The public movement "Beautiful Petersburg" proposed to turn the section of Bolshaya Morskaya Street between the arch of the General Staff Building and Nevsky Prospekt into a pedestrian zone three years ago, in 2013. As its head Krasimir Vranski said, then the activists interviewed the townspeople and found that the idea was approved by 90% of the survey participants. The initiative was supported by Smolny, limiting the movement and parking of cars on the site from August 1, 2015. In June 2016, the KGA announced an open competition for the improvement of the territory.
The participants had to create an expressive author's landscape of the street, preserving the "standard of St. Petersburg style" created here by architects from Russia to Lidval. The priority was to preserve the historical integrity of the place, so that the creative field turned out to be not wide. Experts have already spoken in the sense that Morskaya is good in itself and it would be enough just to pave it.
The jury rejected the avant-garde proposals; but the participants were also not required to have historical stylization, but rather to adhere to the principles of symmetry, hierarchy and order inherent in classicism as a whole. At first, ten projects were selected, planning to choose one winner, but it did not work out - on July 12, the jury did not identify the best proposal. Now a new round has been announced, where five participants have passed. All five projects must be finalized: now their innovations are too active for the historic street.
As for the function itself, then personally I, as probably many others, would like to see on the Marine benches, beautiful paving stones and a bit of greenery in one form or another. A set that is understandable for everyone seems to be quite sufficient. He does not need to be "justified" in the form of super-extravagant vr e different installations, which are offered in a variety - as possible design options, in the project "AM-TRI" and "HVOYA". The street is either divided into separate rooms by a zigzag partition, then it is transformed into a large urban interior, covering it with a temporary roof with a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, or sculptures are installed on it, as in the Summer Garden, or vice versa, giant avant-garde objects; or pedestals with trees. All this, apparently, frightened off the jury, although it must be admitted that the unchanging part of the street design - paving and round stone benches - seems to be quite organic in the project; is it not enough permanent greenery.
*** Rafael Dayanov and Dmitry Lagutin
The project looks, in my opinion, redundant. The idea of depicting the Pulkovo meridian has a right to exist - Bolshaya Morskaya Street in this place runs strictly from south to north - however, the paving pattern is perhaps too active for a relatively narrow space, compared to Palace Square. But most of all, the project was weighed down by two rows of bronze guards, one and a half human height, similar to pretty overgrown tin soldiers. Without them, perhaps, it would be better.
*** "Beautiful Petersburg"
The concept of the initiators of the reconstruction, the "Beautiful Petersburg" movement, is based on the "wishes of the workers", formulated in the course of repeated polls and discussions. Among the wishes, as you would expect, were the benches I mentioned above, paving stones and greenery, as well as a small area for street performances. A simple and clear plan seemed, however, a little boring, devoid of "zest".
*** Alexander Demin
A fountain is a good thing by definition, especially its reckless version proposed by the group of Alexander Demin - only this can be placed on the competition site. At the same time, the shape of the beds and benches in that project is not very convincing.
*** Anton Nikolaenkov
It is also not entirely clear why the authors of this and some other projects kept the sidewalks separated by curbs in the pedestrian zone. In particular, this applies to the project of the group of Anton Nikolaenkov, who, like Raphael Dayanov and Dmitry Lagutin, used the idea of the Pulkovo meridian. The middle lane highlighted by curbs in his concept remains similar to an empty carriageway.
So, the final results of the competition are postponed. At the second stage, its participants will have to find the very "little bit" that separates solid professionalism from the art that spoiled Petersburgers want so much.
It is planned to select the winner by the end of 2016, and to implement it in 2017 at
RUB 20 million from PJSC Gazprom. ***
Polina Mishago, Alena Vasileva
J. Golubeva and others
Bright ideas zone
*** Nikita Sargsyan