Since it opened a year ago, the Vershina Trade and Entertainment Centre has become a central point, in more ways than one, to the 300,000 inhabitants of the Russian city of Surgut, a Siberian settlement that has become a centre of oil and gas production since the 1960s. The building, designed by Rotterdam-based architect Erick van Egeraat, offers retail spaces, sports areas, dance studios, restaurants, bars, and an underground night-club across a total gross floor area of 35.000 square meters. The concept behind it is based on what the site’s geography and climate dictated: a dialectical play between dark and light, solidity and transparency, openness and concealment.
The building is integrated into the landscape as a block of ice with fractures at different angles. The external glass facade forms a lighting screen onto which moving advertisements can be projected. The primary and bigger cuts in the facade divide this basic mass to allow daylight in and radiate artificial light out at night. These cuts are accompanied by secondary and narrower cuts in the facades. Both cuts in the building skin allow for the building to become a beacon of light during the nine dark winter months and provide a contrast to the repetitive panel housing that defines the surrounding architecture.
The inside mirrors the neutral colours of the outside but an added touch of green-frosted glass provides an elegant background to the luxurious retailing spaces and numerous socialising areas.
Images © Alexey Naroditskiy