Preobrazhenskoe Jewish Cemetery
ST PETERSBURG 2008
As part of an invited competition led by the Grand Synagogue in St Petersburg, BBUK were invited to submit proposals for the restoration of the landscape of Preobrazhenskoe Cemetery following decades of neglect of this vast site.
In particular, BBUK were asked to submit ideas for the restoration of the entrance space around the Lavabo House and the mass grave of around 30,000 Jewish victims of the siege of St Petersburg.
The Lavabo House was built at the entrance to the cemetery in 1902. This building was where the dead were washed, relatives and friends could gather, and prayers were said. BBUK looked at the space to the front, where a granite block water feature is proposed, this will reflect the building and existing tall trees surrounding it and provide a tranquil centre piece for the space; the form is influenced by the rectilinear shape of the traditional Jewish graves.
The mass grave is currently a mound of earth with an asphalt path surrounding it. The proposal is to place thousands of stone blocks over the grave (following the Jewish tradition of relatives leaving a stone on a grave when visiting) with the stones forming a sculptural mound. A path passes through the centre of the stones and here the names of victims are engraved into the blocks on either side of the path.