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Oleg Romanov is well known in St. Petersburg and farther afield, both inside and outside Russia. The institution he manages, the St. Petersburg Institute of Architecture, won the top national architecture award, Crystal Dedalus, in November 2001, for its ambitious restoration project for the Mikhailovsky Castle and Garden. «This project is purported to restore the layout of the whole complex using the original design of V. Brenna and C. Rossi», explains Romanov, «As for the system of waterways around Mikhailovsky Castle, Voskresensky Canal and the triple stone entrance bridge will be the first to be resurrected». Two wooden draw-bridges will be thrown across the canal the way they used to be in Paul I’s time. Restoring the Mikhailovsky Garden, the artists will be building on the surviving fragments of the original rectilinear layout designed in 1741–1745 by Francesco Rastrelli, and the scenic English meadow with an oval pathway, restored in 1825 by Carlo Rossi, with its clear view of the Mars Field and the Pavlovsky Regiment barracks. In the south-eastern corner of the garden, the second pond will be rebuilt (it is currently filled with ground), along with an elegant concrete bridge over the channel connecting the two ponds. The customer, the National Russian Museum, has also requested that copies of some rare Russian sculptures be erected in the Mikhailovsky Garden. The original sculptures have never left the museum’s vaults. Automatic lawn sprinklers and illumination will add a modern touch to the complex. In addition to the castle itself, the Rossi Pavilion and the concrete bridge, the tops of the age-old trees near the castle will also be illuminated. The project looks truly intimidating in scope. In the longer term, the Institute may be commissioned to restore the canals that once used to surround Connetable Square, which will be renamed Peter the Great Square. The flexible, adaptable organization that is Oleg Romanov’s Institute of Architecture with its Architectural Studio, can easily pursue several concurrent projects and remain fully committed to each of them. Later on, the Institute may be asked to design a landscaping project for the Summer Gardens after its handing-over to the Russian Museum is finalized. Meanwhile, the Institute has dedicated its resources and creativity to taking the Mikhailovsky Castle and Garden back to the era of the great Italians, Rossi and Brenn. The Institute of Architecture 16 12th Krasnoarmeiskaya ul., 198103 St. Petersburg, Russia Tel. (812) 113-0705 Fax: (812) 113-0971 Email: Gia@gia.spb.ru
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