Created in 1719, New Holland Island, a 5.4 acre parcel of land formed just after the Kryukov and Admiralty Canals were connected to the Neva and Moika Rivers, in the middle of St Petersburg.
The name came from its triangular shape, looking like Amsterdam. It was used as a navy port and testing ground. Most of the buildings were left desolate after the Russian Revolution of 1915. In 2000, the city took over control of the whole island and used it for art shows.
Three of the historic buildings on the island have been undergoing a renovation for by West 8, a global company that will be doing landscape and urban development.
For the delight of tours and visitors, a forge, which was commissioned by Peter I, is being transformed into the Forge Club House. The interior will be in the style of St Petersburg apartments before the revolution. In the Club House there will be meeting rooms and work spaces.
The information center, art gallery and concert stage, will be designed by the architects of Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva. Buildings will be temporary and made of glass, metal and wood. Small booths will be available for chefs and artisans to offer their goods.
Late in 2017, the old navy prison will be re-opening. The 1st floor will have little café’s and shops. The 2nd floor will be dedicated to fashion design. 3rd and 4th floors are planned to be a health club, activities and lounge space. The Garage will be a big book store and museum.
The island will be adorned with over 200 trees, mature pines, oaks, firs and willows. The outside courtyard will be styled after the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris with an herb garden. In winter there will be ice skating and other outdoor activities.
Future plans include, an exhibition area with art and sculpture from artists worldwide. A playground for children will be designed like the Peter and Paul ship. This part of the new complex is to be completed in 2019.