Visitors during a walk through the Summer Garden may have noticed that the northern and southern facades of the Summer Palace of Peter I are different. So on the south facade there are eight windows, and on the north – nine. How could this happen in an era when symmetry prevailed in architecture and gardening? Let’s try to explain.

If you compare the design of the palace of Domenico Trezzini with the measured plan of the palace of Mikhail Zemtsov, it seems that they are different buildings. The thing is that the crowned customer constantly intervened in the construction of his Summer Palace. Peter I first wanted to have a cranked corridor that allowed him to move around the palace without going into the private rooms of the king and tsarina. For daylighting of this corridor, a window opening was made on the northern facade, this window is already present on the Trezzini project. Some scholars believe that Peter himself drew the initial design of the palace, and Trezzini corrected the tsar’s mistakes as best he could. In the process of further work on the project, Peter had a desire in two rooms following the corridor to have two windows. Before that, the first room had only one window. So on the northern facade appears an additional ninth window. It was added to the room, which is now called the cabinet or the secretary, although this may be a pre-bedroom. Because the next room with two windows is Peter’s bedroom.

Whatever it was, but the piers between the windows decreased, and it was no longer possible to decorate the northern facade with pilasters. Since the pilasters disappear, it was necessary to remove the front with the sculpture. As a result of all these alterations, the northern facade lost all architectural decorations. And this problem was solved in 1714 by the German architect Andreas Schlüter, who proposed to decorate the Summer Palace with bas-reliefs. This is what happens when the customer actively intervenes in the process.

Correctly answered the question: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Lyudmila Mukhina. And the most extended answer was provided by Irina Shubina-Druzina. Thank you for the answers.

To new puzzles from the gardens of the Russian Museum.

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