Sail rushes into the sky

The tallest building in the Belarusian capital now rises 133 metres. Known as the Parus (Sail), it’s located at the crossing of three of Minsk’s busiest streets: Timiryazev, Kalvariyskaya and Maxim Tank. Five minutes by lift takes you to the 30th floor but the final four floors are still only accessible on foot The steps are rather icy but the builders only laugh, as they are used to climbing precarious structures. They originally traversed 15 floors without a lift, carrying tools and construction materials, in worse weather
By Olga Pasiyak

Along the way, we explore the layout; by 2013, residents will be moving into some of the 204 apartments. Their area ranges from 61 square metres to 179, with one to four rooms and two-level penthouses on the upper floors, with access to an open terrace. The views are amazing, revealing the city in its full glory. So far, only 40 apartments have been sold but property developers are confident that the ‘ready to move into’ homes will prove popular. Only a small part of the first floor is to be set aside for commercial outlets, with about 40 percent already sold. Spacious parking for 250 cars is also planned.

Unlike another skyscraper whose construction is to begin a little closer to the centre in spring, the Parus is designed as living accommodation rather than office space. Together, they form an ultra-modern urban ensemble which is sure to add some flavour to Minsk, asserts Vladimir Alexandrovich, the Director General of the developing company. He tells us, “By next April, the first skyscraper in Belarus will also be the first residential building to have a glass faзade. It will serve as a sun screen in summer and reduce heat loss in winter. Being Belarus’ first such building, construction workers have reinforced the structure 3-4 fold more than usually required, to cover themselves; no code exists for such designs.”

Over $50m is being invested, with developers emphasising that only advantages are evident — including new jobs and higher standards of housing. Although skyscrapers are generally considered to be over 150m tall, while the Parus is just 133m, anything over 30 floors is usually designated within the category. Of course, Minsk’s low level skyline and modest population negates the need for skyscrapers on a par with those in the United Arab Emirates.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks will be launched from the roof of the Sail, giving a view from further afield.  Incidentally, Minsk already has a building called the Parus Business Centre, on Melezh Street, but it has only 16 floors. The developers joke, “The more sails we have, the further we’ll sail.”
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