Saint Petersburg kaleidoscope: "Houses of the future" from the Soviet past. Part 2

17 July 2020

Vasilievsky Island is not only the legendary Spit with Rostral Columns and the Universitetskaya Embankment with palaces of the Peter the Great era. It is not only wide avenues and famous lines, completely built up with profitable houses.

Back in the 19th centuryan industrial area was historically formed in the southwestern part of the island, there you can find unique buildings from the times of Soviet Constructivism.

One of the most impressive creations of the Leningrad architectural Avant-garde of the early 30s of the 20th century is located in this area. This is the Water Tower of the Red Nailer Factory (4, line 25 of Vasilievsky Island).

Before the revolution, this iron and wire factory did not stand out from the surrounding industrial landscape. But with the arrival of a new aesthetics, that emerged under the influence of the revolutionary upheavals and the enthusiasm of the first five-year plans, everything changed. At first, the factory received a new name  -"Red Nailer"(Krasny Gvozdilshchik), which perfectly corresponded to that dynamic time. Then the acquisition of a new form began. The project of the rope workshop with a water tower was created by the outstanding Soviet architect and artist Yakov Chernikov.

The futuristic tower was built in 1930-1931. It really looks like a nail in shape - a cylinder-shaped water tank stands on a narrow platform supported by two thin columns. The structure is imbued with expression and resembles a science fiction object.

The Red Nailer tower is so unusual that it was included in all reference books and textbooks of architecture as a unique example of Constructivism. It is no coincidence that the world famous architect Zaha Hadid, who visited St. Petersburg in 2004, wanted to see this particular building among the first sights of the city.

In the near future, after the restoration of the rope workshop and tower, an exhibition space may be located here. One of the ideas is to create a Museum of Leningrad Constructivism on the basis of the Red Nailer Factory.