On September 12, 2023, the Worldwide St. Petersburg Club together with the Organizing Committee of the International Golden Trezzini Awards for Architecture and Design held a special event in the Peterhof Museum Reserve – Architecture of Seclusion. Past and Present of the Russian and European Hermitages.

This voyage to Peterhof was dedicated to renovation completion of the Hermitage Pavilion, located in the Peterhof Museum Reserve. The pavilion was built on the order of Peter the Great and was the first ever Hermitage in Russia. The event was attended by Béatrice Latteier, Consul General of Switzerland in St. Petersburg.

The program of the event included a walking tour around the Lower Park and the Hermitage Pavilion, where the visitors were demonstrated many things, including a unique manually driven hoisting device. The oval opening in the ceiling of the first floor was used to drop down the central part of the table from the second floor. As soon as it was served, the servants pulled it up. Besides, there was a special lift under every plate that was put on the table – this made it possible to serve personal orders.

Building Hermitage pavilions (from French ‘le hermitage, ermitage’ – a park pavilion, a place of seclusion, or a small rural palace) became trendy in Russia in the 18th century thanks to the European influence. Rich representatives of the ruling class would use such house to make sure that no unwanted listeners overheard anything said during their private lunches. For that purpose, special technical means were used – lifting tables and shelves, as well as some kind of lifts.

After the tour, the guests were invited to the recently renovated pavilion of the Grand Greenhouse, where the round table discussion took place – Architecture of Seclusion. Past and Present of the Russian and European Hermitages. The meeting was opened by Roman Kovrikov, Acting General Director of the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve. He reminded the audience that this event was the first to take part in the pavilion after its renovation. In the future, they are going to use the Grand Greenhouse as a multifunctional venue for exhibitions, discussions, and other events. Natalia Sidorkevich, Chairwoman of the Board of the Worldwide St. Petersburg Club, greeted the guests, too – along with Pavel Chernyakov, Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Golden Trezzini Awards, and Sergey Pchelintsev, a partner of the event and Director of Terra Company.

During the main part of the round-table discussion Irina Slutskaya, an expert in cultural heritage subjects exploration of the Architecture Department in the Peterhof Museum Reserve took the stage with her report ‘Zest of seclusion and its reflection in the secular architecture of the 17th through 18th centuries.’ She covered the history of ‘seclusion, or hermitry pavilions’ built across the Western and Northern Europe, and also revealed where Peter the First borrowed the idea of his Hermitage Pavilion.

Pavel Petrov, Head of the Museum Research Department in the Peterhof Museum Reserve told the audience how the Hermitage Pavilion was built in Peterhof in 1721 through 1725.

Maria Ryadova, Senior Architect of the Tsarskoe Selo Museum Reserve, presented a report about another Hermitage Pavilion – a junior brother of the Hermitage in Peterhof, as she called it – built in the mid 18th century in the Yekaterinisky Park.

Alexander Leontyev, Honorary Renovator of St. Petersburg, a member of the Union of Russian Architects, a teacher and a researcher in the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts named after Ilya Repin, presented his speech about renovation of the Peterhof-based Hermitage in the 2000s, the associated challenges and revelations made.

In the end of the discussion, Ivan Lebedev, Senior Architect of the Peterhof Museum Reserve disclosed some of the specifics in renovation of the Hermitage Pavilion in 2021 through 2023.

Oleg Dmitriyev, Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Golden Trezzini Awards, took on the moderator’s position during the round-table discussion.

After the event, all the guests were invited to take a micro-tour over the exhibition of Karl Bryullov’s graphic drawings, showcased at the Grand Greenhouse – The Italian Sketchbook. Anna Lyashko, Head of the Service for Preservation and Research of Cultural Heritage Memorials of the Peterhof Museum Reserve told them about the exhibition. 

The Organizing Committee for the Golden Trezzini Awards and the Worldwide St. Petersburg Club are really thankful to Roman Kovrikov, Anna Lyashko, Pavel Petrov, every guide who accompanied our group, and all the workers of the Peterhov Museum Reserve – for their incredible responsiveness, hospitality, and top event organization level. 

We are also grateful to our partners for their invaluable contribution to holding of the event – Terra, MULTI PLAN, Bezhko, and Meltzer.

Photo by Vladislav Kuznetsov

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