The History behind the Singer House
13 September, 2016
Did you know anything about the interesting history of the Singer House and its formation?
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Also known as the House of Books or Dom Knigi, it is the biggest library in St. Petersburg as well as the intellectual and cultural center of the city.
It is located on the opposite side of the beautiful Kazan Cathedral and on the corner of Ekaterinsky Canal. Pavel Suzor was the designer of this building for the Russian branch of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Initially, the management of the Company planned a huge skyscraper, such as their headquarter at this time in New York City. However, the building code in St. Petersburg says that buildings are not allowed to be built and structured higher than the Winter Palace and Hermitage.
The height limit amounted 23.5 meter and the Estonian artist Amandus Adamson, as well as Suzor found a stunning solution. They crowned the six-story Art Nouveau building by a 2.8-meter glass tower, which in turn is accomplished by a glass globe sculpture at the top. It took two years to build the House of Books and opened its doors on December 12th, 1904. It was the first modern building in Russia with fireproofed floors, ceilings and steel girders. The glass tower creates the impression of an essential elevation; nevertheless, it remains lower than the Church of the Savoir on Spilled Blood or the Kazan Cathedral. From 2004-2006 the Singer House closed for reconstruction and reopened as the home of several businesses, including the familiar House of Books and Café Singer.
So next time if you stroll along the Nevsky Prospect, you won’t overlook this impressing building for sure. Enjoy the huge variety of books and end your visit with a delicious Cappuccino in the second floor and a great view of the city.
This blog was brought to you by Daniela Danzinger, intern and student at Liden & Denz.