By Viktar Korbut
Guidebooks on Minsk are soon to include descriptions of the new Kempinski hotel complex: ‘Its facades are in the traditional style of the city’s central avenues, with special details in natural stone creating a unique and interesting environment. An embankment has been especially made on which city residents can rest, with a wonderful recreation zone nearby, featuring restaurants, shops and a promenade area. There are also paths to the parks on both sides of the river’. The complex will be ready by late 2013, connected to Minsk’s first electricity station (built in the late 19th century in neo-Gothic style). The electricity station and ‘Kempinski’ branch both appeared in the 1890s.
Hotel inside electricity station
International Kempinski Hotels SA, which manages 45 hotels in 30 countries, was established in 1897, in Germany. The hotel on the bank of the River Svisloch will be the latest addition to the group, which is one of the oldest chains of deluxe hotels in the world.
Minsk’s Kempinski Hotel is being designed by Moscow’s architectural association — SpeeCH, with European-known architect Sergei Tchoban as its chief partner. The investment costs are being kept secret but each square metre (including the cost of interior decoration, furnishings and other expenses) is likely to cost $5,000. Accordingly, the project should be worth around $250m. Since 1995, Mr. Tchoban has headed the Berlin Office of NPS Tchoban Voss architectural bureau; his projects include such landmark Berlin buildings as the Cubix Cinema, the AquaDom Complex, the Arndt Gallery, the synagogue in Munstersche Street, and others throughout Germany. One of his most impressive works in Russia is the Federation Tower in Moscow, implemented jointly with Peter Paul Schweger.
Igor Chernyavsky, Head of the Culture Ministry’s Department for the Protection of Historical-Cultural Heritage and Restoration, tells us how the electricity station will match the new hotel. “Those parts which were attached to the electricity station in the 1950s are being dismantled, leaving only the facade and a small building which now houses a transformer substation from the late 19th century. The facade no longer boasts its previously neo-Gothic features, which need to be restored.” He explains that the buildings are to be ‘moved slightly to the side — to the bridge over the Svisloch’. European and global history has examples of buildings being moved, with a record set in Moscow in 1939; its Mossovet (Moscow Soviet) building — which now houses the Mayoral Office — was moved 13.6m, in just 41 minutes! Communication lines remained in place as the building was placed on a roller, supported by a steel frame and lifted on jacks. Naturally, the project in Minsk can easily be realised.
Waterslide on the avenue
Next year, an aqua-park is to be launched in Minsk, on Pobediteley Avenue, constructed in record time. Minsk Mayor Nikolai Ladutko tells us that it is due to cost around $80m. Sections will be in the open air, with swimmers kept comfortable with warm water and air inside the slides. As a result, the attraction will be open year round.
In summer, 3,500 to 4,400 people are expected to visit, with winter figures slightly lower at 2,700 to 3,400. Market research shows that Minsk needs three aqua-parks.
Where the railway leads
By 2030, a new railway station will have been built near Minsk. It is likely to appear in the district of Shabany, in the south-east of Minsk, behind the ring-road. A site has been reserved, from where the high-speed railway line is to start, connecting Minsk and Moscow. A metro line is also to be laid to the new railway station.