“Two Miles” Operation
- contemporary architecture
This September, Saint Petersburg has seen the final of the open contest for the best development concept of the historical downtown area. The list of the contestants included, among others, “Studio 44” architectural office, whose project got an honorable mention for its stylishness and feasibility.
Concept of development of the territories “Konyushennaya” and “Severnaya Kolomna – Novaya Gollandiya”
Russia. St. Petersburg
Design Team:Authors of the project: N. Yavein, O. Yavein, M. Vinogradova, I. Grigoryev, I. Kozhin, V. Lemekhov, L. Likhacheva, A. Patrikeev, G. Snezhkin, M. Yavein
Historical consultants: B. Kirikov, director of Saint Petersburg branch of Research Institute of Theory of Architecture and Town-planning of Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences A. Kobak, executive director of D.C. Likhachev Foundation, A. Margolis, co-chairman of Saint Petersburg branch of All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments and Culture.
Transport development strategy: M. Petrovich, General Director of “House-planning Laboratory”
First of all, the architects
did what might be called “taking inventory” of the vast historical and cultural
legacy of the area – it was important for them to sort out which “growing points”
were already underway for the city, which worked half their potential, and
which were lying idle. The basic inference drawn by “Studio 44” can be put in this nutshell:
“Konyushennaya” and “Severnaya Kolomna – Novaya Gollandiya (“New Holland”)” are
the areas that concentrate all the best that the northern capital has to offer.
It is the crossing spot of several Saint Petersburgs, completely different. These
are the interfaith city, the imperial capital, the center of revolutionary
struggle, a city of theaters and concert halls, and, of course, the city of
bridges and unique granite embankments. In other words, this part of the city offers
an abundance of “cultural anchors” that are worth not only the tourists’
attention but also investments of various magnitude. The difficulty is that today
all these beauty sights have neither comfortable pedestrian access nor any
well-thought system of sign-posts. “Even in the center of Saint Petersburg, the
civilized environment comes in random fragments – Nikita Yavein explains – On
the one hand, the city implements ambitious projects, on the other hand, all
the work is conducted solely on the façade side. The underside of the blocks still
presents a striking contrast to their prestigious “credentials”. According to
the architect, what the city really lacks is, as he puts it, the depth of the
service, and it is this depth of service that “Studio 44” project is about in the
The system of public spaces that is now under construction should be based, according
to “Studio 44”
on the main pedestrian artery – the axis lane of Millionnaya and Galernaya
Streets that traverses the downtown area from Fontanka Street to the Gulf
of Finland water area. Its length is approximately two miles, which
conditionally called “Golden” and “Silver” ones. Along this axis, pedestrian
flow is organized, which will be rendered continuous by means of three new
pedestrian crossings (underground or stoplight-equipped) – across Nevsky
Prospect near the Palace
Bridge, on the Senate Square, and
on the Labor Square.
The pedestrian flows running along the Golden and the Silver Mile is going to
be doubled by the water transportation on the Neva River
and by the bicycle and EV lanes. The idea of “Studio 44” is pretty simple: the city completely
finances this stage of the project and its implementation will trigger other
investments: from the main artery, new branches of new public spaces and
streets will spring out that will in turn “flow” into the other blocks and thus
will form a “capillary” system of “chamber” landscaped territories. The project
also contains specific examples of private and federal fund-raising initiatives.
For one, the architects are proposing to open to the general public the already
mentioned Block 100 (with gradual forming of Old Saint Petersburg Museum), in
the Guards Corps Building the architects are proposing to make the Guards
Museum, as well as to organize guided tours in the Abamelek-Lazarev Mansion
(presently it is occupied by the Physical Culture and Sports Committee). The
network of the new culture centers must be supported by the new infrastructure
objects – art galleries, cafes, and stores that the architects are proposing to
place on the ground floors of the buildings.
The final stage of the project provides for even deeper saturation of the city
tissue – it was not by chance that the architects called these changes “protuberances”.
As possible examples, Nikita Yavein names the Museum
of Chocolate at Samoilova Confectionary
or launching a restaurant and a viewing platform on the Admiralty Tower.
At the same time the architects are not saying that they are suggesting driving
Russian Navy Headquarters out of the Admiralty building tomorrow – rather, they
are looking to start a wide public discussion about the possibility of
multipurpose use of the objects of Saint
Petersburg historical center. Because it is this capability
of performing several different functions that will become the basis of successful
revival of Saint Petersburg
downtown area under the new economic conditions.