Saint Petersburg's new airport terminal draws inspiration from the city's architectural heritage

Saint Petersburg has always played a key role in connecting Russia to the rest of the World. This was, after all, the city's "raison d'être", the reason it was built from scratch on a swamp by Czar Peter the Great about three hundred years ago.

In a way, airports and aircraft are today what ports and ships where in the times of Peter the Great and, while St.Petersburg might no longer be the main entry point into Russia for foreign travelers (its airport currently ranks third in traffic after Moscow's Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports) this idea underlies the new terminal project that is being completed by British architecture firm Grimshaw Architects.

The new terminal, that just opened on December 4th, gets its inspiration from the city's beautiful architecture and emphasizes the airport's role as a place of arrival, as a gateway, as opposed to many airports where the focus is on departures, on the "air side".

The new terminal building has been designed to let in as much natural light as possible, as the architects put it, taking inspiration from the city's golden domes and spires, that reflect the Northern sunlight, as well as in the angular geometry of Soviet architecture and the city's lay-out, spread over many islands on the river Neva.

Pulkovo's new terminal is the key element in ambitious airport development and expansion project that aims to treble the flux of passengers over the next three decades.

The opening of the new terminal, which will pretty much double the airport's capacity overnight, will then be followed by the total renovation of the old one.

In addition to renovating its facilities the company that manages Pulkovo airport, Northern Capital Gateway LLC, partly owned by Fraport of Germany, has a policy of incentives to attract new airlines that has resulted in the arrival of 10 new carriers and the launch of 14 new destinations in 2013 so far.