By Olga Zhestova
Minsk’s Tsentralny bus station opened in 1962, offering the first regular routes through Belarus and on to Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. The two storey wooden building operated for 45 years but, in 2007, was demolished to build a modern multi-functional complex, including new premises.
At the time, a large entertainment complex was being planned close to Privokzalnaya Square. Moreover, the site lacked enough parking spaces. With this in mind, the city authorities decided to solve the problem by reconstructing Tsentralny, with a new object located in Bobruiskaya Street. This unites a bus station, trading companies, offices, restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and a major parking area — all under a single roof.
Architects have designed the 300m building to match the neighbouring railway station, forming a harmonious complex. Naturally, the limited space required constructive solutions: floors starting from a height of 6 metres, with platforms located beneath.
The building stands out not only for its external appearance but for its original technological approaches of construction. Specialists faced a problem at the preparatory stage, needing to remove all the old engineering communications from the construction site. Moreover, the real situation didn’t always coincide with documentation. As a result, this part of the work was the most complicated, lasting for eighteen months.
The construction and functional characteristics of the building have required the use of new technologies. The customer desired as few as possible supporting columns inside, to create open spaces — beautiful and convenient. Belarus had never before applied this technology and decided to use the method of French Freycinet: the load of the ceilings is distributed along cables (built in to the contour of plates and able to hold a huge weight).
Major obstacles are now in the past, with the site to open in stages: the bus station in April, and the remainder in September. The wing hosting Tsentralny is almost ready, with external work close to finishing. In the coming days, the complex will be supplied with electricity. Meanwhile, final fittings in the remainder of the building are underway. A seven-screen cinema is to be located on the upper floor, seating over 1,000 people. This is an addition to the initial project but is also due to be ready on time.