Garden in the city. Local historian – about life in Lesnoy

In summer, in the neighborhoods around Tharrou Square, a “newcomer” can easily get lost. And this is no exaggeration: the high-rise apartment buildings built here in the 1960s are almost completely hidden by greenery and the streets often look like park alleys. According to a local resident, local historian and guide Viktor VARGANOV, he is happy that in the evenings he can enjoy the song of a nightingale and as soon as he leaves the house, he is almost immediately in a garden.


There are few places in our city where there are such joys. Rather, we must thank the builders and designers who in the 1960s succeeded here without “bulldozer reconstruction” and introduced new homes in the natural environment …


– Of course, although everything was done not so much out of love for nature, but out of estimates of the state economy. Why spend extra money on landscaping and landscaping when it is already planted? As long as you keep what you have. In addition, note that many former roads still exist in the form of passages within the plot – lanes Zelenaya and Novospasskaya, Kosoy and Kozlovsky …

Almost every yard here is actually a park with this wonderful feature that I call “guerrilla landscaping”. The inhabitants themselves decorate their yards with all kinds of flowers and shrubs. In one of the courtyards near Silver Pond, they even built a multi-level “Cat House”.

But in general, the origin of the rare green of the area is in its long history. In the 1930s, the Forest Institute was subdivided into residential plots for long-term lease at a fixed rate, the so-called chins. The tenants undertook not to cut down trees on their land without the permission of the Forest Institute. Thus the beginning of the maximum preservation of green spaces was set almost two centuries ago. Since then, for almost a century, Lesnoy has been a suburban dacha. Fragments of those gardens that remained here in the 1960s, when the city came here and the area underwent a global reconstruction, have survived to this day.

It seems to be going through its second stage in the last three decades;

– Yes, since the 1990s the region has been suffering from stunted growth. The point is that the rather free building and the architectural and spatial requirements that apply here do not prohibit solid construction. And since the area has a developed infrastructure, next to the metro, it is very attractive to developers. The problem is that every year the developers try to build higher and higher, pushing every square meter of useful living space outside the territory and bypassing the height restrictions with the help of various tricks …

Locals managed to protect Lesnoy from two residential and three commercial projects. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the residents are against them not out of malice, but because the new development within the neighborhoods violates the established way of life, comfort and reduces the quality of life. In particular, it was possible to defend the land at the site of the former factory of the All-Russian Blind Company on Orbeli Street, which had existed here since the 1960s, from development. It is true that the fate of the site remains unclear, there is now a semi-cultivated fenced wilderness. Experts explained that the ground is not right for a 24-storey building with underground parking. Let’s hope that the evacuated land will be used for the benefit of the people.

The construction of an apartment hotel near Muzhestva Square in the Vyborgsky cinema could not be stopped, but they managed to shorten it and the result was not a skyscraper, but a cube, at least in height proportional to the area.

But in Silver Pond, it was not possible to fight the skyscraper.

– Alas! In my opinion, and I’m not the only one thinking about it, he ruined Serebka catastrophically. The house is set on the south side, it covers the sun, it is not disproportionate to either the person or the area … Yes, you can get used to everything. But I still naively hope that sooner or later it will not be fashionable to live on the “30th floor”.

But thanks to this house, the completely forgotten Likhachev alley was turned into a complete road, with asphalt and sidewalks …

– Likhachev alley became a swamp when the trucks started to drive to the construction site and before that it was just an official place for walking dogs. There was an ordinary unpaved road, which was broken by the car tires in spring and autumn. However, the improvement of Likhachev alley due to the damaged landscape near Serebka, in my opinion, is a very expensive and completely unjustified price …

Today we have the hottest spot – the building of the former Pan-European Research Institute of the Pulp and Paper Industry on 2nd Murinsky Avenue, near Muzhestva Square. The institute closed in the 1990s and the building was privatized and sold to a Moscow builder who is now seeking permission to demolish it. It has not yet been possible to give the building conservation status: the KGIOP has refused. Although, according to eminent historians of architecture, including Margarita Stieglitz, it is a very remarkable work of Stalinist classicism of the 1950s.

Well, let’s say they hold the VNIIB building. And how to use it?

“It could house an art school, which is very lacking in our area. Now the children of the area have to go to music school in the area of ​​в Les. В.. The metro station Lesnaya and to the art school – in Udelnaya. It is not so close …

The VNIIB is still standing alone because local activists have been fighting for its survival for several years, addressing all possible principles. Still, our inhabitants are active, not indifferent!

No wonder Lesnoy is called “Petersburg Cambridge”.

– I will clarify: it is not only St. Petersburg, but also Leningrad, because if before the revolution there were only two scientific institutes – the Forest and the Polytechnic Institute, then the Institute of Physics and Technology, the Institute of Boiler and Strovilia, the Logistics and Transport, all kinds of research institutes appeared. Television, forestry, cytology, robotics… The list goes on.

And the inhabitants here are suitable – representatives of the scientific and technical intellect. The population, of course, is changing, but in general, the area holds the high bar set more than a century ago.

The material was published in the newspaper “Saint Petersburg Vedomosti” No. 106 (7189) of 15/06/2022 with the title “In the Forest as in the Forest”.

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