St. Petersburg Launches Palace of the Arts as Part of €250 Billion Renovation

The complex will be an 80,000-square-foot multifunctional culture and congress center encompassing a 1,600-seat concert hall, a 2,500-seat conference center and a multimedia studio.

St. Petersburg’s goal of becoming a “cultural capital of Europe” took a big step forward Monday with the announcement of the Palace of the Arts on Vasilievsky Island of St. Petersburg, an 80,000-square-foot multifunctional culture and congress center.

The complex will include 1,600-seat concert hall, a 2,500-seat conference center and a multimedia studio.

“The Palace of the Arts will give St. Petersburg an opportunity to implement a long-term strategic plan — becoming a cultural capital of Europe,” said Eastern European entrepreneur Shandor Demjan, who proposed and promoted the plan.

Demian, chairman of TriGranit, one of the largest property-development firms in Europe, based his plan on the hugely successful Palace of the Arts in Budapest. The Budapest palace was designed by architech Gabor Zaboki and was awarded the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence, known as the architectural Oscar. Zaboki is the co-designer of the St. Petersburg project.

The Palace of the Arts is part of a €250 billion renovation that will include a city tram museum, which is part of a bigger electric transport museum, and renovations to historical buildings in the area. Organizers will put out the call for designs for the museums in 2012

“The construction and management of the complex will create several thousand new jobs for Russian subcontracting companies and specialists,” Demian said. “The project will increase profitability of cultural and business tourism for the city and at the same time St. Petersburg residents will enjoy a new cultural and entertainment center.”

Monday’s press conference was attended by St. Petersburg vice governor Alla Manilova, Demian, Andrew Vajna, Hungarian minister of cinematography, Anton Gubankov and chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee of Culture. 

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