It’s a pleasure to finally hold a copy of this new book I photographed about the expansion of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Here the Russian practice Studio 44 Architects have converted the east wing of what was originally the General Staff Building. This neoclassical masterpiece by Carlo Rossi lies across Palace Square from the Winter Palace and curves around to define the semi-circular form of the square. Studio 44 have re-established Rossi’s orginal design principle by establishing an enfilade through the internal courtyard along a new a monumental concrete raised walkway mounted by dramatic staircases at either end. On either side the walkway connects through to both refurbished interiors and a series of new gallery spaces.
This was a lovely project to work on – a truly international collaboration. I shot it in July 2014 working directly with the lead architect and book’s primary author, Oleg Yawein. But I’d already been lucky enough to discuss the project first with Thames & Hudson in London and then with Hans Ebelings in Montreal earlier in the year. Hans had been involved in the book since it’s inception and wrote an essay for it – ‘Nature and Nuture of a Building.’ Other architectural luminaries also contributed text: Aaron Betsky, Dimitry Shividkovsky & Yulia Revzina and Rem Koolhaas, as did the museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky.