An exhibition with the best projects of graduates from bachelor's and master's programmes in ‘Environmental Design’ has opened at St Petersburg University.

2019 10 09 design sredi min 6

The academic projects reflect the idea of ​​renovation and modernisation of both traditional public spaces and new ones that have not been used before as objects of social infrastructure. Thus, the exhibition presents concepts for: the development of pedestrian coastal zones; changing the functionality of spaces under traffic intersections of St Petersburg and adapting them to the needs of the citizens; preserving the green areas of Petrovsky Island; and building a yacht marina in the town of Zelenogorsk. A special place at the exhibition is held by projects dedicated to the restoration of Benois Dacha and the design of public transit spaces of the Academic Gymnasium of St Petersburg University. The students have also proposed master plans for developing objects in other regions. Among them are: the rural locality of Ilyinsko-Podomskoye in the Arkhangelsk Region (and the museum of local lore); the island of Gogland in the Gulf of Finland; and a hospital in the city of Obninsk with the development of therapeutic landscape design.

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The exhibition is open at the Exhibition Hall of St Petersburg University until 22 October.

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Ivan Uralov marked the progressive development of the academic programme in Environmental Design, which has already taken a special place in the galaxy of St Petersburg city planning schools. According to him, every year student projects are becoming more rational, deep and systematic.

You are the future ‘composers’, you are the ‘conductors’ of the urban space. I really hope that your profession will remain much in demand in your native cities and towns, and, of course, in St Petersburg. You are the future of urban planning.

Professor Ivan Uralov, First Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation

Assistant Professor Evgeniia Petrashen, head of the academic programme ‘Environmental Design’, said that the work of a designer often includes the elaboration of the economic component of the project. This makes the teaching and learning process be as close as possible to the needs of the professional sphere.

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Several years ago, the work on the concept for developing the territory of Benois Dacha kicked off the ‘Vanishing Scenery’ project. It is a series of interuniversity and interdisciplinary seminars. They are aimed at conserving the fading unique architectural forms of old wooden dachas located in the coastal zones of St Petersburg. Additionally, they raise awareness for the problem of preservation and restoration of these distinctive objects. Evgeniia Petrashen said that the territory development model was completed this year. It presents three dachas at once – Benois Dacha, Grube’s Dacha and Kron’s Dacha – with the surrounding park ensemble. This model, featured in the exhibition, gained the approval of the St Petersburg University administration at a special meeting held on 2 July. The search for resources to restore the site has now started. As envisioned by the designers, in the future the dachas of exceptional architectural value could not only contribute to the uniqueness of academic programmes of St Petersburg University, but also be used as an art residence and a tourist attraction. Evgeniia Petrashen noted that foreign experts also speak about the research and historical value of the project, and want to conduct joint internships and seminars on this territory.

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The Head of the academic programme ‘Environment Design’ also said that within the framework of the public flow of the International Cultural Forum in the House of Architects there will be a presentation ‘Active Heritage: 225 Years of the Benois Family in Russia’.  They will discuss the heritage of the architectural and artistic Benois dynasty in Russia, and present the concept to the general public. Experts from Russia, the USA, Switzerland and Finland will take part in the discussion on possible ways of preserving and restoring historical sites.

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