New Palace of Culture on the Horizon

Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich has invited some of the world's finest architects to take part in a competition to revive a battered St Petersburg island.

The Moscow-based businessman, who is ranked as one of the richest men in the world, wants to invest 250 million in revitalising the island, primarily on a palace of culture.

"It will be a mixed-use development with commercial and cultural spaces and it will be open to the public," said John Mann, a spokesman for Abramowich.

Reportedly, Abramowich's girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, will be creative director of the project. Zhukova is prominent figure in the Russian art scene, having launched Moscow's fashionable Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

Amongst the architects invited to take part in the competition are Dixon Jones, a firm which recently revamped London's Royal Opera House. Likewise, David Chipperfield, who rebuilt the Neues Museum in Berlin, is also a potential winner.

A final decision will be made in the Spring, and Abramovich hopes to open the investment in 2018.


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