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“St Petersburg - the vulnerabilities of Russia’s most beautiful city.”

Alexander Margolis/Clementine Cecil/Elena Minchenok/Marcus Binney/Colin Amery

Language: In English

“St Petersburg – the vulnerabilities of Russia’s most beautiful city.”

Experts talk about the main issues facing St Petersburg’s historic buildings. Discussion coincides with the presentation of “St Petersburg: Heritage at Risk”, a new report from Save Europe’s Heritage, the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society and Living City.

The report’s editors – architectural historian Alexander Margolis, campaigners Clementine Cecil and Elena Minchenok will be joined by President of SAVE Marcus Binney and SAVE trustee and historian of St Petersburg, Colin Amery.

St Petersburg is Putin’s city and government ministries are increasingly being moved there; palaces around the city are being commandeered for state needs. This and increased wealth is putting huge pressure on the delicate and considered beauty of one of the most planned cities in the world.

The Gazprom Tower may have been stopped, but the threat of tall building remains. In addition, many of the buildings in the centre are communal apartments and some are extremely dilapidated. One UNESCO delegate suggested a full-scale reconstruction – is this appropriate? Is there a place for contemporary architecture in the classical city? Is there enough support at grassroots level to protect the city’s architectural heritage?

One of the key sites under discussion will be New Holland, presently owned by curator Dasha Zhukova, Roman Abramovich’s girlfriend, who has ambitious plans for this quintessentially St Petersburg site. Huge sensitivity is required to convert this extraordinary ensemble of naval industrial buildings and basins.

Architects and developers working in St Petersburg will be invited to the discussion.

Quotes from the report:

“The citizens of St Petersburg have a profound love and knowledge of their city; this report is an expression of their concerns as much as those of admirers from outside.” Marcus Binney.

“News from St. Petersburg these days is like a report from the battlefield.” Alexander Margolis

“There is the world of glossy restoration that the tourist sees, but a street away is a collapsing market, an unsanitary apartment block and unfinished, low-quality repairs.” Colin Amery

Copies of “St Petersburg: Heritage at Risk” will be on sale on the night at the discounted price of £15 Published to coincide with the 34th Session of UNESCO that took place in St Petersburg this summer, this bilingual, lavishly illustrated book, emphases St Petersburg’s greatness as a classical city, but also shows the importance of the city’s industrial and Soviet heritage, much of which is shamefully undervalued today.

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