Burcu Başar

St. Petersburg – Singer Building and Kazan Cathedral

I get confused at first and think that the famous Singer may have actually been a Russian brand after all. I then find out that the famous sewing brand Singer is as German as it gets but also had a landmark office space in St. Petersburg, Russia. The building located right on the fanciest and most popular street of St. Petersburg - Nevsky Street - is also right across one of the most impressing architectural structures in the city – Kazan Cathedral. Even though the management of Singer had originally intended to build a skyscraper-like building in St. Petersburg – like their headquarters in New York City, United States, the building codes of the time luckily change the whole plan as they do not allow any structure higher than the Winter Palace (now serving as Hermitage Museum). 

It is very difficult to imagine St. Petersburg skyline with a skyscraper – it is just not a good match. The building served as the headquarters of Singer for long time and is today also referred to as “the house of books”. The building that was allocated to a print house following the Russian Revolution now serve as a bookstore and a café – the Singer Café as you may have already guessed. It is reported that during the construction, the designers had to make sure that the bulding would not over shadow the dominating looks of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and Kazan Cathedral. One of my favorite activities in St. Petersburg turned out to be watching the Kazan Cathedral sitting inside Singer Café. St. Petersburg is very successful in making you feel like you are in the old Russia both with its interior decorations and the overall feeling of the city. There are no buildings or structures to take you away from your game if you want to pretend like you are visiting Russia in the old times. 

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