Art and Architecture

Contemporary art

In 2013 the airport started the program for attraction pieces of the modern art To Pulkovo. The airport focuses on sculptures and paintings made by Petersburgers and presenting contemporary art.

"It is a good omen that a place to modern artists in the new terminal Pulkovo is found now.

Practice of installation of works of the latest art at the airports somehow passed us — it was necessary to fly to Venice to see Botero’s sculpture in Marco Polo or to Singapore to marvel at Kinetic Rain by ART + COM, the biggest in the world dynamic object.

To be fair we will note that Pulkovo-1 by architect Alexander Zhuk didn’t need any art additives: through pillars-sails was sculptural solution per se (it is a pity that late self-made reconstructions of interior spoiled an image absolutely). Anyway, the new terminal is faced by bronze by Dmitry Kaminker, a quite modern thinking sculptor who used to manage to put in the city some rather sharp works (a sculpture “Oarsman”, etc.), contrary to conservative stylist brand of Petersburg plasticity.

In front of the terminal we see some kind of a monument to the Pioneer of Flying: the generalized image of the Russian pilot of the first aircraft times, when each flight was unpredictable. Pioneer of Flying, on Kaminker, is as some kind of aviacentaur: the whatnot (aircraft) and the figure of the pilot are a whole. The monument is cast from bronze, a heavy material, and this fact was played up by the author: the nature of metal seems as to be overcome by the flight idea. Kaminker achieves visual effect of dynamics — a feeling is created that the whatnot is shaken on the fly, turns downwind, as Calder Mobile. Or perhaps as a weather vane on a roof...

In general this moment of the archaic (especially notable against high-tech architecture) — in material processing (the bronze which has been impressively treated as a tree), in a design, with its “unreliability” and an ephemerality, — from what I can see, bears big figurative loading. It erases inertia of perception of flight as an ordinary, automatic thing and returns us to the feeling of flight as a miracle. Archaic, children’s surprise in front of the very possibility of a separation from the earth: the device is heavier than air and we are not fuzzes but we fly, fly!

In terminal interiors there are works of two not less known masters: Alexander Florensky and Dmitriy Shorin. They deserve separate conversation. As a whole I will repeat: the initiative (and the risk!) to invite really modern artists for work on so important project creates certain expectations."

Alexander Borovsky, Art critic, Honored Worker of Arts of Russia

Three projects are dated for opening of the new terminal

Pilot by Dmitry Kaminker, a sculpture staying in front of the main entrance to terminal

Dmitry Kaminker is one of outstanding Petersburg sculptors. His monumental works are established in many cities of Russia, Germany, Denmark, Canada and other countries. In the State Russian Museum collection there are seventeen works of the sculptor. Dmitry Kaminker’s works are also presented in the State Tretyakov Gallery collection and the museums of other Russian cities.

As in the Soviet March of pilots, the sculptor enclosed “instead of a heart — a flaming motor” in the hero, the wings grew behind his back, and further the rest part of the biplane was also attached. Pioneers of aircraft used to operate the similar planes.

Sense of the composition is that builders of the most up-to-date airport of the XXI century pay a tribute of respect to people who created aircrafts and flied by planes constructed from laths, wires, cardboard.

“Probably, it is an angel or even a guardian angel of the airport. But in general externally I did it similar to Boris Rossinsky — one of the first pilots of Russia. He even before revolution was engaged in organization of airmanship (Rossinsky was called ‘the grandfather of the Russian aviation’). With a small beard he reminded a fairy-tale character, hero and a little bit Don Quixote. The generalized, fantastic and historical character has come out”.

Dmitry Kaminker

Alexander Florensky’s illustrations to his own book named Petersburg Alphabet has decorated a hall of baggage delivery

Alexander Florensky is the well-known Petersburg artist, one of the founders of the Leningrad art group named Mitki, the author of illustrations to Sergey Dovlatov’s cult three-volume edition (90th). Florensky’s graphics was always a visit card of Mitki.

Petersburg Alphabet is a collection of landscape sketches of the city toponyms on all letters of the Russian alphabet. For example, on a letter O — Obvodniy (Bypass) channel, commented with its length, width and when it was dug. And on a Cyrillic letter C (Latin S) — the Smolensk cemetery, snow on it, a dog on the snow, the nearby Smolenka river and a toilet at some distance.

“Petersburg Alphabet presents 33 pictures about my own St. Petersburg, but I hope that it can be interesting for both to a Petersburger and a visitor, and each viewer will find something for himself there”.

Alexander Florensky

Exhibition of Alexander’s Petersburg Alphabet was timed to coincide with releasing the similarly-named book published with the support of Pulkovo airport.

Girls angels in Departure hall

Joint project of Pulkovo airport and ERARTA Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg

The sculptures created by the Petersburg artist Dmitry Shorin represent girls with the planes’ wings ingrown into their backs. Sculptures are a peculiar embodiment of dream about the flying human, which was dreamt by Leonardo da Vinci and the Russian futurists. Wings on the sculptures are reduced copies of wings of modern aircrafts.

“My sculptures are as admiration of human dream of flight! After all we flew off, having overcome terrestrial gravitation and a sound barrier, time and space.”

Dmitry Shorin

There are four of these sculptures throughout the airport.

Cooperation with museums

In 2013 Pulkovo airport started cooperating with the Russian Museum. The main exposition part of the museum occupies five buildings: Mikhailovsky Palace (main building of the museum) with Benois wing, Mikhaylovsky (Engineering Castle), Marble Palace, Stroganov Palace and Summer Palace of Peter the Great. In the airport halls you can watch the movie about the Russian Museum. Pulkovo airport invites guests to visit this remarkable museum.

Pulkovo-1 terminal (a part of the new air terminal complex)

Pulkovo-1 building will be closed soon on reconstruction, and later, by fall of 2014 will be appended with the new terminal to become a part of the air terminal complex.

Pulkovo-1 terminal was built in 1965–1972 according to the design of the architect Alexander Zhuk (1917–2008) and opened in May, 1973. The building is still too young to be an officially recognized monument, but the architectural community of Petersburg considers it as that, calling it as one of the best projects which was carried out in the USSR in the 1970th years. The building is about the most outstanding representative of the late modernism that has remained up to now.

Alexander Zhuk’s main godsend at Pulkovo design — is five light lamps which are an outstanding example of connection of functionality with esthetics which has defined shape of the whole building. In addition, lamps serve as its support. Each of glass domes as though “flows down” on the bearing column in the center. Round columns, under lamps, flights through all floors of the building are made. It allows passengers to be guided in the air terminal space. For this work Alexander Zhuk was awarded ranks of the winner of the USSR State Award.

The light lamps are popularly styled as “five glasses”. There is an amusing legend. It is said that Alexander Zhuk made out that idea in an ordinary Soviet thick glass tumbler. They also say that allegedly once the architect was drinking with colleagues and decided that would suffice and turned his glass on a table. And the image of future building was born in his brain at this moment.

“The building of Pulkovo-1 airport is a wonderful example of the Leningrad architecture of 1960 1970-s. Its value is high as it was created at a time when the monotonous model construction pushed out aggressively an individual author’s creativity.

Constructive and aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete were implemented convincingly in the building design. Parallelepiped sprawled on the ground is subordinated to the topic of horizontals, as it was the custom in the neo-constructivist style of those years. But architects avoided the right angle dictate by having paid special attention to the silhouette. Five glass volumes rise above the flat roof resembling giant overturned glasses. Being raised on the internal mushroom-like supports, they fill with light the space of the main hall.

Pulkovo-1 airport was commissioned in 1973. The following year, the authors were awarded the State Award. Now it is the time to include the building into the monuments protected by the state”.

Boris Kirikov, an architectural historian, a winner of Antsiferov award for the overall contribution to contemporary Petersburg studies.

The new terminal of Pulkovo airport was opened on December 4, 2013

To emphasize the Petersburg style, architects used elements for which the city is well-known, namely bridges, rivers, islands.

The design of the new terminal building Pulkovo airport was developed by the London architectural bureau Grimshaw & Partners Ltd. The bureau also worked on design of many airports, including those of Zurich, Manchester, Kuala Lumpur and others, and the railway station of Waterloo in London.

The wavy ceiling on the first floor of the terminal is a metaphor of the Neva River and its bends, and the original roof of complex design, becoming gold by sunlight — causes in memories gilded domes of the city churches and its bright night lights. By the way, if you are looking at the roof from within, it looks like an accumulation of small paper planes. Glass elements of the roof are referring to the well-known light lamps of the historical building of Pulkovo-1 — it is a tribute to the architect of Pulkovo-1 Alexander Zhuk. Bridges are linking two islands (parts) of the terminal: the part where passengers check-in for the flight and the part located after the border control.