University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Cathy A. Frierson - Associate Professor of History
Architecture and Worldview in St . Petersburg: Reflections on Transition
The architecture of St. Petersburg is dual in nature. The city itself is divided into two separate communities: the central, governmental section which was deliberately planned and an outer residential section which developed more spontaneously. The emergence of these two communities indicates the existence of two separate spheres of thought, or two prevalent worldviews held by the creators of each community. The inner city focuses attention on military and trade institutions, and the prevailing building methods and techniques used are western. This would indicate that the imperial power which created the central city was concerned with international Issues relating to these Institutions. The outer city, on the other hand, is primarily residential, housing the peasants and laborers which comprise St. Petersburg's workforce. The architecture in this area reflects the traditional ways of building In Russia; Structures are primarily wooden, one-room cottages or apartments. The building style employed In the outer city reflects the Incoming populations' conservatism, reliance upon traditional family and religious values, and limitations of resources. These two worldviews combine to create a city of contrasts, a city In which the revolutionary vision of the Imperial rulers is out of step with the more conservative attitudes of the people.