Introduction The city of St. Petersburg is an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea that consists of 42 islands and the main river, Neva flowing through every part of the city. This paper embodies not only a physical description of the city but also a glance at its cultural place in history and a thorough examination of the design elements depicted in the city.
Primarily, throughout this paper a variety of images will be used to back up and refer to a written detail of the different elements of the city. Further, the historical context will be examined including the discovery, and some possible events that led to it. Finally, the design principles of form and function along with both the social and environmental contexts will be explored. In my investigation, I appoint with concepts from the medieval times to contribute some background to the typology of the city of St.
Petersburg as a fortress that provides protection for its people. Physical Description In the northern region of Russia, lies the City of St Petersburg. The city is pinpointed at the sediment of the Neva river and at the fore of the Gulf of Finland (McAuley, Matveyevna Doroshinskaya, Grigory Ioffe & Antony French, 2018).
The city of St. Petersburg is laid out over 42 islands of the fore and neighbouring parts of the actual country, Russia (McAuley et al, 2018). The city has many waterways. These waterways are short but the keen tributaries and canals of the Neva River that stretch all the way to Baltic Coast are hard to miss from the landscape of the city (McAuley et al, 2018). The city has one main river flowing through it, the Neva River.
Within that River there are smaller rivers (branches) called Bolshaya (Great) Neva and Malaya (little) Neva. Most of the city’s famous architectural works extend along the embankments of the Neva River (McAuley et al, 2018). The architectural works include varying structures such as Neoclassical Structures, Neo-Gothic Structures and Baroque-style Structures.
Along with these structures there are different styles of architecture that can be found around the city such as Stalinist and Soviet architecture. Unlike the standard Russian medieval model most of the city’s passageway, specifically the extent from the admiralty to the Moscow Railway Terminal is intended to be the city’s centre (McAuley et al, 2018). The city of St. Petersburg is divided in four sections due to the Neva River and its branches: the Admiralty Side, Vasilyevsky Island, the Petrograd Side, and the Vyborg Side (McAuley et al, 2018).
The cities cultural and historical inheritance is found on the admiralty side such as the Admiralty which was the core of the original city. Vasilyevsky island is located at the northwestern part of the city which includes the exceptional architectural complex known as the Strelka (“Pointer”) (McAuley et al, 2018). Upstream of the Neva river is the Petrograd Side where the Peter-Paul Fortress is located(McAuley et al, 2018).
Lastly, the Vyborg side, it was considered to be the industrial appendage to the city but has been replaced with retail and living establishments(McAuley et al, 2018). The city extends to outer suburbs that include open areas that are assigned as greenbelt. Along the smaller towns that are part of the cities there are large agricultural grounds and can extend to about 12 to 50 miles from the center of the city (McAuley et al, 2018).
History Formerly called Petrograd (1914-1924) and Leningrad (1924-1991) the city of St. Petersburg was founded in May of the year 1703 by Peter the Great during the Era of Peter the Great which approximately ranged from the years, 1703 to 1725 (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.
d.). The city was first renamed at the beginning of World War I to Petrograd because the name sounded less German (“Encyclopaedia of Russian History”, 2004). Later on it was renamed Leningrad following the death of Vladmir Lenin and finally restored as St.
Petersburg after the Soviet Union collapsed (“Encyclopaedia of Russian History”, 2004). There are many legends and myths as to how Peter the Great founded the City of Saint Petersburg. Some say he tore a halberd from one of his soldier’s hands and cut two sections in the soil and proclaimed, “the city will be here!” and started working straight away (Volkov, 1995). Others say that an Eagle was soaring high above him and Peter took it as a good omen, so he therefore gave the command to build the fortress at this spot (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.
d.). In both scenarios Peter the Great was seen standing on the shore line of some of the 42 islands where the city St. Petersburg lies today. Peter loved Russia, almost everything about it interested him. However, there were parts that he despised such as the filth, indolence and thievery (Volkov, 1995).
He also did not like the “rebellious soldiers” as he thought they wer against him (Volkov, 1995). These aspects led to a rebellion against Russian traditions and symbols as he strived to change them. During the last few years of the seventeenth century, Peter had visited different parts of Western Europe and began to secure a vision of building a striking city along European Lines (“St.
Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.d.). He started to envision a city such as Amsterdam due to the qualities it had; neat, clean, controllable, on water with lots of green life such as plants and trees (Volkov, 1995). From the vision of Amsterdam, his ideas grew describing it as an “Eagle soaring” and how it was going to be “a fortress, a port, an enormous wharf, a model for all of Russia and a shop window for the west” (Volkov, 1995).
Peter did not consider any of the important locations around Russia where things were easier to access for the west, he already knew where his city was going to be built. Despite the city’s unfavourable area and climate that being a swamp, Peter followed his vision of a northern capital (“St. Petersburg’s History in Brief”, n.d.
).At the time, there had been a prolonged war with the country Sweden. Peter the Great captured the land on the along the shorelines of the Gulf of Finland and the neighbouring land of the Neva River (“St. Petersburg’s History in Brief”, n.d.).
A small log cabin was the one of the first available living spaces, this cabin was constructed on the city’s fortress – now called Peter and Paul’s Fortress – shortly after the victory of the war with Sweden (“St. Petersburg’s History in Brief”, n.d.). nonetheless, some of the first structures in the newly discovered city were not very comparable to the rest of western Europe (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.
d.). Peter ran into many difficulties while trying to construct his vision of a city.
For instance, he originally planned to construct a city from stone and brick but the area was no where close to any brick factories or vicinities (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.d.). he then resulted to solutions such as ordering the different buildings to be painted with specific red and white detailing to give the impression of a brick structure (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.
d.). originally, the city was a small-scale. However, day by day Peter got new ideas and the plan became more complex as he began to introduce ideas from Rome and Paris (Volkov, 1995). Peters daughter, Empress Elizabeth contributed and refined her fathers ideas by employing different Euraopean Architects to construct baroque style structures including the Winter Palace (“Encyclopaedia of Russian History”, 2004). Design Principles Form The architecture found in the city of St.
Petersburg is substantially baroque and Neoclassicist (Bely, 2018). The neoclassical architecture style can be traced back to age of antiquity (“A Guide To Architecture In St Petersburg”, n.d.
). when thinking of “Antiquity”, think of such features such as statues and columns with characteristics like austere, yet monumental (“A Guide To Architecture In St Petersburg”, n.d.). The Imperial Academy of Arts is a quintessential example of a Neoclassical structure. Using the element of repetition or pattern, there are columns placed equal distance from eachother in order around all four sides of the structure.
Different statues are seen at the very front and entrance of the building. The appearance of the building is very severe therefore making it austere and also monumental. Several buildings throughout the city of St Petersburg including the Imperial Academy of Arts exhibit the element of Symmetry.
Baroque Style buildings showcased a combination of principles such as hybridity, amplification, and stimulation (Leach ; Macarthur, n.d.). the style can also be described as lively, witty, and relatable (Leach ; Macarthur, n.
d.). The most archetypal building when it comes to Baroque Style is the Winter Palace (“A Guide To Architecture In St Petersburg”, n.d.
). built in the 18th century, the Winter Palace is a monumental green and white coloured structure, each façade of the building depicts a number of columns all aligned in a single pattern against the walls that are full of lively colour. There are a number of other different architectural styles that are found all over the city of St Petersburg such as Style Moderne that involve buildings that exemplify a playful style using copper statuary and curvaceous lines (“A Guide To Architecture In St Petersburg”, n.d.).
Stalinist and Soviet Architecture can also be found as it is extremely pictorial and facades on most buildings had Stalinist and soviet picturesque arrangements (Hatherley, 2015). Essentially, every building in the city of St Petersburg is connected in terms of the relationship of the elements that the buildings depict. Every building is extremely vivid and colourful. Most buildings are symmetrical, some even from all angles. Finally, any building essentially has a pattern or specific repition.
Function As mentioned before in this paper on page __, during the time of the discovery of the city of St Petersburg there had be a prolonged war that had been progressing with Sweden. So, the city started as a fortress, in fact it was one of the first structures to be built in the newly discovered area. the fortress’ location was important in terms of battle as it was blocking the Neva’s entrance to unwanted visitors (“St.
Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.d.).
its purpose was to protect the lands along the Neva river also with lands along the Gulf of Finland from the enemy which was known as Sweden at the time of (“St. Petersburg History and Sights”, n.d.).
After and partially during the war, the city of St Petersburg was a very important port. The Admiralty was used as a shipyard where Peter designed and constructed some of the ships for the Baltic Fleet (“St. Petersburg in the era of Peter the Great (1703-1725),” n.
d.). today it is a major international port and is considered to be one of Russia’s important industrial centers as it benefited from soviet investments like research and development, military production, basing and training (“Encyclopedia of Russian History”, 2004)