Foster and Partners this week won a competition to design the redevelopment of a 7.6 ha island bounded by canals in the centre of St Petersburg.
New Holland Island, which is situated between the Moika river and Kryukov and Admiralteisky canals, will become a major cultural centre for the city. It will include an outdoor arena surrounded by a theatre, conference facilities, galleries, apartments and restaurants.
A number of protected 18th-century structures on the triangular island, including a jail tower and timber storage buildings, will be restored and turned into a hotel and retail accommodation.
A new continuous block around the edge of the site will house office space. The scheme will use natural ventilation and an energy system that the architect says maximises the insulating properties of snow.
We aim to help St Petersburg exploit its extraordinary legacyLord Norman Foster
The outdoor arena will be used for performances but can be flooded for regattas or frozen to become an ice rink.
Foster said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to make a dramatic intervention in the cultural life of the city. We aim to help to city to exploit the extraordinary legacy of its urban structure and historic buildings and to establish an arts quarter that will reinvigorate the city and consolidate St Petersburg's position as an international tourist destination."