Located in the city centre of Saint Petersburg, the new administrative and business district Nevskaya Ratusha is characterized by a high variety of different uses comprising a government building, business centers, hotels, commercial and public spaces. Its structure is very clear: Along both sides of the plot, two rows of buildings of simple geometry lead towards the city hall, which is heart of the ensemble. To date, two business centers and the city hall have been completed.
Equal building heights and scales as well as equal spaces between the buildings create altogether a harmonic pattern, which moreover ensures a continuous connection with the surrounding. The entrances of the business-centers together with the accesses to several shops, cafés and the fitness-centre are situated around the inner public square. Each building has a two storey-high arcade offering a covered walk leading towards the square.
Both business-centers have a very clear and simple floor plan grid. Being a sit of public administrative bodies, the city hall however became an architectural dominant with its 55 meters height and expressive appearance. Its main distinctive façade facing the Novgorodskaya Street is accentuated by columns. The design of the city hall is focused on the maximum transparency of the administration towards the citizens so they could perceive it by means of particular architectural structures as floor plans, façades or landscaping design.
The central lobby, lit by a cylindrical atrium, is the building’s core, uniting all the ground-floor public spaces. Further spaces for public use are located in the cylindrical inner court yard and the lens-shaped futuristic glass dome. An impressive cylindrical glass elevator for up to 25 persons transports visitors to the observation deck with a panoramic view of the city; here you can also find an exhibition showing different stages in the design of the Ratusha ensemble. Furthermore, the ground floor comprises several lounges, a foyer, a waiting area, a visitors point and an info point, an exhibition hall, a conference hall, a press centre, a book store with a reading room and a café.
The combination of large-scaled glass surfaces with light natural stone details, as columns, pilasters and gateways give the building its striking appearance independent from the daytime or weather conditions. On the sides facing the street and the square standing at a distance of six meters from the façades, form impressive colonnades capped by cornices of stone beams and glass, allowing daylight to fall on the façade. In addition, all fronts are decorated with semi-columns.
The façade of the Ratusha is mainly clad in bright Travertino Romano, while the base has a Nero Impala Granit cladding. Additionally, further natural stones were chosen for individual façade details on both the existing business centres as well as the buildings currently under construction. The coat of arms of Saint Petersburg measuring 5 x 6 metres and made of coloured stones decorates the façade of the Ratusha which faces the inner court yard.
The glass parts of the façades are a double-skin construction with two glass layers of different textures – a combination which provides a unique solution in terms of energy efficiency and acoustic insulation. The outer layer consists of six-meter-high multilayered tempered safety glass, giving the façade a light and vivid appearance.
The dome consists of 12 curvilinear steel frames varying from 1.5 meters at the base to 40 centimeters at the top of the dome. To ensure best possible viewing conditions, the glazing on the observation deck is of white glass with minimal pigmentation. Additionally, the top part of the glazing has a layer of solar protection glass. The dome’s distinctive elliptical shape has already become an important feature in the panorama of the city and a symbol of this new neighbourhood.
Sergei Tchoban, born in Saint Petersburg, is a Russian-German architect., He studied architecture at the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. He is leading partner of TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten, Berlin as well as director of the architectural studio SPEECH in Moscow. Tchoban designed and built several internationally known buildings, such as the Federation Complex in Moscow. He curated twice the Russian Pavilion for the Architectural Biennale in Venice and in 2015 he was the architect of the Russian Pavilion for the EXPO in Milan. 2018 Sergei Tchoban received the European Prize for Architecture by Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.