in with the architectural style of the surrounding area, and would negatively affect the appearance of (and the view from) the city's historical centre.


Some time has passed..

"Gazprom City" is now called "Okhta Centre" (apparently, the old name has accumulated too much bad reputation).
To tell the truth, I was quite curious to hear Putin's opinion about this. It would make sense for him to criticise the project, reprimand Gazprom and thus reinforce his own popularity.

In fact, quite the opposite took place. In his TV speech, Putin, though diplomatically, made it clear that he does not mind. Moreover, he agrees rather than disagrees.

Even UNESCO (who have the centre of Saint Petersburg under their protection) have unequivocally spoken out against this project. [1], [2].

The billboard covers the Petrozavod factory, where works have already begun (Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge is towards the right, outside the picture).
The right side of the billboard reads "For the good of Russia". Recently, when I hear such slogans, I feel like I am from another world.
Let's have a look what else is up for demolition. Along the embankment, towards the left of the bridge, then a bit to the right, and then inland. Please note, I am following the plan from Gazprom website (map, map on the website). If this information is not correct, please let me know along with the links to the up-to-date documents.
This building, I assume, is new, built in retro-style.

This watchtower belongs to the fire station N16; it has been here since 1828.

The man on the top is not real ;)

Residential building.

Probably from Stalin's time.

Malookhtinsky Bridge across the Okhta river.

Okhtinskaya Hotel.

Opened in 1991, and still has the late-soviet interior (looks very decent).

Whether it will be demolished is not clear. Gazprom labels it as "border zone".

Now let's go a bit to the right of Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge, again to the border of future construction.
The extensive building - "OAO Shturmanskiye Pribory" (Navigational Instruments), used to be known as "NPO Azimut". In 1806-1809 this was the site of a wooden building "Panopticheskoe instrumentalnoye zavedeniye" (Panoptic Instrument Facility), where compasses and other instruments were manufactured. Since then, the factory has grown considerably.
Looks like this stalinist building (2b) is also part of the factory.

A stalinist residential building.

To the right of this house the zone ends.

And the previous album begins :)

Let's come back to the bridge and go deeper into the block, along Okhta's bank.

From here we can see the buildings of TsKB Mashinostroeniya (Central Construction Bureau of Machine-building).

TsKB Mashinostroeniya was created in 1945, based on the construction bureau and development workshop of the Kirov factory.

It develops equipment for the nuclear industry (centrifuges for the separation of uranium isotopes, pumps for nuclear stations, etc).

TsKB is related to Minatom.

In my view, this is a rather curious building. First of all, because of the large glazed volume on the top.

View from Komarovsky Bridge on the Okhta shore (looking away from Neva).

Practically everything in this photo will be within the construction zone.

Krasnogvardeyskaya Square.

The buildings facing the square (1970s) - will also be demolished.

Of course, these buildings are hardly anything unique or of great historical value. However, in cases like this it is important to consider not the separate buildings, but the site as a whole.

Large square, wide embankment - all this creates comfortable living conditions in the area (I hope, no one assumes that this place will be rebuilt as apartments occupying the same area as before?)

Capitalistic building style is characterised by maximal usage of the available area. To develop new territories, without existing infrastructure and roads, is unprofitable.

If you take a close look at the previous album (especially the satellite map), you will notice that business-centres, shops and apartment blocks are being built in place of planned or existing lawns or in gaps between other buildings.

For example, in the northern part of the city, where I used to live (and still regularly visit), parks are being built up. It is interesting to watch this process over a few years. First, they build a house. They tidy up the area around it, plant extra trees (sometimes they show it on TV - look how nice we are!).
Then they wait for a while. Then the trees are turned into a new building site. And again they plant trees around the new house. This way, gradually, the green area completely disappears. The phenomenon of closed courtyards is starting to reappear in the new developments. I will show you some time. [Note: closed courtyards are formed by walls of apartment blocks standing on all sides, typically with one small entrance. The apartments lack a view and suffer from car fumes. Such courtyards are generally in low esteem by city dwellers.]

OK, enough with the lyrical digression, let's come back to our tour.

This building belongs to Petrozavod, but on this side (facing the square) is the entrance to the business-centre and shops.

Now let's go back towards the Neva's shore. This is a photo from Komarovsky Bridge. On the left - Petrozavod. On the right - apartment blocks along Bolsheokhtinsky prospect.
Some of the buildings are definitely pre-revolutionary.

Dedicated to the Committee for Urban development and Protection of Landmarks (KGIOP):

"Is it too early for you to wake up?
DK Kapranova is no more.
If you keep daydreaming,
You might lose the Winter Palace

(author unknown)
[non-poetic translation]

Back to Neva.

Far ahead (looks close, because Neva makes a turn here) we can see the giant buildings of "Silovye Mashiny" (Power Machinery) - this is the new name for LMZ (Leningradsky Metallichesky Zavod) [Leningrad Metal Plant].


It's funny, only about five years ago the use of word "capitalistic" was a cause for ridicule. It was considered an obsolete stereotype, left over from the soviet times.

Now it's not like that any more.
Looks like the public is finally starting to understand. Still purely intuitively though.

Of course, I could not show all of the buildings within the future construction zone. I hope, at least, this gives some idea.
The last couple of albums turned out a bit bitter.
I was trying to keep a mild tone, but I don't think it worked out.


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