oil in Khanty-Mansiysk
Khanty-Mansiysk is something like the Calgary of Siberia: a glossy oil city. Erick van Egeraat was one of the founders of Mecanoo, and now has one of those globalised practices with offices in Rotterdam, London, Moscow, Budapest and Prague. The Chess and Billiard club building was commissioned by the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region in 2008, and underwritten by Gazprom. It isn't large, just 8000 m2, but it is special, built for the 2010 Chess Olympiad. On van Egeraat's website he says that Khanty-Mansiysk 'understood the need to deliver signature buildings that underline the prosperous state the city is in'.
I've recently been writing about Calgary, which has Foster's behemothic Bow Building as evidence of its prosperous state, and an enormously expensive Calatrava bridge. Sometimes one wishes that the prosperity was spread about a bit, in small projects such as chess clubs, throughout the city.