the historic and cultural complex
in kaliningrad (post-castle)

Kaliningrad, Russiainternational competitioncompetition finale

People on project:
  • NIKOLAI LIM
  • ELENA SHAROVA
  • DMITRI VODOVATOV
  • NATALIA RED'KINA
  • EVGENIY SHULYATE'EV

Concept note

Königsberg’s central area site development history

Königsberg was founded in January 1255in the lower course of the river Pregelon the site of the Prussian settlement as acastle by the knights of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and the king PremyslOttokarII of Bohemia. The core, around which the formation of the city began, was the Castle of the Order, which in 1255 was named “the Royal Mountain”.

Construction of the fortress’ walls defined and secured for a long period of time the constant territorial formations of the three medieval towns that have existed in this form before their merger in 1724, when numerous villages and suburbs, as well as the Castle itself, which previously hadn’t been a part of any of the aforementioned towns,but had a special status ofthe government residence, were merged into a single town of Königsberg.

In the XX century the city has developed beyond the territory confined by the defensering. During World War II, in August 1944, Königsberg, especially its center, hadsufferedheavy damage from British bombing attacks. The Castle was largely destroyedduring the military assault on the city in 1945, however the main towers and wallsremained intact until 1956. During the period from 1959till 1976 the remains of the KönigsbergCastle were dismantled and on their site the central square was located. Today,the historic site has lost its significance, and the city has lost its symbol.

The concept of an archaeological exhibition

The project envisages the opening of cellars around the perimeter of the Castle, followed by its preservation and strengthening. In addition, it is proposed to reconstruct the two key pieces of earlier existing structures: the western wing of the main tower and a part of the north-easterncarcase together with the Habertum tower.

The main composite core of the project is a reconstruction of the Castle as a symbol of the historical and archaeological museum. Cultural facilities, especiallymuseum constructions, often express the character of the place where they are situated.Museumsa priori can serve as the territory of such expression: history, captured and preserved in their collections, enters into a dialogue with the present - with the audience. Particularly intense this dialogue becomes in museums located in the immediate vicinity of the historic sites or directly on thehistorical territories.

It is suggested the Museum of Archaeologybe located directly in the area of the existing archaeological excavations: it is planned for the wine cellar to be located in the basement of the west wing, and exhibition spaces be arrangedin the Convent House. A net of new columns and frames will be placed on the reinforced basement constructions to create a "shell" –a translucent structurethat protects both reconstructed and historical sites from moisture and external influences. It is suggested that examinedand analysed fragments, as well as preserved and awaiting its turn in further scientific examination parts will be placed under this "shell".

Also, directly on the historical structures a gallery with light holes will be arranged for the better view of the archaeological exhibition. Interactive zones can also be created - everyone can participate in the study of the historical process and take part in archaeological excavations.

Within the basement walls of the southern and eastern bulks the Historical Museum of the Royal Castle will be located, providedthat the historical structures themselves will become apart of the future exhibition - connecting the historical construction techniques on site with new methods and approaches, and thus restoring the lost connection between the epochs. This approach can be used to connect new constructionswith the rest of the Castle complex.

The Museum of curiosities (reliquary, or "Chamber of curiosities") is proposed to locateabove the ground level, in the southern part of the Castle as a system of ramps and spaces for specific exhibits. Collection of objects found during archaeological excavations, works of Königsberg artisans, as well as religious art, will become the core of the exhibition.

Interactive area

Trying to preserve the historical, cultural, architectural and ethnographic environment, theproject proposes to maintain the volume of existing buildings and the courtyard formed by them, which will be usedto hold temporary exhibitions. The rest of the time historic building machinery will be on display in the courtyard. Particular attention will be paid to the Baltic region building materials: bricks and tiles. It is expected that part of the museum will serveas an interactive area where everyone can learn about the history and archaeology of the Kaliningrad region, try handin pottery - visitors will be able to knead the clay and moldan article. Also, interactive area will include workshops for the production of ceramicand hand-molded bricks, as well as tiles, a traditional material, which, for example, was used to cover the western wing of the Royal Castle, destroyed during the bombing of the British aviation in August 1944. In addition, museum visitors will be able to observe in real time the creation of architectural elements in stone. The concept also provides that part of the museum exhibition will focusonhistorical brands.

In the northern part, at its historic location, we offer to recreate the iconic restaurantof Blutgericht.