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2021 GASU me Arctic Blog Meet summer school teachers

How to develop eco-tourism in the Russian Arctic: discover the online summer school results at SPbGASU

From 5 to 16 July, the Summer School Architecture of Eco-Tourism Complexes in the Arctic: Opening “Terra Incognita” was organized by St Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in collaboration with Hokkaido University (Japan).

The final roundtable of the summer school on July 16, 2021

Participants had an intensive program incorporating lectures, discussions, workshops and design of their own projects under the guidance of summer school curators.

The first thematic lecture part was devoted to the history of Arctic Architecture, its potential and features of building design in this specific climate. Thus, Professor of the Hokkaido University Norihiro Watanabe shared his experience in information modeling of snow flows in the city of Sapporo.

Professor Takafumi Fukuyama spoke about a new direction in tourism — «snow and ice» tourism, from which students learned how a harsh winter can become a tourism brand. The lecture by Professor Taro Mori was devoted to the issues of thermal inspection of buildings in a cold climate zone.

The three other lectures were given by SPbGASU teachers. Fedor Perov, Head of Department of Architectural Design, shared his many years of experience working with Arctic Architecture at LenZNIIEP, and spoke about modern projects for the Arctic. Igor Ivanov, Associate Professor of Department of Architectural Design, presented a project of a cultural center for the city of Vorkuta, made in his workshop by a graduate of the Master’s program in 2021, Daria Vabishchevich.

Aleksandra Eremeeva, Associate Professor of Department of Architectural Environment and Landscape Design, coordinator of the international summer school, spoke about the architecture of ecotourism complexes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, people especially want to avoid crowds in noisy cities. At the same time, architecture for ecotourism should be in harmony with nature, not damage it. The development of such complexes became the task of the workshop.

After the theoretical part, the students worked in teams and developed a design project for a tourist complex in the Russian Arctic. In the course of workshops, they received consultations of their curators. The results were presented on the final day of the school.

SPA complex on water by the Kirovsk team

The first team became the authors of the project for the complex in the city of Kirovsk, the Murmansk region. According to students, one of the main advantages of this area is the mountain landscape. The main tourism activities are allocated there. First of all, these are hiking routes, both for prepared tourists and beginners. At the same time, a large Khibiny model will be installed inside the complex itself: this will make it easier for guests to decide on the route.

The project includes construction of houses on the mountain peaks, from which you can easily observe the northern lights. Tourists will get there using a special lift. The very concept of the tourist complex is based on the local natural identity: the facade of the building resembles a mountain in its shape.

The design project visualization by the Franz Josef Land team

The other group of students worked on a different site – the Franz Josef Land. They developed a project of the tourist complex for this territory. When creating the concept, the students applied SWOT analysis, which revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the territory, as well as the growth zones and risks.

According to the students, the island location makes boat trips one of the most attractive tourist options. Nevertheless, the extremely strong winds blowing here will significantly affect the routes.

The season activities deveopled by the Teriberka team

The third team of students worked at the developing of the design project for the Teriberka village. The identity of the tourist complex is based on the remoteness of the village combined with good transport accessibility, impressive water landscapes, and year-round fishing and watching sea animals. The facade of the tourist center with its elongated shape refers to the silhouette of a whale.

According to Kristina Kozlenkova, the secluded location of Teriberka may seem gloomy, but this characteristic is also part of the identity of the complex and helps to create a special atmosphere of contemplation necessary for a relaxing holiday. Among the leisure scenarios offered to tourists is a visit to a spa center, a museum and an underwater restaurant.

The school mentors highly appreciated the presented projects. ‘The experience of working with the participants has become truly unique,’ ​​said Iana Elizarova, senior lecturer, Department of Architectural Environment and Landscape Design, SPbGASU.

Fedor Perov , Dean of Faculty of Architecture and Head of Department of Architectural Design at SPbGASU, is also confident that projects completed at a very good level will certainly become an important part of the students’ portfolio and help them to immerse more in the context of Arctic Architecture.

‘The summer school was a very rewarding and inspiring experience,’ commented Sachiko Kato, student exchange specialist at Hokkaido University, ‘I hope it expanded the students’ knowledge and allowed them to take a fresh look at familiar things.’

The certificates for summer school participants

The school participants expressed their gratitude to the organizers and teachers of the school. ‘It was very cool and unusual to work in a multicultural team under the guidance of wonderful curators who encouraged our ideas and helped us develop them,’ said Kristina Kozlenkova, SPbGASU student.

These activities will certainly remain in my memory for a long time,’ commented Zimeng Liu, the summer school student from China, ‘and I am confident that the experience gained here will help me in building my career‘.

I am very glad that the International School on Arctic Architecture has received a positive feedback from our colleagues from Japan and students from different countries,’ said Aleksandra Eremeeva, the summer school coordinator. ‘This is our first experience. The online format has made it possible to create an international team without borders. We will develop this program further. The new dates for the summer school 2022 will be announced soon. We hope we will be able to welcome our summer school students and professors from Hokkaido University in person in St Petersburg.