Acclaimed Architect to Transform Island
By Andrei Vorobei and Yekaterina Dranitsyna
Special to The Moscow Times

Alexander Belenky / MT

ST. PETERSBURG -- The controversial 30-year saga of the redevelopment of
one of St. Petersburg's most mysterious sites -- New Holland Island --
finally came to a close last week when St. Petersburg Governor Valentina
Matviyenko announced that a plan by British architect Sir Norman Foster
would be adopted.

The 7.6-hectare island, which during the Soviet era was a closed
military zone, will be developed as a thriving cultural and commercial


In 1779 Catherine the Great, the Russian Empress, turned to Charles
Cameron, a British architect, to renovate one of her palaces in St

He reigned as court favourite for the next 25 years.

But now, more than two centuries later, Russian authorities are again
calling on a Briton to revamp their picturesque but dilapidated second city.

Lord Foster of Thames Bank, the creator of London’s “Gherkin” and
Berlin’s new Reichstag building, was this week chosen to redevelop a
19-acre island in St Petersburg called New Holland. Created in 1719, New
Holland was Russia’s first naval port and housed shipbuilding
warehouses, a blacksmith’s workshop, an arsenal and the Russian navy jail.,,13509-2046505,00.html