By Vladimir Bibikov
Minsk has enjoyed huge amounts of construction over the past few decades, with landmark sites being erected every year: congress halls, high-rise office buildings, hotel complexes and residential housing. Each is designed to be unique. The grand silver dome of Minsk-Arena (for cultural and sporting events) recently appeared in Pobediteley Avenue. It is one of the largest in Europe in terms of seating and, being full of light, attracts top international stars of sport and stage. In 2014, it will host the major matches of the IIHF World Championships.
Minsk-Arena has been praised by specialists and architects, leading to Minsk’s Belgosproekt Design Institute winning the 9th national contest for best construction in Belarus for 2010-2011. The national competition is part of the International Festival of Architecture, whose range is impressive. Around 100 works from 12 states were entered this year in the CIS category, while about 300 works were seen in the young architects’ nomination. Professionals from Belarusian design organisations exhibited their pieces alongside diploma students from architectural and construction universities and colleges. Meanwhile, children and teenagers drew their ideas for buildings in the present and future. Around 650 works went on display in total.
“What we’ve seen here is wonderful,” notes Armen Sardarov, a member for the Leonardo young architects’ competition and Dean of the Belarusian National Technical University’s Architecture Department, sharing his impressions. “The forum brings together a wide range of talents, ages and experience. Our BNTU students presented 40 works, taking part in their fourth competition this year; they’ve won recognition in Yerevan and in Prague for their New York skyscraper design.”
As ever, the event witnessed lively professional discussion; architects from Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Serbia, Germany and, even, Mauritius attended. Prominent architects held master classes for colleagues and students and a session of the International Council of Architects was organised.
“Minsk’s festival allows architects from various countries to liaise closely,” notes one foreign guest. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share experience and compare your ideas about architecture with world trends. Many business contacts originate here. The Belarusian architectural school has long since gained recognition and has now become even more professional.”
The truth of this is evident in its forward-looking architectural projects. A hotel and residential complex — being built in one of Minsk’s most prestigious districts, poetically named Lebyazhiy — was recognised as the best in its nomination. Belarusian Alexander Korbut and his team from Vilniaus Architekturos JSC took an honorary diploma for the design and the first symbolic stone has already been laid. Minsk is set to gain in beauty and majesty while architects continue to be so inspired.