Lord Foster's Russian Projects in Jeopardy
Award-winning British architect Lord Norman Foster has been called the west's only really high-profile architect to conquer Russia, with seven megabucks projects currently in the works there. However, the Art Newspaper reports that most of them are now facing severe obstacles due to the country's economic decline, which has done damage to their rich oligarch sponsors. For starters, the $2 billion Russia Tower in Moscow, planned as the tallest building in Europe, has stalled because the billionaire developer couldn't secure financing, as my colleague Deidre Woollard reported back in November. Work has also come to a halt on redevelopment of the Hotel Rossia site on Red Square, plans for which include a concert hall, museum, five-star hotels, luxury apartments, offices and retail space.
Meanwhile, a scheme to convert New Holland, an artificial island in St. Petersburg built by Peter the Great in the early 18th century, into a commercial and cultural hub slated for 2010, is far behind schedule as costs have skyrocketed by some $200 million. On the bright side, Foster's massive $400 million expansion plan for Moscow's State Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, is on track thanks to the patronage of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Foster hardly lacks for work in any case; as we recently reported, he's heading up a $1.5 billion project to design a fleet of Falcon 7X jets for NetJets Europe (above).