Launch Slideshow

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Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre

Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre

  • The Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre provides an indoor space where residents of Surgut, Russia, can escape the Siberian landscape and still-nascent urban context.

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    The Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre provides an indoor space where residents of Surgut, Russia, can escape the Siberian landscape and still-nascent urban context.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    The Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre provides an indoor space where residents of Surgut, Russia, can escape the Siberian landscape and still-nascent urban context.

  •  Because the days are often dark and desolate, van Egeraat focused on creating apertures in the façade to break up the elevation, rather than to allow for views. He cut vertical strips of glazing into the façade, which reinforce the irregular geometries of the building envelope. Integrated lighting in recessed lines that cut across the façade activates the building at night.

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    Because the days are often dark and desolate, van Egeraat focused on creating apertures in the façade to break up the elevation, rather than to allow for views. He cut vertical strips of glazing into the façade, which reinforce the irregular geometries of the building envelope. Integrated lighting in recessed lines that cut across the façade activates the building at night.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    Because the days are often dark and desolate, van Egeraat focused on creating apertures in the façade to break up the elevation, rather than to allow for views. He cut vertical strips of glazing into the façade, which reinforce the irregular geometries of the building envelope. Integrated lighting in recessed lines that cut across the façade activates the building at night.

  • Facade detail

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    Facade detail

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    Façade detail

  • Facade at dusk, with site light fixtures in foreground.

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    Facade at dusk, with site light fixtures in foreground.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    Façade at dusk, with site light fixtures in foreground.

  • The web of coves cut into the facade light up at dusk.

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    The web of coves cut into the facade light up at dusk.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    The web of coves cut into the façade light up at dusk.

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    Courtesy Designed by Erick van Egeraat

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    Courtesy Designed by Erick van Egeraat

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    Courtesy Designed by Erick van Egeraat

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    Courtesy Designed by Erick van Egeraat

  • Visitors enter the center either via the parking levels, or through the ground-floor street entrance, which brings them into the atrium space at the southern end of the building.

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    Visitors enter the center either via the parking levels, or through the ground-floor street entrance, which brings them into the atrium space at the southern end of the building.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    Visitors enter the center either via the parking levels, or through the ground-floor street entrance, which brings them into the atrium space at the southern end of the building.

  • A lobby in the base of the atrium contains shop directories and elevator and escalator access to the upper levels.

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    A lobby in the base of the atrium contains shop directories and elevator and escalator access to the upper levels.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    A lobby in the base of the atrium contains shop directories and elevator and escalator access to the upper levels.

  • A typical retail floor has storefronts and kiosks, paired with places to sit and meet people, as many of Surguts residents use the space less for directed shopping, and more as a community hub.

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    A typical retail floor has storefronts and kiosks, paired with places to sit and meet people, as many of Surguts residents use the space less for directed shopping, and more as a community hub.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    A typical retail floor has storefronts and kiosks, paired with places to sit and meet people, as many of Surgut’s residents use the space less for directed shopping, and more as a community hub.

  • The southern end of the building is dominated by a full-height atrium, which is capped by a vortex-like lighting installation that descends from the ceiling.

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    The southern end of the building is dominated by a full-height atrium, which is capped by a vortex-like lighting installation that descends from the ceiling.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    The southern end of the building is dominated by a full-height atrium, which is capped by a vortex-like lighting installation that descends from the ceiling.

  • View of atrium ceiling from below.

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    View of atrium ceiling from below.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    View of atrium ceiling from below.

  • The illuminated Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre stands out in the evening skyling of Surgut.

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    The illuminated Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre stands out in the evening skyling of Surgut.

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    Alexey Naroditskiy

    The illuminated Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre stands out in the evening skyline of Surgut.

  • Rednering showing the facade at night with projected advertisements.

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    Rednering showing the facade at night with projected advertisements.

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    Courtesy Designed by Erick van Egeraat

    Rednering showing the façade at night with projected advertisements.

At just over a year old, the Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre, designed by Rotterdam-based Erick van Egeraat, is not much older than its home city of Surgut, which sprung up out of the then-USSR’s harsh Siberian landscape 40 years ago. This city of just over 300,000 owes its existence to nearby oil and gas resources, and it serves as a home base for people working in those industries. But a subarctic climate (icy temperatures and short days in the winter) renders the city inhospitable to those who don’t have work as a reason to keep them there. At its core, Vershina is meant to add some welcome amenities to this industrial area.

“It’s a rough, urban context,” Erick van Egeraat says. It’s characterized by “housing blocks for workers in the oil and gas industries. It’s as though Soviet times never stopped. And because it’s so cold, there’s not a lot to do, so people spend a lot of time in their houses.”

The trade and entertainment center includes shopping, of course, but also restaurants, a children’s area, a climbing wall, and a nightclub. “We really wanted to maximize the interior possibilities since it’s so cold for most of the year,” van Egeraat says. “We really pushed as many square meters into the building as we could.”

Organized around a full-height atrium that dominates the southern half of the structure, the eight-story building is meant to provoke interactions between community residents, and to encourage the kind of casual spending that large-scale retail projects demand. “The atrium really helps with orientation,” van Egeraat says. “Visitors can circulate, and they will always know how to get around and discover new places in the center.” It should come as no surprise that early experiments in broadly programmed retail space—such as Minneapolis’s Mall of America—continue to get developed in subarctic climates. In Surgut, Vershina functions as an interiorized public space overlaid on a capitalist bubble.

“The building is really inward-looking since there’s really no need to look out,” explains van Egeraat, citing the bleak urban fabric and lack of sunlight (in December, there can be as little as five and a half hours of sunlight per day). Openings in the envelope take the form not of ribbons of windows, but rather of sharp, glazed cuts through the building’s skin that provide occasional sight lines from inside the space. The façade is further crisscrossed by a series of coves with an integrated lighting system; at night, the fixtures create a network of lines of light on the surface.

The white panels that form the skin can also be used to display custom advertisements that fit like puzzle pieces over the whole building’s façade, bringing some dynamism to Surgut’s relatively nonexistent skyline. “We wanted to create a building that was something entirely new for the community, and something that would be recognizable,” van Egeraat says. The playful geometries are carried through to the 37,050-square-meter (398,802-square-foot) interior, where many walls and columns are slanted in an effort to carve out unique spaces from the vast building volume.

The client, a civil contractor, began construction on the project in 2004, but became dissatisfied with the design as it had been conceived by a local architect. They paid a visit to van Egeraat—who maintains an office in Moscow to oversee ongoing projects in Russia—to inquire about taking over the project, which he agreed to do. But because of this arrangement, the firm was handed a predetermined footprint that it could then author in section and elevation.

Though the form and façade are themselves unprecedented to this particular context, the program, too, is a novelty. “People know shopping centers, and people know entertainment facilities, but most people here have not seen them combined,” van Egeraat says. “People go there to just spend the day. It’s not really like the American models where people are necessarily shopping actively. People are just using the space to get together and have fun.”


Project Credits

Project  Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre, Surgut, Russia
Client  SKU
Architect  Designed by Erick van Egeraat, Rotterdam, the Netherlands—Erick van Egeraat, Roemer Pierik, Balázs (architects); Roemer Pierik (associate); Alda Jesus, Cláudia Valadinhas, Sanne van der Burgh, Daniel Rodrigues, Tanya Albertoe, Nick Searle (project team, conceptual design); Adorján Portik, Andrea Kopár, András Dobos, Anikó Petocz-Tóth, Anna Döbrossy, Cock Peterse, Csaba Rajnai, Edina Péli, Eniko Korompay, Eszter Kajdócsi, Flóra Koszeghy, István Balogh, János Tréki, Karol Schultz, Krisztián Kelner, Lóránt Perényi, Lukasz Skorek, Maria Garcia Serdio, Piroska Igaz, Polina, Renato Machado Silva, Roman Kristesiashvili, Sanne van der Burgh, Zoltán Bozsik, Zoltán Németh, Zsófia Fülöp (project team, project and working documents); Roman Kristesiashvili (aesthetic supervision); Steven Simons, Pintér Tamás (renderings)
Project Manager  SKU—Rustam Mirsayapov
Structural Engineer  MTM Budapest
Mechanical and Electrical Services Engineer  SMG-SISU Budapest
Retail Consultants  Ricci—Illya Shuravin
Landscape Architect  Designed by Erick van Egeraat
Interior Architect  Designed by Erick van Egeraat
Renderings and Visualizations  DPI
Models  Model Workshop
Size  37,050 square meters (398,802 square feet)
Cost  €74.1 million ($96.86 million)