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Korolevskaya gora (King‟s Mountain) in Kaliningrad: Projects and concepts for its development Historical and analytical review Introduction In early 2008, the local authorities and the city’s general population recognized the need to take a decision on the design concept for the redevelopment of Kaliningrad’s city centre. This area, which has been excluded from the city’s evolution for over 60 years, has now got a historic chance to return to a vibrant existence and give a new impulse to the city. To encourage an informed public and professional discussion of forthcoming architectural proposals, the Regional Branch Office of the Union of Architects of Russia decided to compile all existing concepts for this area and its “heart” – Korolevskaya gora (King’s Mountain) – into a single summary report so that the whole range of concepts could be apparent to any citizen or a future designer. Similar historical and analytical elaborations not only serve a generally useful function of making the discussion substantive and to avoid repeating previous mistakes, but also allow for visualization of different design approaches to the same area. It became apparent that projects are strongly influenced by the political circumstances of the time as well as by economic factors, which will give rise to the best possible architectural and planning concept for Korolevskaya gora in the future. Considering the impossibility of making such a review fully comprehensive, the authors decided initially to limit themselves only to those projects and intentions that have been widely presented to the general public or, in due course, extensively discussed in the mass media. Therefore, many of the projects and intentions that were more of a low-key or private nature were not included in this document. In the second place, the character of such a review requires it to be regularly updated. Thus, it is being published open for amendments, i.e. it will be regularly complemented and revised. 0. Historical background: the emergence of a settlement and the role of Korolevskaya gora Korolevskaya gora is a hill on the river floodplain levee at the confluence of two river arms, the Old and New Pregolya rivers. Since the 12th-13th century it has played a dominant role at the junction of the routes from Sambia to Natangia and water routes from the Baltics to the inland regions upstream of Pregolya. Due to its location and dominating height over its surroundings it was chosen as a fortification site by the German (Teutonic) Knights led by the Bohemian king Przemysl Ottokar II during their crusade to colonize pagan lands and to annex them to the Order’s possessions. It was during this crusade that the Order founded the castle of Königsberg (the King’s Mountain) on the upland of the river floodplain.

Fig. 1. General plan of Königsberg Castle on the Twangste mountain in the 13th century (according to Erhardt, 1988) 1. Site of the ancient Old Prussian settlement. 2. The Order‟s castle under construction. 3. Territory outside the castle. 4. Original city area. 5. Dike dam of Melnichnyi Prud (Mill‟s Pond).

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


In the course of the intensive colonization policy of Sambia and Natangia the three medieval towns of Altstadt, Kneiphof and Löbenicht were formed around the castle. Each of them had its own infrastructure (town halls, markets, churches, ramparts, moats, gates, bridges and suburbs). Over time, adjacent craftsmen settlements, villages and suburbs merged into Königsberg towns. Thus, by the 17th century a peculiar urban conglomeration had already been formed at the mouth of the Pregel River.

Fig. 2. The Order‟s castle of Königsberg with a castle suburb; Altstadt, Löbenicht and Kneiphof in the second half th of the 14 century. (historical reconstruction).

Over its centuries-old history, the castle that first belonged to the Order and later to the King, was repeatedly rebuilt and refurbished, and on more than one occasion changed its function but always remained within the initially chosen perimeter. By the beginning of the 20th century the castle had already become a large museum complex and a monument to European (as well as Russian) history.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 3. Construction stages of Königsberg Castle (according to F. Lars). Основные этапы строительства Орденской крепости в Кёнигсберге. Рис.1

Fig. 4. Bird‟s eye panorama of the castle and adjacent towns (according to Brown, 1581)

In 1724 the three medieval towns grouped around the castle were legally unified under a single name “Königsberg”. The Order’s castle and the hill itself served as a historic, urban planning and administrative core, around which the city of Königsberg had been formed and existed for almost seven centuries.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 5. View of Königsberg Castle, an aerial photograph, the 1930s.

In 1944, during the Second World War, around eighty per cent of the centre of Kaliningrad was destroyed by British bombing and, then, in 1945, by the assault of the Soviet troops. The Order’s castle suffered heavy damage too – only walls and bits of the tower survived.

Fig. 6. Photo of the castle immediately after the War.

The old nucleus – the heart of the city – was destroyed. The city itself and part of the former German province of the Eastern Prussia had their names changed to Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad oblast Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


respectively and were incorporated into the USSR (as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). From the very first years after the War, architects and urban planners, who developed regeneration plans for the new Soviet city of Kaliningrad, considered Korolevskaya gora as a key urban planning problem of the whole urban area with regard to its historical context. Its incompleteness gave rise to numerous projects, schemes and concepts (visionary) regarding the development of Korolevskaya gora and its new place in the municipal fabric, but from 1946 to 2009 the problem was never solved completely. As a result, for over 60 years, the city has been building a “blockade” around its former historical, urban planning and administrative centre in attempts to mitigate the problem. 1. Postwar proposals and concepts (1946-1955) In a staff report on the redevelopment and reconstruction of Königsberg dated 24 June 1946 the chief architect of the Municipal Services Regional Department P.V. Timokhin wrote to the head of the Civil Affairs Department of the Königsberg oblast V.A. Borisov: “One of the main architectural tasks in the city is to change the external architectural image of the city. Contemporary monotonously built-up German streets or whimsically Germanized Art Nouveau standing side by side with a pretentious villa cannot, of course, be retained, and the peculiar character of roofs needs to be changed.”

Fig. 7. Detail of city centre general plan (Giprogor), 1946-1949

The first sketch of the general plan for the city of Kaliningrad developed by Moscow’s Giprogor (Russian Institute of City Construction and Investment Development) (pic.7) is of interest, because it retains four bridges on Kneiphof (the island of Kant) and removes the Medovyi Bridge (Honey Bridge). The House of the Soviets is not yet shown on the sketch but the site of the future landmark building Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


has been marked off, and the curve of the street, leading from the Lavochnyi Bridge (Merchant’s Bridge) upwards to the left, indicates that the transit route across Kneiphof is at ground level, with no overhead bridge. The “upper city” is still located high up. It has not been put on the same level as the “lower city” yet which will happen later because of the overhead bridge. To reach the upper city, one needs to climb an uphill winding road. The land would “become vacant” on the site of the demolition of the “lower city”; stone and old building materials would be removed, and a large amount of green park spaces were planned. The cathedral is missing in this project. Order No 195 of the Architecture Department under the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, dated 13 May 1948: “…Given the modest amount of funds available it is necessary to achieve a decided transformation of the whole built-up pattern in order to erode the spirit of “Prussianness” in it and to seal our Soviet culture in the architectural landscape. It is necessary to overcome and to erode the obscure martial spirit of the Prussian architecture with its excessive forms of half-blind windows, walls and top-heavy pointed roofs. Instead, the light vivacity of forms and amiability of image shall come.”

Pic. 8. Model of the city centre project, from the „50s.

The architect M.P. Naumov wrote in an article in “Kaliningradskaya pravda” dated 30 April 1949: “It will be noted that the city centre has been built up by the Germans sporadically and barbarously, which is generally common in capitalist cities. There are many narrow streets here where a tram can barely pass by. Prospects, green boulevards and public gardens will overlay the site of the former buildings. The main compositional axis of the city will traverse the city centre by linking the right bank with the left one. A huge Palace of the Soviets will be designed to be built in the centre. Probably, its base will be the site of the existing fortress [meaning the Königsberg castle – author’s note] with the tower and the large square descending to the river…The Palace of the Soviets will be conceived as a monument to a great figure of the Communist party and the Soviet state – Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin. The Palace will be crowned by a high-rising tower lighthouse, visible from far off, that will highlight the character of Kaliningrad – a harbour city”.

Other plans were put forward. For example, the remains of the city were proposed to be completely leveled in order to make space for the erection of a pyramidal pantheon-monument to fallen soldiers in its place. Another option was to abandon the city and its uninhabited ruins altogether as an apotheosis of the war, and to build a new city in another place. But many of the architects backed the idea of preserving the old city, though it is true that they tried to interpret this into a traditional urban fabric in the spirit of pompous monumentalism following the neoclassical style that was fashionable at that time. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Pic. 9. Centre of Kaliningrad. By D. Navalikhin (in co-authorship with A.Maximov, the first architect of Kaliningrad). Early 1950s.

In the proposed project by D. Navalikhin (pic. 9) the bridges across the island of Kneiphof have abeen eliminated in order to strengthen the lines of force of a new wide viaduct on Leninsky Prospect (serving as a prototype of the future overhead bridge) and here we also see the prototype of the future Moskovsky Prospect on the east-west axis. Leninsky Prospect terminates at the semi-circular square with the most dominant city feature on Korolevskaya gora – House of the Soviets (a regional replica of the Soviet Moscow skyscrapers of the Stalin era) - in the midst of the public buildings of “Stalinist classicism”. It is noteworthy that this project retains and even highlights the city’s division into the “upper” and the “lower” city. The elevations of the buildings in the “upper city” shape a powerful horizontal running along the river. The “lower city” has not found any relevant interpretation and is abandoned as a backup for subsequent concepts under the veil of the system of public gardens, parks and memorials (that seem to be excessive in order to serve the actual memorial function). However from the mid-1950s, Kaliningrad, as well as the rest of the country, started to introduce industrial construction methods based on the use of standard designs, which clashed violently with pretentiousness, fussiness and unnecessary decorative flourishes. All buildings then under redevelopment were also subjected to this trend. 2. Era of standard designs and large scale construction (1956-1988) All stages of the city’s reconstruction, which began with the first general plan in 1949, allowed for creating a new Russian city with a fundamentally new architectural image in which any reminders of the German past would be deliberately erased. At first, it was intended to retain the former street grid, and a part of this plan was implemented in the 1950s and early 1960s in the areas adjacent to Prospect Mira. However later general plans elaborated in the 1960s stipulated a complete rejection of the historically developed urban fabric that had been established over many centuries. At that time a political decision was taken – in place of the old city of Königsberg to build quite another city, – a new Socialist Kaliningrad. Models of new planning concepts were presented at All-Union architectural competitions held in 1964 and 1974. As a consequence, the adopted ideological line was the total neglect of the former architectural and urban planning civilization of the city which later resulted in the changing of the city’s fabric, pattern, scale and image. In 1964 the work on the next general plan was commenced and, for this purpose, as reported in the newspaper Kaliningradskaya Pravda from 4th April 1964, the All-Union meeting of architects was held Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


in Kaliningrad and, in the same year, resulted in the announcement of an architectural competition that was entered by design institutes from Moscow, Leningrad, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Pic. 10. Centre of Kaliningrad. By the architect V. Khodakovsky, 1963.

In the run-up to the forthcoming competition for the urban planning concept of the redevelopment of Kaliningrad the then city’s chief architect Vladimir Khodakovskyi published an article issued on the 17th of November 1963 in Kaliningradskaya Pravda. It described Leninsky Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare as “not much of a street” and “it is a blot on the whole landscape”. Khodakovsky asserted that it was necessary to change the “silhouette of redevelopment and the city’s major thoroughfare”. He believed that it was necessary to increase the height of the four-storey residential buildings of Khrushchev’s times by at least one more storey and to erect pavilions where the retail and domestic institutions could be housed. At the junctions along the street, he envisaged buildings with an increased number of floors, which would “anchor” the surrounding space. The chief architect proposed to erect a new viaduct over Pregolya that would have been an extension of Serpukhovskaya Street. This thoroughfare would accommodate a major traffic flow. Leninsky Prospect was assigned the role of a “trade centre and a boulevard” accessible only for cars. Further, Khodakovsky recommended that the authorities should retain the best still-intact western part of the King’s Castle and extend it as an “administrative or central city building similar to a public club with a multi-functional hall, that could house mass meetings, rallies, theatre performances and sport contests”.

Fig. 11. Competition project (1), view from the north.

As we see in this proposal (Fig. 11), Korolevskaya gora is built up with a complex of high-rise buildings of far larger scale than suggested in the projects of the 1950s. According to the project proposal, “the lower” city is placed “in parenthesis”. The main high rising complex on Korolevskaya Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


gora is linked to the secondary complexes (near the Kronprince barracks and in the vicinity of the Yuzhny (Southern) station). Other urban spaces (apart from parks and lakes) are built up with standard-type buildings. It should be noted that a belt road along the former city’s ramparts is extended across the Oktyabrsky Island (Lomse) near Litovsky Val. The proposed image of the city virtually resembles a clone of Stalinist Moscow.

Fig. 12. Competition project (2)

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 13. Competition project (3)

Fig. 14. Competition project (4)

Three other competition projects (Fig. 12, 13, 14) trace varying degrees of one and the same urban planning idea, namely an esplanade emerging from Korolevskaya gora (or still further from the Yuzhny station across the island of Kneiphof) to the north, leading out to the rampart belt in the vicinity of a market. The “lower” city in the form of the island of Kant and the Oktyabrsky Island (Kneiphof and Lomse) has been left to function as a park and memorial area as well as a sports area. Notably, one of the projects (Fig.12) proposes a geometric pattern of urban complexes, park and “castle” ensembles, elaborated in great detail. However, a ”transportation cross” in the form of the force lines of Moskovsky and Leninsky prospects traverses a small road network of old Königsberg in all three cases. It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the internal traffic circle (General Sommera Street, Barnaulskaya, Polotskaya-Krasnooktyabrskaya, General Pavlova…), proposed by nearly all bidders, and it is a cause for regret that “nothing ever happened”. Thus, a large architectural and urban planning ensemble, anchoring the compositional principles and planning conventions of neoclassicism was proposed to be created in the centre of the city in all of the projects of the 1950s and early 1960s. In parallel with these competitions, the bodies of the Communist Party took the decision to build the largest office building of the region on Korolevskaya gora – House of the Soviets, which would fulfill a centering urban planning function at the junction of the two developed urban diameters: Yuzhny Station-Severny Station and Moskovsky Prospect.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 15. Castle in 1965, (photo by Y. Vaganov).

Pic. 16. Draft proposal for the site to be selected for the future House of the Soviets and development of the area between the castle and the building of the institute Kaliningradgrazhdanproyekt, 1966

In 1967, a team from the institute Kaliningradgrazhdanproyekt (L. Soskin, V. Eremeev, E. Popov, V. Osipov and others) presented their urban planning design for a new part of Kaliningrad, as reported by the newspapers Mosproektovets, 17 November 1967, and Kaliningradskaya Pravda, 12 July 1967.

Fig. 17. Development project for the centre of Kaliningrad, 1967

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 18. Options for development. 1967

Fig. 19. Detail of the main square. House of the Soviets, an engraving by the architect E.A. Popov, 1967.

In this case, we observe the changeover of the spirit of Stalinist neoclassicism to Soviet modernism, in aesthetic terms distinctly influenced by the new capital of Brasilia that was being built at the time and on the architects Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, who were popular in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Their ideas (fig. 20) served as a point of departure for the choices made concerning Korolevskaya gora in the 1970-1980s. In this concept design of redevelopment of Kaliningrad’s centre of 1967, particular attention can be drawn to the absence of a transit route along Shevtchenko Street as well as to the proposal to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic (by accentuating a symbolic direction towards the tomb of Kant). According to one of the versions of this project, the height of the House of the Soviets is more balanced and harmonious than the one that was actually built. The ruins of the castle (the surviving Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


corner tower) fulfill a decorative function only. The siting of the large object for public and cultural use in front of the hotel Kaliningrad is a rational proposal in compositional terms and a peculiar reflection over the lost KĂśnigsberg castle. A new spatial feature of the area is offered by the optimal use of a water resource, expressed in the water cascades, utilizing the natural elevation difference of Nizhnyi Pond (Lower Pond) and the Pregolya river. In fact, this project became pivotal in the implementation of the subsequent urban planning ideology of redevelopment and establishment of the centre of the new city of Kaliningrad over the whole second half of the 20th century.

Fig. 20. National Congress Building – the parliament of Brazil, a traffic esplanade and the Three Powers Square.

In 1972, the next All-Russian competition for planning and development of the central part of the city was announced. The competition was held by Gosstroy of the RSFSR and the Union of Architects of the USSR. Participants included TsNIIEP (the Central Scientific Research and Experimental Design Institute) for physical training facilities and recreation buildings, LENNIIP for City Planning, Giprogor of Gosstroy of the RSFSR, and the Moscow Institute of Architecture and Kaliningradgrazhdanproyekt. In 1974, the competition process was completed. The competition jury announced the project by Giprogor to be the winning proposal, while the second award was given to the project by Kaliningradgrazhdanproyekt.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 21. Development project for the centre of Kaliningrad. TsNIIEP named after Mezentsev, workshop No2, Project Manager Y. Shvartsbreim. (“Architecture of public buildings�, Stroyizdat, 1980)

After the second architectural competition, the beginning of the new project stage of development resulted in the drafting of the next general plan that later was used as a basis for the development of the city plan (PDP) approved in 1982. This time, it was decided that the remains of the former urban structure, which still survived in the central part of the city, were to be removed completely. The ruins of the castle were blown up and leveled to the ground in the period between 1967 and 1969, notwithstanding the fact that prior to the demolition of the monument, survey drawings were made, and despite the existing information that, by that time, Lithuanian architects had completed a project for preservation of the castle ruins allowing for conversion of the ruins into a museum of peace. Though the project was awarded with a diploma at the All-Union competition, it was quickly forgotten. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 22. One of the options for the castle preservation and utilization, the 1960s.

Large-scale construction of standard eight- and twelve-storey housing blocks commenced on the pattern that was compulsory for the whole USSR. The area previously occupied by the castle, was covered with cobblestone. In the direct vicinity of this area, the House of the Soviets began to be built as a new center in the round. Construction works were terminated in 1990, while a year earlier, the entire era of Soviet urban planning had come to an end. The design of the House of the Soviets was conceived in 1968. It had been approved by 1970 and in the same year the construction commenced. The chief architect was Yulian Lvovich Shvartsbreim, an honored architect of the RSFSR, a laureate of the USSR state prize, the head of the architectural workshop of TsNIIEP named after B.S. Mezentsev. The construction of the House of the Soviets started on Korolevskaya gora alongside the castle foundation. All successive concepts up until the early 1990s considered the House of the Soviets as an accomplished fact. Its height is 71, 6 m. According to the builders the House of the Soviets has an immense safety factor. It is standing on 1148 piles up to a meter-and-a-half thick cast in situ foundation footings, heavy duty steel and reinforced concrete frames, four stiffening cores cast in situ on different levels – from the basement up to the top. It has four halls, eight express lifts, and a basement with space for a restaurant and service facilities. According to its design the House of the Soviets should have been finished with a special material – stemalite (enameled glass) but after the replacement of this material with concrete panels, initiated by the higher authorities, the House of the Soviets got its present look. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 23. House of the Soviets and the Central square.

Fig. 24. Nakagin Capsule Tower, by the architect K. Kurokawa, 1970-1972. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


The House of the Soviets has a high quality of the architectural composition and aesthetics in the ideology of Soviet brutalism which is a constituent part of the common architectural and artistic programme of that time and is defined as Soviet modernism. Soviet brutalism is in its turn an echo of international brutalism – an architectural style of Western Europe, the USA and Japan of the 1950s and its vivid continuation - metabolism which originated in Japan in the late 1950s. The representatives of metabolism of the 1960s are such famous architects as K. Tange, K. Kikutake and K. Kurokawa. The peculiarities of the architectural language of metabolism are incompleteness, ”understatement” and openness of the structural arrangement of buildings for a “dialogue” with the changing architectural, cultural and technological context of urban environment. Thus, the House of the Soviets represents a monument to good stylistic architecture. It stimulates interest in contemporary history and provides vivid visualization of the views of that period, as nothing more interesting and significant has been created in Kaliningrad during the Soviet period. No examples of such magnitude exist in other provincial cities of Russia. By its scale, ideological power, intensity of the administrative will and the resources spent it is comparable to the construction of Konigsberg Castle by the Order.

Fig. 25. Development project for the Central square, 1980s.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 26. Detail of the adopted general plan for the city centre of Kaliningrad, 1970s.

Fig. 27. Panoramic view and aerial photography of the city centre of Kaliningrad, 2005. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


3. Transition period (prior to the construction boom) (1989 − 2002) 3.1. Danish renovation project for the House of the Soviets, 1992 In 1992 the first mayor of Kaliningrad Vitaliy Shipov and the chief architect of the city Vasiliy Britan organized an international competition for the development project of the central square area with due account taken of the change of function of the House of the Soviets that had been almost completed. By working in cooperation with the Kaliningrad architect Alexander Nevezhin, the architectural studio of Jorn Langvad (Denmark) that won the competition, proposed the option of revitalizing the building by means of glazing the central atrium with prism-transparent glass. The financial backer of the construction was the Danish Bank. The Danish project is of interest because it represents the first attempt to consider Korolevskaya gora not as a landscaping site that Kaliningrad citizens have been used to, but rather as a potential site for construction.

Fig. 28. Danish project, 1992.

3.2. Programme for the linear centre of the city. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


In 1996 – 1997, with the participation of the Academy of Urban Environment (Vyacheslav Glazychev, Moscow) Vadim Khvan launched an extensive programme with the aim to study the urban fabric of Kaliningrad’s city centre, which resulted in a large-scale linear city centre rehabilitation project and changing of the urban planning management system in the city administration. A mass campaign raising public awareness of the project was launched and, as an example of open public actions, welcomed by the mayor of Kaliningrad Vitaliy Shipov and his successor Igor Kozhemyakin. The group of architects from Kazakhstan under the leadership of Vadim Khvan proposed the development project for the city centre for the whole length of Leninsky Prospect from Pobedy Square (Victory Square) up to Kalinina Square. The primary focus was not on the specific architectural and sculptural designs but rather on the change of project paradigms as well as the management paradigms that should have realized these projects. Nevertheless, the general public, which conventionally does not recognize an architect “without pictures”, insisted on a pre-sketching phase. Figure 29 illustrates the proposals of Khvan’s team in respect of Korolevskaya gora.

Fig. 29. Proposal for the House of the Soviets renovation by the architect V. Khvan.

3.3. Igor Shelepov‟s project (2002) In 2002 an architect from Kaliningrad Igor Shelepov took an initiative to submit his vision of the future of Korolevskaya gora. He proposed to reconstruct the King’s Castle while preserving the House of the Soviets. According to his version, the inner courtyard of the castle would be covered with glass, and a congress hall would be built between the uncompleted building of the House of the Soviets and the restored hall of Moskovites. A vast covered space could equally host Christmas tree parties for children, international trade exhibitions and a variety of fashion shows and popular events intended for a large number of people. It was planned to decrease the number of floors at the House of the Soviets and to place a hotel of Hilton class on the site between the House of the Soviets and the Wedding Palace. Among other Russian projects, Shelepov’s project was awarded a golden prize at the international architectural exhibition-biennale “Monument”. There were 580 works by architects from 40 countries presented at the competition. As newspapers wrote at that time, “The Kaliningrad architect’s concept brought together eras and generations by granting everybody a right to leave their imprint”. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 30. For reference only: model of the Königsberg castle.

4. Era of construction boom (2003 − 2008) 4.1. Projects by German students (Braunschweig), 2004. In 2004, under the auspices of the Kaliningrad City Administration, the Institute of Architecture Theory and Design of the Technical University of the city of Braunschweig (IGE), made Kaliningrad projects a summer term theme for a group of student architects. In 2005 a ”catalogue” “Visionen for Kaliningrad”, timed to coincide with the 750th anniversary of the city, was prepared. On 7 August 2004, the German-Russian House hosted an opening of the exhibition VISIONEN2, at which students of the Department of Architecture presented their thesis works on the new architectural image of Kaliningrad, part of which projects was related to the Korolevskaya gora. Project participants agreed that the main city thoroughfare – Leninsky Prospect – is lacking a socalled zone of influence. The European Commercial Centre (on the site of the castle and the House of the Soviets) could become such a benchmark and appear as a promoter of political development, business and a place for different kinds of events. It could house a General Consulate of the EU or offices of European economic establishments. Judged by the works presented at the exhibition, metal and glass would be the main materials for construction of new buildings.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


H.-J端rgen Krieger

Clemens Kampermann

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Bjรถrn Rolle

Ulrich Hundsdรถrfer Fig. 31. Projects presenting contextual approach. Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Basically, the thesis works by the German students of the Department of Architecture of IGE can be divided into two main groups. The first group comprises projects displaying an attempt to work with both the historic and existing context of the environment by using historical patterns of development as well as the existing House of the Soviets. The second group of projects focuses on the forming-up of new compositional schemes by using the principles of currently popular deconstructivism and at the same time ignoring the castle and the House of the Soviets.

Martin H채ttasch

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Ilka Schiemann

Heiner Grewsm端hl

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Daniela Hohenhorst Fig. 32. Group projects, representing the trends of deconstructivism.

In this case, it is of a particular interest that according to the Western European youth’s view, architectural and aesthetic reinterpretation of Korolevskaya gora would be made through the selection of the theme of “explosion” (!). The interpretations of this “event”, presented in the spirit of contemporary deconstructivism, highlight the substantial difference between western and eastern architectural schools. Against the background of contextual vacuum and limitations of the contemporary visualization of designs, and despite their somewhat academic nature, the student works sounded fresh and gave rise to discussions on the urban planning destiny of the city centre and the need for labour-intensive diversified work in this respect. 4.2. Project of commercial and office centre “House of the Soviets”, 2006 In 2006, LTD “MOLL kontsept”, specializing in consulting services in the retail real estate sphere, developed a commercial technological concept “Commercial and office centre: House of the Soviets”, where the entire land area around the House of Soviets would be dedicated exclusively to retail operations. However, it was felt that this concept of a mono-function creation would substantially reduce the significance of Korolevskaya gora and impoverish this historical area.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 33. Planning concept of the commercial and office center “House of the Soviets”.

4.3. Alexander Bashin‟s projects (2005 – 2008) In 2005, when elaborating his lakeside development project for Nizhneye Lake (Lower Lake) “Heart of the City”, Alexander Bashin incorporated the area of Korolevskaya gora in his design activities. Incidentally, this was the first time in 60 years, when a design headed not from the south but from the north. According to Bashin’s project proposal, the castle would be restored to its historical forms, and a prototype of a business city – a group of high-rise buildings - would be built further to the east of the House of the Soviets. According to the architect’s intention, the House of the Soviets should be covered by a glass-prism dome and the blocks of the Altstadt’s historical replica should appear on a narrow strip of land between Moskovsky Prospect and the Pregolya River.

Fig. 34. Detail of A. Bashin‟s project “Heart of the City”.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


A year later, A. Bashin withdrew his concept of Korolevskaya gora from the “Heart of the City” and improved the first design. In particular, he modified the spatial solutions with regard to high-rise buildings east of the House of the Soviets.

Fig. 35. Four high-rise buildings, the renovated House of the Soviets and the rebuilt King‟s Castle, 2007.

4.4. Project of historical models of the Altstadt built-up area restoration (2007 – 2008)

Fig. 36. Restoration project for the historical built-up area of Altstadt.

The project appears to be an element of the project movement shared by two authors – Alexander Bashin (in terms of the castle restoration) and Artur Sarnits. According to Sarnits’s proposal, a historical built-up area would be restored on a part of the Altstadt territory (between Moskovsky Prospect and Pregolya), wherefore Sarnits made a computer-aided design of the historic built-up area based on contemporary historic photos. 4.5. Music Theatre Project, 2007 Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


In 2007, the oblast government conducted a competition for the architectural concept of a music theatre in Kaliningrad. One of the contestants disregarded the competition site on the bank of Nizhniy Pond, which was specified in the terms of reference, and proposed to position the theatre building east of the House of the Soviets, thereby manifesting value of the horizontal line at the hill. Though the project failed to win the competition, it gave rise to a new round of discussions about Korolevskaya gora’s destiny resulting in an engineering solution to lower a part of Shevtchenko Street underground and covering it on top to allow for unobstructed pedestrian transit from Nizhneye Lake to Korolevskaya gora and further on.

Fig. 37. Project proposal for positioning and concept of the music theatre in the city of Kaliningrad.

The architecture of this new structure displays a combination of partial citations from Le Corbusier’s famous competition project of the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow in 1931 and usage of the King’s Castle dimensions. 4.6. International workshop materials (2007) In 2007 an international workshop on the conceptual vision of Kaliningrad’s centre redevelopment within the second rampart circle was held by the Kaliningrad City Administration, the Kaliningrad Oblast Government and the regional Union of Architects of Russia. Several international groups developed their own approaches in order to be able in a few days to unify them into a single conceptual project. It turned out to be multifaceted and diversified. More information about it is available on the website

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 38. Some of the project ideas, presented during the international workshop.

One of the workshop outcomes was the experts’ almost unanimous consensus regarding the height characteristics of buildings on the eastern part of Korolevskaya gora (five to six storeys) and the need for development of pedestrian and cyclist transit routes running through the whole core of the city from Verkhneye Lake (Upper Lake) via Nizhneye Lake, Korolevskaya gora, Kneiphof and Lomse (the island of Kant and Oktyabrskiy Island) and further to the green quarters of Yuznyi Park (Southern Park). The scheme of traffic layout that was elaborated during the workshop gives priority to pedestrian traffic routes north-south over transit traffic routes west-east, giving rise to the idea of placing a section of Moskovsky Prospect down into a tunnel. In the architects’ design the restoration of bridges on Kneiphof would provide a relief for pedestrian traffic. The main decision taken at the workshop regarding the destiny of Korolevskaya gora was a recommendation to hold an international competition for this territory.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 39. Central part of the city. In order to determine the concept of redevelopment, the spot of Korolevskaya gora is proposed to be tendered at the international competition.

4.7. Jean Michel Wilmotte, 2007. In 2007 the architect Jean Michel Wilmotte was invited by the Kaliningrad City Administration to create a sketch of his own vision for Korolevskaya gora. In place of the castle he proposed to construct an “anti-castle” – a public building with the inner silhouette in the form of the external silhouette of the disappeared castle.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 40. J.-M. Wilmotte‟s Project.

4.8. Concept of the architectural and urban planning development of the historical area of Altstadt. Architectural Bureau NW, 2007.

Fig. 41. Concept “Altstadt” by the Architectural Bureau NW, 2007.

On the area of the castle the architects Yury Zabuga and Oleg Vasiutin (Architectural Bureau NW) proposed to erect a high-tech fully transparent building with reinforced horizontal lines in the restored scale of the castle, and to restore the House of Convent that used to be the core of the castle complex in the 14th-16th century (please see pictures 2 and 3). Since the demolished remains of the castle cannot dominate the urban environment due to their small mass, the preserved and restored fragments of the castle would “sound” within the interiors of this new contemporary structure. The renovated House of the Soviets (fig. 41) is proposed to be “packed” into mirror glass facades so that the “Lower City” could “see” its reflection. A part of Moskovsky Prospect would be placed Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


underground in this option, precisely as was proposed at the workshop. The east of Kneiphof would be partially built up with buildings of historical height. The “lower” city would be separated from the “upper” one by a horizontal line of the elevations of the buildings situated on the floodplain levee. 4.9. Project submitted at MIPIM-2008.

Fig. 42. A combined project by A. Bashin and Architectural Bureau NW.

This project, which combined the projects by Alexander Bashin, Yury Zabuga and Oleg Vasiutin, was presented by the Kaliningrad Oblast Government and investors at the international exhibition MIPIM2008 in Cannes. Alexander Bashin was responsible for designing the restoration of the castle and the complex “Lastadie” on the left from the overhead bridge; the other two architects designed the complex “Altstadt”, the area of the former “Löbenicht” and the redevelopment pattern of Kneiphof. Thus, despite still preserving a decorative imitation of Altstadt, the recently developed tendency towards a fewer number of floors can probably be assumed in the next project stage in the redevelopment of Korolevskaya gora and its adjacent area. 4.10. MARCHI students projects 2008 Student project contests for the best concept and sketch-idea, which would develop the theme of how the contemporary architectural elements can be inserted into the historical fabric of the city centre, were held at the festival ”Zodchestvo” that took place under the theme “Historic City and New Architecture” in Moscow in 2008. The projects that won the Jury’s choice award were mainly executed for Kaliningrad - these were three of four winners. Varvara Domnenko was awarded a silver diploma for the project of the hotel complex “Hoffman’s Hotel” and reconstruction of the area eastward of Altstadt; a golden diploma was received by Olga Yatsuk for the project of the sports and recreation complex “Wagner’s Square”; the Jury’s special prize was awarded to Evgeniya Yatsuk for the project of a water tourist complex in the layout of the centre of Kaliningrad to be regenerated. All three designers used the shapes of pre-war buildings but nevertheless opted out of their precise replication in favor of rethinking how the historical past could be inserted in the structure of contemporary spatial complexes.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Fig. 43. Wagner‟s square (MARCHI), 2007 − 2008.

In Olga Yatsuk’s design, the sports and recreation complex “Wagner’s Square” would be placed between the spot of the former castle and the existing Wedding Palace in place of the House of the Soviets. The project was intended to be a part of a complex solution for one of the contest entries related to the music theatre and fulfilled the task to connect (in visual and transport terms) the site of the theatre (and in a broader sense – the “upper city”) with the area of the former Altstadt; as such, the proposal rested upon the historical redevelopment pattern of Altstadt and Löbenicht. Conclusion It is apparent that in the Soviet times, there were several principal urban planning decisions that radically changed the historical structure of the city centre and its essence in terms of deterioration of its features and saturation of urban spaces. First of all, it is necessary to mention that this area was selected as a centre of the city in the Soviet times as it was in the Teutonic Order’s times (despite the repeated attempts to move the centre first to the area of Karla Marxa Street and then to Ploschad Pobedy (Victory Square)). Secondly, this “place” stopped being historical in the Soviet times (toponyms, historical building material and reminiscences disappeared), thus, it became a pre-historic area dominated by natural landscape. Thirdly, the changed scale of the old historical city and emergence of 10-12 storey residential development between the Novaya Pregolya River, Bagramyana Embankment and Moskovsky Prospect eliminated the division of the city’s core into the “lower” and the “upper” city. The overhead bridge elevated above the ground diminished the dimensions of Korolevskaya gora and turned it into an ordinary hill. Fourthly, the city centre was given over primarily for speedy transit (Moskovsky Prospect and overhead thoroughfare) than for specific “central” functions. In other words, the area of “stay” was effectively replaced by the area of transit.

Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


On the other hand, it must be admitted that in view of the earlier projects of the “lower city” development, the current situation is not the worst among the set of proposals of the 1970s. As for the project proposals of contemporary times (after 1993), the various proposed approaches can be divided into the following types. First, object oriented projects. According to them, Korolevskaya gora was considered to be an autonomous entity – a territory that should be built up with beautiful structures. The role of Korolevskaya gora and its ties with the whole core of the former historical city was often neglected (“a king remains a king even in the middle of nowhere”). Sometimes it reached ridiculous proportions, when large high-rise buildings were placed on the mountain while no regard was taken for changing the traffic layout or engineering provisions in the development area. Secondly, complex approaches, which did not bring objects on Korolevskaya gora under scrutiny because, at first, it was necessary to design the surroundings (to create an urban planning environment) later on to be built up with objects on Korolevskaya gora (”a king made by his surroundings”). An ultimately significant contribution to transition from projects of the first type to projects of the second type was made by the WORKSHOP 2007 where generally accepted conceptual standpoints on the whole range of the historical part of Kaliningrad could be set up and the territory of Korolevskaya gora was defined as a site for the future international competition. Later on designers could use the outcomes of the workshop to back their project intentions with its systematized elaborations. A “restorative approach” should be emphasized particularly. Starting with the idea of the King’s Castle restoration, it tends to spread over the medieval towns of Königsberg. Notably, a desire for historic restoration (though using new materials) is winning over pathos of contemporary historicity (history is made not only in the past but also in the present) and therefore neglects contemporary objects (House of the Soviets) as well as contemporary transport and infrastructure requirements. It is related to the fact that now Soviet Kaliningrad fails to compete with Königsberg in terms of urban planning and architecture at the domestic as well as at the professional level. Therefore, historicity of Kaliningrad in particular is presently considered to be an inferior issue. However it is impossible to hold back the “restorative” trend that has spread over the whole of Russia in recent years and become in a unique way featured in Kaliningrad. Oleg Vasyutin, architect Alexander Popadin, culturologist

Prepared with materials from the Kaliningrad Branch Office of the non-governmental organization “Union of the Architects of Russia”, from the personal archives of V.V. Khodakovsky and I.A. Grabov as well as the newspaper Kaliningradskaya Pravda over 1961-2006 (20.09.1961, No223(3796); 17.07.1962, No166(4042); 17.11.1963, No270(4450); 04.04.1964 г., No80(4565); 30.04.1965, No101(4891); 27.05.1973, No122(7347); 31.01.1988, No26(11675); 15.09.1989; 10.12.1995, No248(13844); 17.05.2001; 29.03.2006 г., No55(16486); 27.05.2006, No95 (16526)). The authors wish to thank Yury Vaganov, Vadim Eremeev, Aleksander Nevezhin, Elena Tsvetaeva, Valery Kuzlianov, Alexander Glushkov for assistance with the preparation of the materials. Translation by Lina Kramen Proofreading by Stephan Dewar Korolevskaya gora: projects and intentions for its development


Oleg Vasyutin, Alexander Popadin. Historical and Analytical Review "King's Mountain in Kaliningrad"  
Oleg Vasyutin, Alexander Popadin. Historical and Analytical Review "King's Mountain in Kaliningrad"