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District patterns. Facades of 1950-70s buildings are being renewed in St. Petersburg


The 1950s-70s buildings will become vibrant. And every district will have its own pattern. Construction firms have begun renewing façades in Nevsky district. Specialists insist - the renovation of this type of facades is done for the first time ever, so they elaborated on work conditions in St. Petersburg's weather. They are planning to renovate 43 buildings in different parts of the city. Alexander Brius found out the specifics of their work.


Elevators begin to rumble, workers are on shift. Monotonous buildings as if become even grayer. But that's only for the time being.

Ilya Grandilevskiy, head engineer of construction control at the Fund of St. Petersburg’s capital renovations: “Here we can see all stages of works on this particular building - from preliminary hazardous fix, meaning removing the unstable parts of façade, until preparation for the final paint job”

The work began in early August, and planned to finish by November. Special methods help resisting St. Petersburg's weather.

Sergey Zudnev, CEO of construction company: “We have a set technology when works are being conducted on the dry side of the building. St. Petersburg’s rains are usually inclined. Meaning, one side of the building is wet, while the other one is dry. So we're trying not to stop working at all”

The quality of such technology is being checked on the spot. Two times a week, head engineer of St. Petersburg’s fund of capital renovation Ilya Grandilevskiy personally examines every building.

Ilya Grandilevskiy, head engineer of construction control at the Fund of St. Petersburg’s capital renovations: “The tiles are not firmly attached. In some places you can literally remove those manually. Here we take it off with our bare hands. These tiles can fall on people's heads and pose risk to residents.

After dangerous tiles are dealt with, and façades have been painted, typical buildings will warm the residents’ hearts with new vibrant colors on the outside, different for each district. And inside they will become literally warmer. Lack of heat in a Soviet style building will be compensated for with the modern isolation materials between the panels.

Sergey Zudnev, CEO of construction company: “Unlike the city center, suburbs have always been a faceless spot. Now these districts will live a totally different life”

In a few years suburbs will become better. The corresponding committee hopes that living in those serial buildings will become more comfortable. Those were built in 1950s-70s. There will be no more ceramic tiles, which have either fallen off or become bleak, windows on staircases will be replaced with shielded glass. Entrance covers will forever be rid of mold, balconies will be improved. St. Petersburg's panel homes have never been renovated on such a large scale before, but it's unsafe to hesitate any longer.

Alexander Brius, reporter: “Façades of these buildings are seeing capital renovation for the first time. It had been argued for quite a long time how this work should be completed. The vice governor of St. Petersburg had recently finalized the decision. He clearly said - five story buildings must be renovated from scaffoldings, the taller ones - using a platform cradle.

The project is experimental; nuances are being determined on the go. Even a concrete color for every building has not yet been selected. Architects have 27 choices and even more when it comes to mixes. We will soon find out how the big city’s suburbs would look like in decades to come.