Architects to revamp The Krestovnikovs Factory with Dutch experience

Transform. Adjust. Preserve. Dutch Experience of Working with Cultural Heritage exhibition opened in Smena Centre for Contemporary Culture opened on 7 October. The Kazan city administration organised a five-day workshop for local architects and urbanists: together with Dutch colleagues, they will have to create a concept of transformation of two cultural heritage sites in the Old Tatar Settlement. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report what sites the Kazan architects will revamp and if their solutions will be applied in practice.

Following the trail of the exhibition

The topic of conservation of landmarks and valuable key sites the city is seen on the Tatarstan agenda more often. The head of the Tatarstan Committee for Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites announced the creation of a new expert group consisting of historians and ethnographers last week, while the Tatarstan president paid a lot of attention to the programme on the revival of cultural heritage sites in his report to Plenipotentiary Envoy of the Russian President to the Volga Federal District Igor Komarov.

Besides, the Kazan city administration opened the five-day workshop for local architects and urbanists on 7 October where they will have to prepare the concept of development of two cultural heritage sites in the Old Tatar Settlement. It is noteworthy that European colleagues will help our specialists.

The case is that the workshop’s work was organised within Transform. Adjust. Preserve. Dutch Experience of Working with Cultural Heritage exhibition, which will be in Smena Centre for Contemporary Culture from 7 October to 22 November. The exposition includes 20 works demonstrating transformation and adjustment of historical buildings done by Dutch specialists in different parts of the planet.

“We came up with the idea after seeing it in other Russian cities. Our first thought was that we had huge experience in the conservation of historical sites. Plus, we’ve actively dealt with public spaces this year. We understood that these sites — public spaces and historical sites — are neighbours but don’t interact with each other. So we decided to unite these two big spheres. How to look at them from another angle except for their restoration? Dutch colleagues have actively succeeded in it in the last years, and we decided to learn their experience,” vice head architect of Kazan Daria Tolovenkova explained.

Dutch method

The Dutch method of working with heritage is based on the principle of “preservation through development”: understanding cultural heritage as part of everyday urban life, the specialists transform and adjust it to a city’s contemporary structure considering the locals’ needs.

The transformation of Jobsveem warehouse built in 1912 in Rotterdam is one of the illustrative examples demonstrative the Dutch method. In 1999, this building was declared as an architectural landmark, and urban authorities had to decide how to use these 20,000 square metres. Having studied the history of the facility as well as its place in the urban context, the Dutch specialists decided to turn the former warehouses to a house for 109 flats.

By the way, Senior Architect at Rotterdam’s Mei architects and planners Leen Kooman who worked on the transformation of Jobsveem also arrived in the republic’s capital and will share the experience with Kazan urbanists during the five-day workshop.

Mr Kooman said that he had been in Kazan in spring during a themed event and already managed to get acquainted with our city. He was also familiar with the district he would have to be working with for the five days — they had a chance to go to a brewery located not far from these two sites as early as May. As for ideas of their transformation, they haven’t advanced so far. To start with, they need to collect enough information, he noted.

Not abstract idea but a set of drawings is the result

Kazan architects will have to work on the uneasy sites — it is the Krestovnikov Brothers Factory and the Banya No. 4 on Tukay Street.

“The choice isn’t accidental. The case is that we have a dream: we want to transform Fatkhutllin Street. However, there is a small problem there — how to connect it with Lake Kaban, which has its second birthday today. For this reason, we chose banya as one of the sites, and the Krestovnikov Brothers Factory is the second site,” Daria Tolovenkova commented.

According to the vice senior architect of Kazan, “not students but working young specialists” are engaged in the work during the workshop. As for the participants’ selection principle, Tolovenkova said the following: “The architectural community is quite small, and we understood at the beginning who we needed, that’s to say, it was rather a closed selection process”.

“We aren’t aimed at presenting the final project at the end of the week. We are aimed at rethinking approaches, training and a new driver for development of architecture across the city. Nevertheless, in the end, we won’t get an abstract thought but a set of drawings and project solutions. In other words, apart from theoretical knowledge and experience, we will get a very serious set of documentation,” Daria Tolovenkova told our newspaper. “Speaking about how far we are from the transformation of these two sites, I can say that it is up to the owners. We will maybe offer some new ideas after the workshop that can accelerate the works on these projects.”

Realnoe Vremya’s interlocutor also noted that literally a third of the city requires serious rethinking: “It includes the Admiralty Settlement, linen mill, all the New Tatar Settlement and everything located on Safyan Street and along second Lake Kaban. The banya and the Krestovnikovs Factory are pilot projects giving to understand the further principle of development of these global territories”.

By Lina Sarimova. Photo: