Kamennoostrovsky pr 35, Bolshoy pr 75
Architect: Aleksandr Belogrud
Bolshoy pr 77
Architect: Aleksandr Belogrud
House No.75 was built for civil engineer K.I. Rozenshteyn, at whose initiative Bolshoy prospekt was extended from ploshchad Lva Tolstogo in the direction of the River Karpovka (1910; numbers 75 to 83 and 98 to 106). After buying this plot of land, Rozenshteyn started designing the house himself, but then, when construction was already well under way, suddenly lost heart and handed the job over to Aleksandr Belogrud, a young architect freshly graduated from the Academy of Arts. Belogrud made the very most of the narrow facade overlooking the square (ploshchad Tolstogo), furnishing it with two hexagonal towers that rise above the main mass of the building and give it a castellate or even cathedral-like presence. The twin towers flank an enormous two-storey-high central pointed arch. They are underscored by stepped bases, project beyond the side facades abutting them to their rear, and are capped by tall balustrades that reach up to grab handfuls of sky.
The two towers are slightly asymmetrical. The north tower has a clock-face high up, just below its cornice and balustrade; the south does not. And there are differences in the positioning of the windows on the third and fourth storeys. The same principle of overall similarity masking subtle or even quite large differences is to be found at work on the building’s long lateral facades. A tall balustrade obscuring the mansard storey runs round all three sides of the house and the shape and positioning of the top, 6th-floor, row of rounded windows is identical in all cases. But, while, for instance, both lateral facades have a pair of bay windows, these are at different heights and in different styles. The bay windows on the facade facing Bolshoy pr. are single-storey, Italianate, massively rusticated, and rest on deep supports; exactly between them, one floor lower, is a long balcony supported by even deeper, exaggeratedly massive, arms. On the side facing ul. Lva Tolstogo the bay windows are double-height (at the level of the 3rd and 4th floors), more box-like in shape, and in a style which is familiar from buildings erected all over the centre of St Petersburg during the second half of the 19th century, Eclectic. This facade has no central balcony. Looking closer, one can’t help noticing something else: the left-hand box window conceals a sudden downward jump in the heights of the rows of windows (from this point on the facade, the third-storey windows end up below the cornice which in the rest of the building divides the second storey from the third). This intriguing discontinuity has a simple explanation. Rozenshteyn’s new house incorporated an existing five-storey block on ul. Lva Tolstogo and did so, moreover, without making any change to the heights of the storeys.
The ‘house with the towers’ has perhaps one fault: it brings the old part of Bolshoy prospekt to a too conclusive end. From this point forwards, the avenue’s continuation looks exactly what it is – an afterthought, an appendix, a narrow thoroughfare that dives into the dense, dark block the other side of Kamennostrovsky prospekt and then has to wriggle to find its way out again.
This building’s floor plan allocates an entire floor to each apartment. Four main rooms overlooked the main street. An additional large reception room and two bedrooms faced the yard, which was small, but open on one side. The staircase is of an unusual oval form, with the flights rising in an unbroken spiral. The steps are of marble, while the balusters (?) and handrail are of white-painted wood. The gently curving staircase walls are said to have originally been painted ultramarine.