Lakhta Center is a multifunctional complex in St. Petersburg with the Gazprom headquarter and public spaces occupying a third of the area. Construction was completed in October 2018, now start work on the arrangement of business and public areas. The opening will take place in about a year, when the complex will be fully prepared to meet guests.
Kids’ Science Discovery Center at “Lakhta Center”
If, just a few years ago, the project was the frequent target of accusations suggesting an inhumane attitude towards St. Petersburg’s rich heritage and historical architecture, today, the corporation can hardly be faulted for lack of love for humanity. Gazprom has attended not only to the office workers who will soon be toiling in the futuristic tower made of glass and concrete soaring 462 meters into the sky (for comparison: the height of business center Atlantic City is just 110 meters), but to our future as well, or more precisely – to the children who will grow up to shape that future.
Kids’ Science Discover Center will be situated in an area spanning some 7,000 square meters at the base of the tower. Expressing an interest in literally “incubating” future personnel are many of the city’s top schools, such as ITMO, the Polytechnical University, and LETI. Special zones for laboratories and exploratoriums have already been designated for these academic institutions. The project has been approved by the Council of Rectors of St. Petersburg Institutes of Higher Education. The idea is to “recruit” future geniuses of engineering and technology while they’re still at a tender age, starting roughly at grade five, by holding various academic olympics and tests in the city’s elementary schools. The whiz kids will then be expected to take coursework developed by university specialists which will continue for several years – right up to enrollment. This type of fundamental preparatory study is expected to help satisfy the growing demand for skilled technical specialists.
During the education process, the kids will be able to become acquainted in a timely fashion with the atmosphere, teaching style and actual professors at a given university. By the time they graduate from high school, the youngsters will be able to make a mature, conscious decision about their future enrollment.
Aside from the laboratories, the center will also feature a working planetarium, interactive modules, a science theater – auditoriums with seating for 125, a sophisticated multimedia library, and a suite of training-simulators that can be used to learn different skills – like driving a car, for instance. The edutainment museum is expected to be divided into thematic zones, in which fundamental scientific pursuits are visualized – from the straightforward “Falling in Outer Space” to the more intriguing “What Yellow Smells Like.” It’s a destination for taking classes, or simply for learning something new and interesting in a matter of ninety minutes. The designers paid special attention to the issue of access for population groups with limited mobility: mothers pushing strollers and people who get around in wheelchairs will be able to move about the entire building of the center in comfort.
“Lakhta Center” educational project is probably the most sweeping and ambitious endeavor of its kind in all of Russia. If project implementation proceeds according to plan, by 2018 it should be able to seriously compete with similar complexes at the international level.