THE CULTURAL AND TOURIST CENTRE OF VYBORG IN SETH SOHLBERG'S QUARTER Restoration and adaptation to the modern purpose of a Regionally listed cultural heritage landmark

THE CULTURAL AND TOURIST CENTRE OF VYBORG IN SETH SOHLBERG'S QUARTER Restoration and adaptation to the modern purpose of a Regionally listed cultural heritage landmark

Address: Leningrad Oblast, Vyborg, the block bounded by Krasina, Krepostnaya, Krasnoarmeiskaya and Storozhevoy bashni streets

Client: St.Petersburg Investment Construction Projects Fund

Start of design: 2021

Project team:

Architects: Nikita Yaveyn, Grigory Ivanov, Vladimir Parfyonov, Elena Zenina, Evgeny Novosadyuk, Anna Rudenko, Ruslan Babaev, Marina Kravchenko, Pheodocia Zlobina, 

Restorers: Ilya Sabantsev, Maria Golubinova, Marina Zhukova, Alyona Karmanova, Dmitriy Ignatiev

Structural engineers: Mikhail Weber, Dmitry Kholmov, Nikolai Protsenko, Andrey Korovayev, Sergey Bogdanov, Natalia Prosvetova, Irina Berina

Chief Engineer of the project: Kira Balkanova with the participation of Olga Kobzeva


"Seth Sohlberg's Quarter" is located in the medieval core of Vyborg, within the boundaries of the 15th century city wall. Industrialist and philanthropist Seth Sohlberg originally built the quarter in the late 19th century to the design by his brother Bruno Gerhard Sohlberg. In 1935, the quarter was partly rebuilt in functionalist style (arch. Tuulike Suonivaara-Loiska) and was seriously damaged after wards during the war in 1939-1945. In 1947, the quarter was adapted to the needs of the "Electroinstrument" factory. After the relocation of the factory in the early 1990s, the derelict buildings were gradually collapsed. In 2017, the ruins were preserved and the area was landscaped. At the same time, Seth Solhberg's Quarter was included in the register of Regionally listed cultural heritage landmarks. In 2020, it was decided to set up the Vyborg Cultural and Tourism Development Centre in the quarter.

The future cultural centre includes a music and drama theatre with a 500-seat auditorium, art galleries and a café. The project aims to restore the historical layout of the quarter with its closed perimeter and two courtyards. One of the courtyards integrates a stage box, the other ̶ a theatre foyer with the main entrance from Krepostnaya Street. The foyer is a three-dimensional module with a system of stairs, platforms and passageways. They link the levels of the theatre foyer, the museum exhibition of the theatre and the café halls both horizontally and vertically. Between the foyer and the stage box, in the area of the greatest loss of historical buildings, three tiers of a multi-purpose auditorium are placed. A shell with a complex streamlined shape covers all three elements of the complex ̶ the foyer, auditorium and stage box.

The outline of the shell is carefully designed so that the dome of the building is not visible to pedestrians from the streets, bordering the block. An analysis of the visibility of the structure from ten key points in Vyborg shows that the dome is not visible in four of the panoramas. The perception of the rest is not significantly affected due to the topography and the great distance from the vantage point.

After the restoration  work, the façades of the buildings around the perimeter of the quarter appear as 80 years ago. In the interiors of the complex, modern aesthetics are harmoniously combined with authentic historical details. Preserved brick vaults, staircases, and structural  elements (columns, transoms, and beams) play an accent role, enriching the semantics of the Centre and facilitating a dialogue between the architecture of different times.