Saint Petersburg’s New Holland Island by WEST 8

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New Holland Island is pleased to announce that its first phase of restoration and regeneration reopened to the general public in August 2016. The island of New Holland is one of Saint Petersburg’s most important historical monuments. Founded by Peter the Great in 1719 – the Island has been witness to every major milestone in the history of this Northern Capital.

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The goal of the New Holland project is not only to restore this architectural landmark but to reinvent its role in the city. West 8’s master plan and design guidelines for New Holland marry a new verdant landscape with the Island’s unique architectural monuments. Creating an accessible open spaces that support new program, and showcase the island’s architectural and historical complexes, in order to transform the site into a multi-functional public district that welcomes the citizens of Saint Petersburg, and acts as a public draw card for intellectual and creative forces from all over the world.

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New Holland will become ‘a city within a city’. The Island will encompass a number of new programs and functions, combining office spaces, culture areas, exhibition spaces, restaurants and retail zones and an ‘apart-hotel’. The outdoor spaces will offer a series of public areas and green spaces necessary for creating an ambient public realm. The Island will also host a year round event calendar, which will include an open air program of events and a rich variety of temporary installations.

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In accordance with a new master plan developed by West 8, one of the world’s leading landscape and urban design firms, and approved by the Investment Committee and the Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the city of Saint Petersburg, New Holland Island’s phase one launch featured:

  • The organization and landscaping of park areas in the interior of the island;
  • The restoration and contemporary outfitting of the former blacksmith’s building (The Foundry), the administrative building (The Commandant’s House), and the old naval prison (nicknamed The Bottle);
  • The restoration and landscaping of the embankment of the Admiralteisky Canal and the island’s inner basin;
  • The installation of infrastructure for the engineering and technical support of the island;
  • The installation of lighting architecture for the park areas and the restored buildings;
  • A playground modeled after the historical frigate ship Petr and Pavel;
  • The planting of a herb garden outside the Foundry building;
  • The placement of temporary pavilions for hosting cultural events as well as facilities necessary for the administration of the park (kiosks, info-centers, a stage, restrooms, and entrance).

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Work will continue on the renovation of the large historic complex of former warehouses, which are scheduled to be fully restored and ready for use by 2025. Nevertheless, the island will now remain open year-round, including during the winter season.

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After the recent success of the public arts and culture program Summer on New Holland, lead by Dasha  Zhukova’s IRIS Foundation (which most notably supports Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art), New Holland Development decided not to proceed with the original plan to construct a new building on the island. Instead, they chose to organize a full-fledged city park, complete with infrastructure with a focus on adaptive reuse.

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To implement this idea, they brought onboard leaders in the field of landscape and urban design, the Dutch firm West 8, under the direction of Edzo Bindels. Observation and research conducted during the temporary programs helped inform the new master plan for development of the island. The proposal was first presented to municipal authorities in 2014 and received official approval.

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All of the projects listed above have been realized over in a span of only two years. The second phase of restoration and renovation is slated to be completed in 2019. This phase includes the restoration and landscaping of the area around the buildings of Corpus 12, which comprises a total area of more than 15,000 m. along the Kryukov Canal, on the side of Ploshchad Truda (Labor Square).

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Design Firm | WEST 8

Consultants | Spectrum Group, Ooo Ni & Pi,´SPETSRESTAVRATSIYA´, Neskuchny Sad

WEST 8 Team
Adriaan Geuze, Edzo Bindels, Inna Tsoraeva, Juan Tur, Alvaro Novas Filgueira, Christian Gausepohl, Christian Dobrick, Eva Recio, Igor Saitov, Josh Stevenson, Kees Schoot, Lydia Franken, Marco van der Pluym, Mary Protsyk, Perry Maas

Client | New Holland Development (NHD)

Images | © Leonid  Lenten; ©WEST 8; and Courtesy of New Holland Development

Awards | VII Russian National Award for Landscape Architecture in category Best Realised Object Design