Renovation of the Spassky bastion and church public square

AER: Our task was to design a new landscape for the area around the Church of the Savior on Berestove that dates back to the XII century. It is separated from the neighbouring park by the earthen bastion of the Pechersk fortress (XVIII century) and stands in the back of the alley. That is, it is located in such a way that only someone who already knows about it could find it. The vicinity of two architectural monuments – the church and the bastion – was quite controversial. Rainwater from the bastion regularly flooded the church. In return, the archaeological research of the church has dug up a considerable section of the earthen rampart. The new landscape was supposed to resolve this three-hundred-year confrontation.

The square around the church had no visitors except a few pilgrims. Bastion, on the other hand, was a quite popular sightseeing platform visited mostly by car. Being completely unsuitable for driving cars on it, the earthen rampart suffered very much from this. Many people climbed up the steep slopes of the bastion, as evidenced by trodden paths.

In the absence of proper care, the earthen rampart of the fortress lost the outline of the anthropomorphic structure and became almost indistinguishable from the natural landscape of the Kyiv hills. The church, which was closed due to the emergency condition, was already being reconstructed when we just started designing.

An architect working on the reconstruction of earthen fortifications is faced with the fact that the object of his work will never be used for its original purpose. In Kyiv, and around the world, earthen ramparts are very large-scale structures that cannot be turned into a museum as a whole. What reconstruction of the fortress can do is give the structure a new function, while preserving the memory of the place.

For the site at the top of the bastion, it was necessary to provide access from all sides from which visitors could come. It was necessary to arrange vertical connections so that they did not spoil the appearance of the rampant. We designed three stairs carved into the slope. They are located in such a way that all parts of the new landscape are in transit with no dead ends.

For all the new elements we used materials of neutral colours. The planes “cut” from the body of the bastion were an exception. For them, alloy steel, contrasting due to iron oxide, was used. The silhouette of the earthen rampart differs from just a hill by the presence on it of a wall on which the cannonry was placed – a breastwork. We have built a parapet on the edge of the bastion, but guns will never be put on it.

Short office name:  AER

Role of your office in the project: Authors, Construction design supervision

Website: www.aer.ua/en/

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Artem Dodonov, Anastasiia Stryzhevska, Oleksandra Urtiukova

Project location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Design year: 2017

Year Built: 2019

Photography: Ivan Avdeenko


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