The Greater Hermitage Project. Stage One: Request
On Thursday, 1st April 1999, a press conference was held by Mikhail
Borisovich Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum, at the
International Press Club in Moscow. The subject was the Greater Hermitage
Project, which involves the adaptation of the majority of the historical
buildings around Palace Square, St. Petersburg, for the purposes of museum
education and entertainment. Here, galleries and lecture halls will exist
side by side with museum cafes and restaurants, theatres and concert halls,
virtual reality centres and spaces for electronic art.
The first stage in the realisation of the Greater Hermitage Project
is the reconstruction of the eastern wing of the General Staff Building
and the Victory Arch, which have already been transferred to museum control.
In 1999, the first exhibitions of decorative and applied art will open
here. Initial agreement has been given to future museum use of the Naval
Archive (as a public art library), the building of the former First Battalion
of the Preobrazhensky Guards (as an Archaeological Museum), and the building
of the Guards HQ (as a Museum of the Russian Guards). In February 1999,
the State Hermitage Museum distributed to prestigious and innovative foreign
and Russian developers a detailed description (Request for Proposals)
for this first stage of the Greater Hermitage Project.
A number of foreign foundations have already expressed interest in the
project and initial work has been financed by the World Monuments Fund
in Great Britain and the American Friends of the Hermitage (New York).
The project is supported by UNESCO, which has provided administrative
and organisational support. At the present time, realisation of the project
is being supported by the Interros company.
On 12 March 1999 the Greater Hermitage Project was presented by the
City of St. Petersburg at the MIPIM investment conference in Cannes, where
it attracted great interest amongst leading foreign developers, contractors
and consultants. It has been widely reported in the international press,
with detailed articles in major European and North American publications,
including The Financial Times, The New York Times, The International Herald
Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Telegraph.