I’ve been quite a lot in and around the Petrogradskaya Storona (Side) of St Petersburg recently. Both Petrogradsky and the nearby Aptekarsky islands are pretty attractive in terms of the architecture of the late 19th-early 20th century.
You see, these islands were originally used as a dacha territory (those were the islands already lying beyond the city limits) and the stone mansions were less frequent here than wooden houses for some decades. It was only later, closer to my favourite architectural periods, art nouveau and avantgarde, that the construction boom spread all over the Petrogradskaya side. And that is why these two islands have quite a young face.
This part of St Petersburg evolved in its own separate way compared to the center of the city. And still today you can tell that this district has some specific aura around it, as if you enter quite a different city.
Volumes and geometry. All these photos have been taken in various spots across the two islands and during several walks. Blisters and tired legs guaranteed :)
Deciphering the city’s layers of history and culture – it’s amazing!
Post of Russia mail box, converted from the Post of USSR.
The inner yard of this 1933-38 late constrictivist residential building for the employees of Svirstroy. The red colour of the walls is original, distinguishing it from the rest of the constructivist creations. The building is pretty curious (some photos of the facades in my 2013 post). This sort of brutalism is somewhat more attractive than the Brezhnev’s era architecture. It has a longer history…
Found this painted door advertising a house travel agency offering 5% discount to the residents. Doesn’t it look great, a painted advertisement? Or am I desperately old-fashioned? :)
Found this uncommon decoration for a basement in a Stalinist house (actually, a recent addition) on Pesochanaya Embankment. Just found out it used to be Dom Khudozhnikov, a 1961 residential house + workshops for the Soviet artists (you know, it’s easier to control people when they’re all gathered in one place…). And during the Siege of Leningrad this spot was occupied by the city’s main radio station which was keeping the citizens alive.
Don’t trust your own eyes – this quite avant-garde-looking building on Chapygina Street is actually a modernistic orphanage (1913-14) converted into an obschezhitiye (communal house, dormitory) in the Soviet period. Very curious volumes!
Next to it is this 1936 residential building aka Admiral house. Although it is covered in columns and stuff as the official style would demand (Stalin’s neoclassicism), its brutal texture gives away the ex-preferences of the architect, a style by then fallen from grace – the constructivism… So Buryshkin (that’s the name of the architect) once the constructivism ceased to be accepted (he built among other things the Pravda newspaper HQ and a workers’ township similar to this one) became a ‘converted’ neo-classicist – actually, every architect just had to do that in order to continue their work.
The craziest university building you can imagine. Brezhnev’s red-brick brutalism (1970s), the epoch that hardly interests me as the matter of fact. Looks like an unfinished factory or a crematorium… And yet my sister studied there. There’s a legend passed down from one generation of students to the other that the architect actually committed suicide once the building was finished. Judging from what a labyrinth it is inside with the staircases running in all possible directions, I shouldn’t wonder… Next to it is a beautiful modernistic building that you would definitely prefer studying at :) – the oldest premises of the Electro-Technical University, aka LETI.
This is one of the most well-known constructivist industrial building in St Petersburg – the 1925-26 switching station of Krasnoye Znamya (Red Banner) textile factory. Don’t be surprised that it’s situated on Pionerskaya Street running parallel to the Krasnogo Kursanta (Red Cadet) Street where the factory’s HQ are still located. But what this station so special about it is that it was originally projected by Erich Mendelson, the German expressionist architect, the first foreigner to design buildings for the young USSR. However, his original project was highly amended to such an extent that he renounced from his creation. A very futuristic thing in a sad condition, as is very often the case with the constructivist heritage. You actually have to get to this place in order to feel the weight of its history in full…
So much yet to see! I wish I had an entire life just for this :)
Adding this to my St Petersburg series.