Just as this summer was drawing to a close, an abandoned port in the Russian city of St. Petersburg sprang back to life. After a two-year revamp by Netherlands-based landscape firm West 8 , the 5.4-acre island welcomed nearly 50,000 visitors during its opening weekend in late August. Known as New Holland, the historic complex—which was commissioned in the early 1700s by Peter the Great—got its name from the original team of Dutch builders who dotted the parcel with structures in their traditional architectural style. In the ensuing years, as the city grew around it, the compound continued to serve as a warehouse district but later included a doughnut-shaped naval prison, a scientific laboratory, and a massive water tank where Russian submarines were tested. By 1915, however, many of the historic buildings had been abandoned or razed, and after the city gained control of the island in the early 2000s, a competition to determine future uses began.
The municipality ultimately approved West 8’s four-phase master plan in 2014. “The goal of the New Holland project is not only to restore this architectural landmark but to reinvent its role in the city,” said West 8 in a statement. The initial phase included embankment and interior landscaping, a playground, several temporary pavilions (designed by architects Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva), and the restoration of a handful of historic buildings that will house shops, cafés, exercise facilities, and children’s play space. Now open year-round, the new park has already released a calendar of events for the winter months that includes art exhibitions and film screenings. Meanwhile, the next phase is slated to be complete in 2019 and includes the renovation of two additional historic buildings that flank the canal.
Designed by West 8 in collaboration with Richter, the playground evokes the island’s rich history as a naval hub and shipbuilding supply area.
For more information visit newhollandsu .