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Sergei Tchoban


Factory Russia: Russian Pavilion Exhibition at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale


Center for Architecture, New York

July 9, 2010


Presentation by:       Sergei Tchoban, Russian Pavilion Curator


Moderator:                Rick Bell, founder of Center for Architecture


Introduction by:         Vladimir Belogolovsky



The following is the outline of Vladimir Belogolovsky’s introduction of Sergei Tchoban’s presentation of his Russian Pavilion project “Factory Russia” on July 9, 2010.


Starting this year the Center for Architecture in collaboration with the Union of Architects of Russia and the Intercontinental Curatorial Project has been acting as a platform to Russian architects to showcase their work. Sergei Tchoban is the second architect from Russia giving his talk at the Center. Andrey Bokov, the President of the Union of Architects of Russia presented his work here earlier this year. Therefore this already has become new exchange tradition between Russia and the United States in light of the relations that have been warming up lately between our countries despite the recent spying incidents which only reassure that we continue to have a tremendous interest in each other. To keep this dialogue going I would also encourage American architects to pay return visits to Russia.  


This year Russia will take part in the Architecture Venice Biennale for the 10th time. Nine previous times the curators were chosen by government officials and there was a predictable rotation of just a few names. One of the curators said to me: “We have only three curators in the country – like it or not – it is the fact.” I am happy to say – now that practice is in the past. Mr. Tchoban is the first curator who is chosen based on a special competition among curators and designers. His winning project called Moscow Architectural Heritage: Point of no Return featured at Zodchestvo Festival last year and became the premise for his project in Venice.

Sergei Tchoban is the ideal choice for being the Russian Pavilion curator. He has a great eye, hand, and intelligence. He is both thinking and building architect. Mr. Tchoban is the only modern Russian architect who managed to succeed on international stage. He is also someone who in the West is known to be Russian architect and in Russia he is referred to as western architect. In fact, last Biennale he participated in the Russian Pavilion project as a foreigner. His colleagues and friends describe him as a perfectionist, working seven days a week, and constantly jetting among three cities: Berlin, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.


Besides being a successful architect and a manager he is a publisher of his own magazine SPEECH, an accomplished graphic artist, a competent curator, and a passionate collector of original architectural drawings, ranging from contemporary architects to renaissance masters. This year his collection was shown at the Frankfurt Museum of Architecture.


Mr. Tchoban’s talent as a graphic artist deserves a separate talk on his fantasy drawings featuring English style didactic sections, impossible perspectives, superimposed handwritten diaries, and classically inspired compositions often rising out of water evoking his hometown St. Petersburg. Currently Mr. Tchoban has been building his own museum in Berlin to exhibit his vast and important drawing collection as well as to host special exhibitions of important graphic works.     


Sergei Tchoban was born and grew up in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He graduated from prestigious Repin Institute of Fine Arts in 1986. Since 1991 he has been living in Germany. In 1992 Sergei Tchoban joined NPS Architekten in Hamburg where just in three years he became the firm’s partner at which point the practice was renamed into NPS Tchoban Voss Architekten with offices in Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresden.


Success in Germany led him back to Russia. Since 2004 parallel to being the head of Berlin office of NPS Tchoban Voss Architekten he opened his own practice in Moscow which since 2006 is known as SPEECH and is headed with Russian partner Sergei Kuznetsov.


Since 2008 Mr. Tchoban established an architectural magazine also known as SPEECH. This advertisement-free journal comes out twice a year with each issue devoted to a particular theme. The next issue will be on Color.


Among many of his built works are commercial and residential projects all over Germany and Russia. Alexanderplatz in Berlin presents a whole cluster of his projects that could effectively serve as a crash course on architecture of Sergei Tchoban. Among them: a large commercial complex with Radisson Hotel featuring world’s biggest aquarium across from the Berliner Dom, Cubix Cinema Center, and renovation of Berolina-Haus by Peter Behrens. His office recently has won a competition for large mixed-use complex European Embanktment in St. Petersburg and his Federation complex (designed in cooperation with P. Schweger) – two skyscrapers of 94 and 62 stories joined by a spire of 509 meters (1,670 feet) is under construction in Moscow to be the tallest building in Europe.  

Factory Russia project will be on view at the Russian Pavilion in Venice from August 29 to November 21 this year.


Commissioner: Vasili Tsereteli
Curators: Sergei Tchoban, Pavel Horoshilov, Grigory Revzin
Commissioned Architects: Sergei Skuratov (Architect of Russia-2008), Vladimir Plotkin (Architect of Russia-2010), Sergei Kuznetsov, Evgeny Gerasimov, Nikita Yavein
Venue: Russian Pavilion at Giardini