New Central Navy Museum in St. Petersburg
The enormous former Kriukov marine barracks hosts today one of the oldest Russian museums and one of the world’s naval museums.
Located at the easternmost end of the Gulf of Finland, St. Petersburg is the naval capital of Russia, an enormous country that extends from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific, from the White Sea to the Black Sea. In particular, the city is home to one of the largest and oldest naval museums in the world, the Central Navy Museum founded in 1709 by Tsar Peter the Great. To accommodate the enormous number of often very bulky exhibits, including ship models, weapons, furnishings and flags, the museum is now being moved to another historic site that has been specially reconstructed for the purpose.
The building housing the new museum is the enormous former Kriukov marine barracks. The massive complex, whose long shape is reminiscent of docks and piers, was built in 1844-1852 by architect Ivan Chernik and subsequently completed by architect Alexander Kudinov. After 1860, it became a school and a library used for the training of Russia’s future naval officers.
The aim of the reconstruction and conversion project was to adapt the spaces of the former barracks to the needs of a complex museum, especially as regards conservation and safety. The work was completed under the supervision of architect Alexander Mironov by the local architecture and construction firm Intarsia, which was set up in 1992 and specialises in the restoration of historic buildings. Born in 1958 in what was then Leningrad, Mironov faced a tough design challenge: to expand the spaces of the future museum so that they could accommodate bulky exhibits in accordance with a contemporary curatorial philosophy while preserving the volumes and distinctive features of the nineteenth-century building.
The challenge of integrating new systems, plants and materials into the rigid military architectures was accomplished successfully. One notable design feature was the floor covering, which consisted of TT120 Progetto Tre ceramic tiles from Verde 1999 in colours beige and grey. These porcelain tiles were chosen by the architects for their aesthetic qualities and high strength as well as their large 120×120 cm size, which makes them suitable for use in elegant spaces subject to intense use and high foot traffic such as museums.
The meticulous restoration project and change of use has been awarded the Conformity Mark for “New Function of Historical Site”. The Kriukov Barracks has also been listed in the “White Book” of the San Petersburgers Worldwide Club, a public agency that protects buildings recognised as world heritage sites. Intarsia has thus fulfilled its mission statement: “Keeping history, we build the future”.
TT120 (Verde 1999), Progetto 3
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA/ULA/UHA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 40 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant