the district of kolomna, where many of dostoevsky’s novels are set, is one of the oldest and most distinctive in st. petersburg. the newly-restored ‘nikolsky rows’ is a brilliant example of a gostiny dvor — a very distinctive russian building type combining a shopping arcade and an inner courtyard used as an open market, and storage and maintenance area. the building fell into disrepair and was restored, but failed to become an active city space in its own right. this former arcade now houses a hotel, while the market courtyard remained inaccessible to the public.
in order to trigger the return to life for this historically vibrant location, st. petersburg-based practice KATARSIS created a small architectural landmark that express the paradox and contradiction of the environment.
all images © KATARSIS ab, photos by grigoriy sokolinsky
while also functioning as a carousel for passersby to experience and enjoy, KATARSIS‘ ‘rotating triumphal arch’ is a contemplation of the environment — ‘an allegory of the search for the unique ‘russian way’, comment architects peter sovetnikov and vera stepanskaya, ‘a paradoxical combination of the yearning for development and the eternal fear of change. it is an attempt to reinterpret and provide a new understanding to one of the most established architectural forms.’
‘it was important for us to find a special and lyrical tone that would express the paradox and contradiction within the environment,’ the architects continue. here, in the nikolsky rows, ‘rotating triumphal arch’ is materialized from 50mm x 50mm timber blocks, and a pivot mechanism, 650mm in diameter and welded onto a metal base for smooth and effortless rotation. its proportions, graphics, tectonics, and texture reinterpret a typical arcade archway, while wood — a natural material — emphasizes a respectful attitude towards the space of the historic architectural monument. therefore, the new arch holds the central place among the endless courtyard arcades, serving as a symbol of future change.
buro: KATARSIS ab
architects: peter sovetnikov, vera stepanskaya
typology: art and architecture
type of project: built
project location: russia, st. petersburg, sadovaya st., 62
photos: © KATARSIS ab, photo by grigoriy sokolinsky
nina azzarello I designboom
feb 07, 2021