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Source: Saint Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering – Saint Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering – Student viewers of the film

Film coordinator Anna Asmolova and producer Viktor Naumov

A film screening of the documentary film “Architecture of the Siege” took place at St. Petersburg State University of Civil Engineering. The event became significant both on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Leningrad, and thanks to the opportunity to communicate with the authors and characters of the film, among whom is a graduate and teacher of our university. The author of the idea and producer of the film is Viktor Naumov, the grandson of a famous urban planner of the 1930s – 1980s, teacher, head of the urban planning department of the Leningrad Civil Engineering Institute (LISI, now SPbGASU) in the 1960s – 1980s. Alexandra Naumova.

The investigative film tells about the architects, engineers, artists and even climbers of the besieged city, who did what seemed impossible to save the city’s monuments from enemy bombing. The film includes a unique chronicle, previously unknown to a wide range of archival information, and memories of eyewitnesses.

– The film was created as part of the “Preserved Culture” project. The 80-minute film format is not entirely typical for documentary films: on the one hand, there are many personal stories, on the other, these stories are not typical for the ordinary life of citizens. In the film, we told why the work of architects and engineers was so important in the besieged city, identifying the key points, the logical sequence of efforts of specialists to preserve Leningrad,” Viktor Naumov clarified.

Alexander Leontyev

First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments (KGIOP) of the Government of St. Petersburg, chief architect of the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve, professor, honorary restorer of St. Petersburg of the first degree, graduate of LISI 1986 Alexander Leontyev believes that the work of specialists in the besieged city often included incredible stories, for example, camouflage of ships due to the visual transformation of their volume. Thus, the cruiser “Aurora” was “made up” to look like a city block.

– Gilded spiers on buildings and historical sites served as landmarks for fascist pilots: corresponding plans tied to these landmarks were found among prisoners. Therefore, at first the city decided to demolish these objects. In such time pressure for decision-making, climbers offered their help in saving historical objects. It was they who covered and painted over the high-rise dominants of Leningrad. Our task is to remember all the defenders of Leningrad and pass this memory on from generation to generation,” emphasized Alexander Leontyev.

The authors of the film managed to record the memories of one of those legendary climbers – Mikhail Bobrov. Today he is no longer alive, and viewers hear first-hand how and with what efforts the historical objects that they see today were preserved. Andrey Vaytens

– All the work done on the film once again confirms: no one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten. It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of the architects who remained in besieged Leningrad. Then it was believed that such specialists needed to be preserved by any means, and the Union of Architects took an active part in this. The chief architect Nikolai Varfolomeevich Baranov, Alexander Ivanovich Naumov, who took part in the design and implementation of the Smolny camouflage, and my teacher Igor Ivanovich Fomin sought from the management the issuance of food cards and the opening of the Astoria hospital for sick architects. At the beginning of 1942, Nikolai Varfolomeevich took the initiative to consolidate the forces of architects to solve future problems. He convinced the city leadership that Leningrad needed to be developed in a completely different paradigm. During the siege, he was already thinking about the peaceful future of the city: he gathered a group of architects to develop a general plan for the post-war city,” said Andrey Vaytens, professor of the department of urban planning at St. Petersburg State University of Civil Engineering, Doctor of Architecture.

Among the many spectators of the “Architecture of the Siege” were second-year students of the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Urban Economy of St. Petersburg State University of Civil Engineering, Polina Golenkova and Polina Chiryaeva.

– Having read the announcement of the film screening, I was at first surprised that the theme of the blockade would be related to architecture, because when talking about this tragic period, they usually talk in general about the exploits of heroic defenders, about how Leningraders worked and survived. After watching the film, I learned about the significant contribution of architects to the preservation of the city and was shocked by the newsreel. The tape touches the soul. I am proud that I study at a historical university, where such people once graduated and taught here. It’s great that the filmmakers collected such informative material,” Polina Chiryaeva shared her impressions.

Polina Golenkova agrees with her classmate:

– This is the first time I have heard about such a significant contribution of architects to the defense of the city. St. Petersburg has always been famous for its architecture; during the blockade we could have lost all of this. And thanks, among other things, to architects and climbers who, in fact, performed feats in their professional activities, the appearance of the city that we see today has been preserved. Their names must not be forgotten, just like the exploits of our soldiers. The film opened up new names in architecture for me. I am surprised that people in such conditions created projects that today are called creative, for example, camouflage methods.

Irina Lugovskaya, Vice-Rector for Youth Policy of St. Petersburg State University of Civil Engineering, expressed gratitude to the creators of the film, noting that this format of communication and presentation of historical knowledge is one of the most effective methods of patriotic education.

Note; This information is raw content directly from the source of the information. This is exactly what the source states and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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