Margarita Rebrova, a graduate of the Kuibyshev Civil Engineering Institute (now – Samara State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering), flew to Norilsk with her husband on September 29, 1971. Four more people were assigned to the Norilskproekt Institute (the city’s projecting institute) that year: a married couple of the Parshins, Tatiana Moiseeva and Lyudmila Murzina. Moreover, none of them had heard anything about Norilsk before, but its representatives said that young specialists in this city were provided with separate housing. That became the main reason for them to come.
On the arrival day, the Rebrovs, who went to the North later than their friends due to their daughter’s illness, were unlucky with the weather. Margarita recalls that her husband was in a cap, and she was in a short coat and nylon stockings: “In Norilsk it was already winter… I do not remember how we got to the train”.
In Norilsk, it turned out that no one was waiting for the newcomers at the institute at the end of the working week. The friends who had arrived earlier were also unavailable. The Rebrovs had to spend the night in the hotel lobby. However, all the difficulties ended on Monday, when the new settlers were given fur coats and hats, a rather big installation grant, and before receiving a housing, they were settled in different hostels.
According to Margarita, she never regretted that in 1971 she chose this city on the outskirts of the world. Although the daughter of the director of one of the Kuibyshev factories probably could have had another choice:
“Mom was against Norilsk, but my father said that we had to build our life on our own. Mom later even told our daughter that grandfather drove her daddy and mommy out of the house… In general, I am a father by nature. He always worked hard, and when my mother grumbled, I stood up for him. I’ve always liked people who know how to work”.
Margarita herself knows how to work and loves working. In Norilskproekt, engineer Rebrova, together with Tatiana Moiseeva and Victor Parshin, were included in the group of metal constructions specialists. Olga Parshina and Lyudmila Murzina chose the Civil Engineering Department. The “Samara gang”, as the graduates of the Kuibyshev Engineering and Construction Institute called themselves, are still friends, but now they meet only where they came from – in Samara (former Kuibyshev).
The luminary and the era (as she is called at the institute) recalls that in the early 1970s young designers discussed the possibility of building a metro in Norilsk, laying a monorail road to Talnah, building a second bridge across Norilskaya river, and a project of a house-to-house gallery on Leninsky prospekt. Moreover, all the projects were accompanied by technical and economic calculations.
Rebrova herself has always loved calculations. According to her, they allow you to feel the entire structure. Those who could calculate it were called professionals. The designer always says that she was very lucky to have teachers who shared their knowledge with young specialists, sparing no effort or time for this. She considers the chief specialist in metal structures Nikolay Kozlov and the foreman Vladimir Stelmashenko to be such teachers at Norilskproekt.
In 1974, ten newly minted designers were united into a youth team led by 42-year-old Vladimir Zaikov. The team designed overpasses of various designs for the chlorine-cobalt shop. It was engaged in the reconstruction of the frame and the calculation of the former Nickel plant smelting shop diameters, calculated the roofing panels in the copper plant. All projects, according to Rebrova, were large-scale ones, which cannot be found in university textbooks.
Once, after the birth of her second child, she tried to change the job. This was due to the fact that the family was given an apartment in Talnah and the young mother decided to find a working place closer to home. After the first attempt to get a job in one of the mining departments, the applicant was disappointed to tears. So she stayed at Noriskproekt and became the head of the sector in her department of metal structures of the Norilskproekt institute and had to travel to work from Talnah.
All these years Margarita has been getting up at six, or even at five in the morning, doing a 40-minute exercise and going to work to Leninsky prospect, 8. Since 2003, Rebrova has been heading the Norilskproekt Architectural and Construction Center (ACC).
Seventeen years ago, the structure included the departments of metal structures and industrial construction, designed to carry out the architectural and construction part of the design documentation for new constructions, the expansion and reconstruction of the enterprises of the Nornickel Polar Division’s main and auxiliary production facilities. There are also orders from the city. The ACC has a project to close the Nickel Plant, design the renovation of the first and second lines of the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant (NMP), lines with smoke exhausters at the Medny Plant, and much, much more.
Margarita laments that this year almost all the ACC brigades have “lost weight”: for various reasons, several specialists have left the center.
In November, the ACC will “lose weight” by one more person. Margarita will return to her native land, to Samara. There, a country house built by her husband and the “Samara-Norilsk gang” have long been waiting for her. The engineer does not advertise the upcoming departure: there is no time for this. Ivan Podryadov, Margarita’s collegue, learned about this from the correspondent of the This Is Taimyr, who asked to say a few words about Rebrova. Dumbfounded by the news, he said that he had grown under the leadership of Margarita from an engineer of the second category to the head of a department and most of all appreciated her patience and the ability not to get lost in emotions: “She easily resolves all conflict situations”.
Valentina Kulenkova, the legendary captain of the institute’s volleyball team, came to Norilskproekt the same year as Rebrova. The chief specialist of the department of industrial structures began to work under the supervision of her coeval after the organization of the ACC. Valentina Ivanovna was not surprised by this alignment: “Always active, energetic, very decisive, she headed the center deservedly”.
Not so long ago, Elena Pankratova, who is known in the city as the author of the Poklonny Cross project, took the post of chief architect at the institute. This is Elena who calls Margarita an era and a luminary and admits that she was lucky to get into the ACC at the right time:
“I did not stay long under the wing of Margarita Fyodorovna in the scale of her personality and experience, but it was she who largely influenced my professional development. It is enough that thanks to her my dream of becoming an architect came true. She gave me a chance. There were other options though. Subsequently, we had many interesting, complex projects, in which I gained valuable experience.
Margarita Fyodorovna is not just an owner of professional qualities, I want to note that she is also a very effective woman, leaving an indelible impression on everyone who knows her. I think I was lucky to work in her era. And it’s very sad that it ends. With all my heart I wish Margarita Fyodorovna health, the same satisfaction and drive from a different, but no less wonderful life outside the walls of Norilskproekt”.
Read about other prominent Taimyr people in the Territory genius section.
Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Margarita Rebrova's family archive