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We are building St. Petersburg. Stadium at Krestvoskiy

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Hello, St. Petersburg! I usually say – fire!

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The stadium at Krestovskiy Island. The site which can be compared in size to a small town, has already become on of St. Petersburg’s biggest construction projects in the 21st century. In December 2016, it will be completed – putting a new major landmark onto the city’s map. 

Vitaliy Lazutkin, CEO “InzhTransStroy SPB”: “It’s a luxurious stadium with 68 thousand capacity. It is totally suitable for hosting semi-finals of the World Cup – since it complies with all modern-day requirements by FIFA”. 

Every day, around 2 thousand people work here. Over 5 million individual working hours have already been spent on building this grandiose stadium. 

The basis of this is seemingly simple, but actually very complex labor of welders. 

Will you record this, or just trust my word?

I have my electrodes and gear. Every professional welder brings his own gear, right?

The one im carrying here and the ones standing there – we call them vintage now. Those used to be operated by 2-3 men, nowadays im doing this on my own. Just take it and go. Here at this table we make preparation materials which we bring to the site

Vladimir Andreev has been working at the site for 5 years, travelling to St. Petersburg from his home city of Samara. 15 days building the stadium, 15 days at home. The shift method is typical for such large-scale projects. 

Vladimir Andreev, welder: “Welding is a serious business, and we have high demands. A welder must know everything about all metals – how you weld them” 

At the construction of such major venue, welders are the key personnel. The overall weight of metal parts of the stadium is 32 thousand tons – which is the weigh of 4 Eiffel towers combined. The venue has used 486 thousand cubic meters of asbestos – that’s 5 times more than used during the construction of London’s famous Wembley stadium. 

Vitaliy Lazutkin, CEO “InzhTransStroy SPB”: “These numbers are indeed crazy. About 40 percent of this asbestos mix is steel parts. And welders are the ones responsible of piecing those together. They are also taking part in connecting the metal body of the stadium”
Hi there, again!

This machine is very simple. Two buttons – on and off. There’s also an output regulator, how much electrical power you want on the end of it. 
Those are really nice gloves they give us. Not just the usual tarp gloves – because when we used those, an occasional spark made its way through. So most of the welders have their hands burnt. But what can you do?

I usually say – fire!

The stadium at Krestovskiy is unique – not only for Russia, but for the world. For the first time in this climate zone, there will be an arena with two technical novelties at the same time – a retractable pitch and retractable roof. 

The pitch will be removed during concerts and events. It will be taken outside of the stadium by means of electric units and pneumatic systems. It will allow keeping the pitch intact during the whole year. When inside the stadium, the retractable roof will make sure the pitch gets enough sunlight, while in only 15 minutes it will be able to protect spectators from nasty weather conditions and keep them warm in the winter.

Vitaliy Lazutkin, CEO “InzhTransStroy SPB”: “Our static roof is installed on pylons and support beams. You may think of this as a bridge – our roof sort of hovers above the stadium itself. 

At this height, two parts of the roof are movable, using rails. From engineering point of view, this has proved to be a very complex structure – which takes into account different kinds of pressure. Like pressure from snow or wind”

Look at our stadium, how beautiful it is. Truly fascinating! Well, not complete yet – but not for long

I get pleasure from seeing what I have done

I love looking at electrodes. They are like flowers, created by sparks. Like an iron flower

Many parts of the construction have been made domestically. For instance, the retractable roof was made in St. Petersburg. But putting complex engineering solutions together is a very hard task. The project designed in 2006 by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa has been revaluated, changed and adapted by Russia’s best engineers. 

Another peculiarity of the new stadium – sharp angle of the stands. Meaning that a spectator will be able to see the pitch perfectly from any seat. It is a very important detail, which is often neglected today while building stadia. 

Vitaliy Lazutkin, CEO “InzhTransStroy SPB”: “We have several designated zones – for ordinary fans, central stands, VIP-stands, VERY VIP zones – those are Sky Boxes – and VERY VERY VIP zones, those are for heads of states. 

As we have reached the summer of 2016, most of the works at the stadium have been completed. In the fall, engineering systems will become operational. In December, it will be handed over to the city.

Krestovskiy Island is the most footballing spot of the city, the heart of the sport. Pele’s Brazil came here, the Olympic banner was raised here in 1980 and Leningrad’s Zenit competed for the golden medals of the Soviet championship in 1984. 

Sergey Shmakov, head of “Lenproekt” workshop (1989-2010): “This stadium has a very long history. Its original design was created by the famed architect Alexander Sergeevich Nikolskiy.  And for those times, it was a genius decision – using considerably small amount of resources, a hill was created using soil from the Gulf of Finland. It formed something of a Greek amphitheater” 

Zenit had its last game at that stadium – named after Kirov - on July 6th 2006, against Dinamo Moscow. After that, light posts were taken down.
Sergey Shmakov, head of “Lenproekt” workshop (1989-2010): “It could not sustain itself in its previous form when the times changed, when capitalism took over. And when our team started performing internationally, a genuine wish for a modern stadium appeared” 

And despite that the football focus has been shifted to Petrovskiy in the last 2 decades, everyone’s waiting for the beautiful game to return to Krestovskiy. 

Vitaliy Lazutkin, CEO “InzhTransStroy SPB”: “Realization of this project is a huge achievement for St. Petersburg’s engineers and technologists. For Russia’s construction industry in general”

A work day of a person employed on a shift method lasts for 11 hours. Welder Andreev doesn’t have a lot of spare time while at the site. 
The best part of work is to go to that harbor over there once we’re off. Especially in spring. We can fish there sometimes and enjoy the sunset.
After Moscow, it feels like im on a resort. I built the Kievskoye highway there, spent days in congested air. Here – its clean air and the view of the Gulf

Parks are very beautiful here, clean and neat too

And lime trees here – wow, so tall and strong. Never seen lime trees like that – reaching out into the sky

Aviation factory in Ulyanovsk, gas refinery in Orenburg, car factory in Tolyatti, Vnukovo airport, the third transportation highway and Leninskiy prospekt in Moscow, as well as different factories across Russia – those are the sites where Vladimir Andreev has worked, with his career spanning over 40 years. There are models of the cities where he was involved in construction – on display at this museum. 
It really looks like the “droplet” that we built at Vnukovo. Almost exactly the same – even this bus stop. After I was done with the airport, I moved to St. Petersburg to build Zenit’s new stadium.

Interestingly enough, the model has more welders  than we have at the site. Look, this one is making a fence – just like we do at the 14th segment. Almost looks like us, I wonder if they used us as a prototype. You can meet your colleague welders everywhere – even at the museum

Soon, another venue will be added onto Vladimir Andreev’s extensive CV – St. Petersburg’s new stadium. Which is not only one of the city’s most important construction sites, but one of the country’s most important too.

Vladimir Andreev, welder:  I’ve always worked on grandiose projects. Time never stands still. For now, im still happy to work. We’ll see what happens later.

Everyone has its own grandiose projects. A born-and-bred resident of St. Petersburg – as well as those who come here to work – are parts of the big city. What will it look like tomorrow? That’s for us to decide. We are building our city together; every single one of us is building St. Petersburg

Vladimir Andreev, welder:  “Whatever I could have done for the victory of Zenit and our national team, I have indeed done. You may kick balls into any side, but – most importantly – aim at the goal. The stadium can take it all”

Now I can go home to my lovely wife. Bye, St. Petersburg

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