The house of the company “Singer” or “House of Books” is the main attraction of Nevsky Prospekt. The unusual green roof, dark facades and decoration distinguish this building from the rest.
The house for the Singer company was founded only at the beginning of the 20th century, but this makes it no less interesting story. Read more in our article.
The history of the Singer company
The American Singer Corporation is a well–known manufacturer of sewing machines, furniture and other goods. The date of the company's foundation is considered to be 1851, when Isaac Singer and his partner received several patents for improving the sewing machine. In the new models, it was possible to adjust the thread and power.
In addition to sewing machines, the company produced personal computers, military products and was engaged in research in various fields of military affairs.
The corporation grew rapidly and opened branches all over the world. One of the Singer factories was located in Podolsk (Russian Empire). Therefore, at the beginning of the 20th century, the company needed an office, and the choice was made in favor of a building in the most prestigious area of the northern capital.
Plot of the future house
The first mention of the land where the Singer house will be built in a couple of centuries dates back to the 1730s. At first there was a Winter Palace arena, then a small opera house was built instead.
The wooden building suffered from a fire, and only by the end of the 18th century a three-storey stone mansion was rebuilt on the ashes. In the 19th century, the building was constantly leased to various merchants. In different years there were grocery stores and coffee shops, a bookstore and a photo studio.
Reconstruction of the building
In 1900, the land for the future office was bought by representatives of Singer. By this year, the company had already settled in Podolsk and was preparing to launch a mass assembly of cars not only for sale in Russia, but also to enter the entire eastern market. The author of the project was the Russian architect Pavel Suzor. He and his team developed three different construction plans, which he hardly coordinated with the customer.
Representatives of Singer wanted the Russian headquarters to look like an American office, but there were a number of restrictions on the construction of new buildings in St. Petersburg. Therefore, Suzor had to balance between the requirements of “Singer" and the local authorities.
In the end, the architect presented a project of two six-storey buildings with a domed glass roof with a globe, which acted as the main accent of the Singer house. The building had the latest communications at that time: elevators, a system for cleaning the roof from snow and ice, drainpipes built into the walls.
In 1904, when the construction was finally completed, the Singer headquarters occupied the entire top floor. A sewing machine shop opened in another part of the building, empty premises were rented out.
It's hard not to notice the Singer House if you walk along the main avenue of St. Petersburg. The building rises majestically among the other buildings and attracts tourists with its unusual roof. Now there is nothing left of the presence of the Singer company. Part of the premises is occupied by a bookstore, others are leased to commercial enterprises.
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