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Siberian start for EVE architects Erick van Egeraat has started construction of the Trade and Entertainment Center 'Vershina' for client SKU. The award-winning 35,000 m2 project is located in Surgut, Siberia, Russia. The design features a large central mass visually divided into discrete sharp volumes by transparent cuts in the façade. These 'lines of light' allow daylight in and artificial light radiate out at night. Corresponding with the long and dark winter nights of Siberia, this play of light makes the building an illuminated icon in the midst of the repetitive panel housing of the city. The heart of Vershina is occupied by an immense atrium stretching across all levels, thereby offering visitors room for social interaction sheltered from the Siberian cold. The complex will house shops, sports facilities, restaurants, bars and clubs. Vershina will open in the summer of 2008. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=470
'The city is mine' The home secretary Jacqui Smith says she feels unsafe walking London's streets after dark, and, undoubtedly, she's not alone. What a shame, says confirmed nightwalker Kate Pullinger - how could anyone not love a great city at night? Tuesday January 22, 2008 The Guardian I've always loved the city at night, even before I knew what it was like. I come from a rural suburb of a small town on the west coast of Canada and I spent my adolescence dreaming of cities in the dark. To go anywhere when I was a kid you had to drive; there was no public transport. And when you got there, wherever There was, there wasn't anything to do, except drink. I knew that when I finally made it to the city the night would sparkle and shine and pulse and that when I walked down the street, night music - Roxy Music, the Velvet Underground, Curtis Mayfield, Ultravox even - would accompany me. My first ever city was Montreal, where I spent a dissolute 18 months struggling with the concept of university. Montreal at night was always romantic but bipolar: a continuous street party during the summer - hot sweaty nights in cafes and bars that spilled on to the streets; phenomenally cold, encased in ice, in the winter. I would bundle up in multiple layers before heading out. In January and February I would wear both my coats. Montreal at night involved a lot of trudging, carrying your party shoes in a bag, stamping the snow off your boots. Falling snow at night in the city is irresistible; it squeaks and crunches beneath your boots on the pavement and comes to rest on your eyelashes and cheeks like glitter, only even more precious, more fleeting. Walking by myself through Montreal at night was to feel a kind of freedom that was completely new to me - the people are sleeping, the city is mine, all mine. Through the frozen air I could hear and see myself breathing - walking at night always makes me feel more aware of my own physicality somehow; it's the unexpected silence, the unsolicited peace - and my joy at escaping the suburbs was complete: I'm alive, I'm my own person, and I'm at home in the city. After Montreal I came to London, where a lot of women are afraid to walk alone at night. When Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, said at the weekend that she wouldn't walk at night in Hackney, or Kensington and Chelsea, she was just being honest, despite her aides' subsequent attempts at spin. In a world where we are afraid to let our children cross the street by themselves, this is hardly surprising. Our levels of fear bear little relation to the statistics - Smith was right that crime rates have fallen, too - but we are told to be afraid, so many of us are, both despite of and because of our experience. But not me. For me, growing up was all about becoming free, becoming who I wanted to be, not who other people expected me to be, and London was a part of that. It was the 1980s and London had an urgency to it, made all the more vivid by the fight to the death between that era's David and Goliath - Ken Livingstone and Margaret Thatcher. I was young and broke and needed to save my money for pints, books and movies: walking was the cheapest way to get around and most nights out ended with a long walk home. The city was huge, and foreign to me, and I needed to map it out in my mind by stalking the twisty streets with their ever changing names: Eversholt Street becomes Upper Woburn Place becomes Tavistock Square becomes Woburn Place becomes Southampton Row becomes Kingsway all inside 15 minutes. It was only through walking that this would ever make sense, and it was only when walking at night that I witnessed the secret lonely heart of the city; for a time it seemed as though every other doorway in the centre of town was temporary shelter to at least two homeless people. Alone at night I could repeat the street names and practise the English-as-in-England words that were new to me: "wanker", "loo", "pants", "tuppence", "sacked", "fanciable", "shag". I had a bicycle some of the time and there is nothing to match riding a bike by yourself through the streets of London late on a summer's night when the air is so soft it feels like velvet and your wheels spin and your hair gets messed up under your helmet but you don't care and you have to peel off the layers to stop yourself sweating. I was living in Vauxhall and working in Covent Garden at a catering job that required an early start before the tube was running, and crossing Lambeth Bridge on foot at 5am provoked in me a kind of epiphany, an ecstatic communion with the city and its only-just-buried layers of history. At night it's as though the city's history comes alive, bubbling up from where it lies dormant beneath the tarmac: when the crowds are gone, modernity slips away, and the city feels ancient and unruly. How could anyone not love London late at night, or early in the morning? How could the wide black Thames with the city reflected upon it not remind you of everything that is most desirable and glamorous in life? But sinister, too, of course, and this is part of what makes the city at night such a grown-up, adult, provocative space. There are parts of town that always have been, and always will be, creepy. In London: the backend of Whitechapel. Stockwell on a rainy night. Acton when you're a bit lost. And Hampstead, because everyone there seems to go to bed very early. In attempting to recant her comment about not walking alone at night in Hackney, Smith named the parts of the city where she does feel comfortable (for her, Peckham), and this is something that most women would recognise: we make our routes, we do what we feel comfortable doing, and it's not possible to ask anything else of us, home secretaries included. I've lived in Shepherd's Bush, west London, for 11 years now and I always feel safe on the Uxbridge Road. It's one of those wide, long streets that is full of life, full of commerce and connection, full of people I sometimes know and often recognise. The walk home from the tube feels safer than the shorter walk home from White City, with its looming football ground and empty pavements, cars zipping past too quickly. Just before Christmas I walked home by myself from a party; several people asked if I would be OK before I left. When I got outside the night was foggy and the street lamps glowed through the freezing mist; a black taxi passed with its yellow light blazing, the low purring sound of its diesel engine reassuring. I wandered along, a bit drunk, bundled up, and the residential streets were completely empty. When I got into bed I put my cold hands on my husband's warm back and woke him up, happy. I wear sensible flats and carry my party shoes in a bag still, not because of the snow, obviously, and not because I want to be able to run away if I can, but because I like to do my walking in comfort. I don't walk at night as much as I used to, but that's because of children and work and the fact that the days and nights aren't as long as they used to be. It is true that I would not take out my mobile phone on a dark street for fear that someone might think it worth snatching. It's also true that I do not listen to music through headphones when I walk by myself, but that's because I've never liked listening to music through headphones: it has always made me worry that someone is about to sneak up behind me, even when - or especially when - I'm lying on the couch in an empty house. Plenty of people don't love London, I realise that, and plenty of people probably love it even less at night; I'm well aware that it might take only one incident for me to change my mind about walking alone at night. I have been mugged in London, but that was in broad daylight in Finsbury Park on the way to the tube station; I lost volume one of a two-volume Complete Plays by Shakespeare that my mother had given me. The young man who pushed me against a brick wall to wrestle my bag away from my shoulder had a look of desperate determination; the police later found the bag and the wallet, but not the Shakespeare. I've walked these streets for 25 years now. I'm not a young woman any more - aren't the young more likely to be victimised? - and I'm fairly tall - aren't little women more preyed upon? - and on dark winter nights I walk quickly with a hat jammed down over my head. But when I look up from the pavement and see the sparkling lights, I hear the night music; could it be that I am who I always wanted to be, and the city at night belongs to me? By the light of the moon ... Nightwalking across Britain's cities Birmingham As a proud Brummie and shamelessly debauched hedonist, I, and the city I truly love, properly come alive at night. Birmingham has more canals than Venice and those moon-washed nightwalks along the most famous ones at Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin are just as magical as the Italian city's finest. By day, Birmingham's Victoria Square and Centenary Square are thick with office workers, tourists, shoppers, teens and trolls. But after dark you can peacefully appreciate the floodlit beauty of the historical council house, the Floozy in Jacuzzi fountain (well, that's what we locals call her, anyway) and Iron Man sculpture, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Victorian listed buildings on Colmore Row - before popping into the late-night bars One Ten or the once-famous cigar lounge at the Hotel du Vin. St Paul's Cathedral and Square are intoxicating before dawn - not simply because of the drinking opportunities, but because of the path they lead towards the charm bracelet streets of the Jewellery Quarter. I've often done a wee-small-hours West Midland's Audrey Hepburn impersonation by peering into the hundreds of jewellery shops there. There are plenty of midnight munching opportunities - get a night owl down to Ladypool Road, the heart of the city's Balti Belt and where neon restaurant signs blaze above hordes of my fellow, friendly nocturnal buddies. Wersha Bharadwa Manchester Go to eat in Chinatown, and leave around midnight. Stroll back under the gloriously garish Imperial Arch. The unmistakeable smell of oil on hot wok will linger but slowly the grid of streets will wind down and sleep. Emerge into St Peter's Square and hear the hoot of the last tram passing in front of the Pantheon-like circular central library (which has been known to offer small-hours tours of its basement stacks). Move on into Albert Square and wait for the midnight bongs from the clock of the floodlit town hall, Manchester's glorious statement of civic one-upmanship. Then on to Cross Street (where the former home of the Manchester Guardian was long ago replaced by Boots) and turn left into King Street, where the fashion shops doze and dream of bigger profits. Cut through towards St Ann's church and the square after which it is named. If the circular Royal Exchange theatre had a curtain, it would have come down long ago, but memories of entrances and exits long ago live on. Then, past brash Harvey Nicks and Selfridges, to the silent route between the cathedral and the old corn exchange to Cathedral Gardens. Take a seat and gaze at Urbis, the glass ski slope that has become an icon. Behind you, at Chetham's school of music, a sleepless student may entertain you with a Bach partita. David Ward Leeds The best thing to be in late-night Leeds is a bird. Floodlighting is pretty inspired in the city centre generally, but specially good at rooftop level. Get the lift or stairs up any high building - the uni campus has a good selection - and drink it all in. At ground level, the ginnels off Briggate and Vicar Lane are a wonderful maze by moonlight; unchanged since Atkinson Grimshaw did those great Victorian paintings, except nowadays there are lots more bars and places to eat. Try the riverside, too, spooky if it gets too late but lively enough till at least midnight. Cross the canal from Water Lane and thread back through the Dark Arches where the river Aire crashes about beneath the train station. Best for quiet strolling is Kirkstall, with its subtly lit Cistercian abbey, just off the always-busy A65. You can swim at Kirkstall baths till 10pm, get a tapas at Amigos, a Leeds end-terrace that is forever Spain, and then potter across the road and spend as much of the dark as you want to in the 12th century. Headingley is great for strolling, with more shortcuts and alleys through the student-colonised redbricks round St Michael's and the Skyrack and Original Oak pubs. Martin Wainwright Bristol By day, Bristol's harbour area can feel like a place of local authority and corporate regeneration. Fair enough, that's what it is. But by night the magic of the docks returns with the youngsters and bohemians who arrive to party. Walk along the cobbles on Welsh Back alongside the Floating Harbour. Turn into Queen Square with its the wonderful Georgian architecture - much more subtly lit than their counterparts in touristy Bath, and more glorious for it. Look out for the bohos-made-good and London refugees dining in the hip dockside eateries. Cross Pero's Bridge to the Watershed media centre. The laptop brigade who make use of the wi-fi access will have gone, replaced by the art crowd with their red wine and movie talk. The Falafel King van on the Centre is a great, much cheaper alternative to the riverside restaurants. Or get away from the city centre and head to Montpelier. Again, it's a people-watching place - this is eco-trendy territory. Supper at the One Stop Thali cafe, where the locals take their own tiffins to be filled with steaming curry. Walk up to the Cadbury House pub, multiple award winner. And don't forget Clifton. Sorry to be obvious. By day, the Avon gorge can be a little grubby, especially in the winter. After dark, the suspension bridge gleams and the chasm below yawns. Steven Morris Edinburgh Edinburgh's more intimate scale makes it a great city to explore on foot, as long as you don't mind the odd uphill jaunt, and there's no denying the city's beauty at night. There are obvious highlights: a walk along Princes Street gives a great view towards Edinburgh Castle, which is illuminated at night, as are most of the noteworthy monuments, while the Mound has the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy Building at its foot - with their regal columns, these buildings look pretty spectacular when floodlit - and the impressive headquarters of HBOS, which includes the Museum on the Mound, at its top. Once you're up there, there are guided walks through the Old Town - the night-time ghost tour routes focus around the Royal Mile - while there are less obvious highlights if you head north into the New Town, which is mainly residential and has some of the finest classical Georgian architecture in the country. There are beautiful terraces to explore, such as Royal Circus or Moray Place, and you can admire the architecture while catching glimpses inside where people haven't closed over their tall Georgian shutters - a bit nosy, but who can resist? Wrap it up with a warming drink in Kay's Bar, a cosy pub in an early 19th-century building on Jamaica Street West, tucked in the New Town's heart. Fiona Reid http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2244671,00.html