On 27th of April at Troitskaya library projects of urban infrastructure for Tovstonogov square were presented. The projects were developed during ‘Prototyping of infrastructure for public spaces’ workshop guided by Natalia Hosie, i Collective, Berlin, and Juan Chacon, Zuloark, Berlin, which was organized by ARTS4CITY in frames of the Week of Germany in St.Petersburg on April 16-17, 2016.
Before the official presentation, posters and models developed by four teams were exhibited in the hall of Trojtskaya library. There the locals could see and vote for the projects, leave their comments and questions.
The members of the jury were: representatives of Posadskiy municipal district, including Y.A.Panov and Y.A. Vorontsov, representatives of the dwellers union, director of the Troitskaya library, and independent experts – architect Daniyar Jusupov and sociologist Lilija Voronkova. Local residents, experts, and creatives were present in the audience.
Projects presented gave impulse to intense discussions among the jury members. Issue of new designs for public spaces is acute and a complex in St. Petersburg city. New projects are limited in many ways – color range, safety requirements, certification, materials, placement, and strictly controlled by different governmental committees. For example, the set official range of colors for the ”historical” St. Petersburg is the shade of yellow and pastel colors, bright colors. To certificate a new model of public furniture requires half a million rubles. The placement of urban furniture is restricted by the law which is sadly known among experts as ”Don’t step on the grass” law. And these are far from all ”specialties”, which have to be considered by urban designers. These requirements bound the new urban designs and mostly leave them on paper.
The four teams developed projects which take into consideration for the specifics of the Tovstonogov square and try to account for the limitations of urban planning. However not all of them succeeded in jury’s opinion.
The winning project ”Feel the place” is poetic and delicate. It suggests creating a ”meditative” space for square users. It finds its natural location in a circle of six spruces which are growing in the centre of the square. Here passers-by can stop for a moment to hear birds singing and breathe in the smell of pine needles. The paths made with eco-materials – colorful stones and pine needles – lead to this place of relaxation. The project does not pressupose drastic changes in the square and perhaps for this reason became jury’s favourite. Project team: Anastasija Kuleshova, Dmitrij Strelnikov, Ekaterina Krotenko, Anastasija Perevozkina, Anna Chernojarova.
The project ”Above the grass” got most of the votes from local residents and encouragement from the jury. The idea of the project is to create a leisure space with a view to Peter and Paul Fortress between the houses. Material for the installation are the nets hang on the trees. Reasons the project was not selected is the strict ban to hang anything on the trees (even safely attached to the trees) and safety issues in view of kids. Project team: Pavel Babin, Nadezhda Gerasimova, Ludmila Delarova, Mikhail Mironenko, Olga Mnishko.
Project named ”Edam” suggests a bench with an awning, which would be comfortable for people both walking or biking. The project received recommendation from the jury to make changes to fit the norms and standards of the urban public infrastructure. Project team: Yuriy Gornak, Arina Miksyuk, Polina Svetozarova, Nika Cherednikova.
The project ”Your decision” caused many debates. It suggests several interesting design objects. At the same time jury decided the project needs to account more for the special features of the square. Project team: Maria Kutejnikova, Anna Aslanjan, Polina Karakulina, Oona Danichaeva, Ekaterina Adrianova.
All the projects will be further developed in Tovstonogov square and in other sites of St. Petersburg city in frames of ARTS4CITY. Details about the progress of the teams will be published online.