History of the building
According to Alexander the 1st’s conviction, Saint Petersburg was to stand in line with the leading European capitals in the way of its buildings’ and architectural ensembles’ beauty and grandeur. For the realization of this intention, on May 3rd, 1816, “the Committee for constructions and hydraulic works" was launched. The leading architects and engineers (P.-D. Bazaine, V. P. Stasov, A. A. Mikhailov, K. I. Rossi et al.) joined the committee. The list of its projects included, inter alia, the planning of the territory enclosed by the Fontanka River, Sadovaya Street, Tchernyshov Lane, and Nevsky Prospekt.
In the 18th century, this land parcel belonged to Count P. G. Tchernyshov as his country estate. Hence the historical name of Lomonosov Street (“Tchernyshov Lane”), as well as that of Lomonosov Square (“Tchernyshov Square”), and Lomonosov Bridge (“Tchernyshov Bridge”). The development of the design project for the territory, which also housed the former Maly Theatre, was assigned to Karl Ivanovich Rossi (1775-1849). In the last years of the reign of Alexander the 1st, his accomplished designs had not come to realisation. It was not until Nicholas the 1st came to power that they gained attention of the authorities; on April 5th, 1828, a decree on the commencement of the construction received imperial approval.
Rossi prepared a design of a monumental erection, with its façade overlooking Nevsky Prospekt, the principal thoroughfare of the capital. Gradually, in his mind’s eye the contours of a most impressive of the city’s architectural ensembles had been formed. The theatre would serve as the centre of the ensemble including two built-up squares linked by a one of a kind street, which nowadays bears the name of its maker – K.I Rossi. The street is unique in that its length totals 220 meters, while both its width and the height of the houses equal 22 meters. If you draw a mental line between the roofs of the houses, it makes for an ideal square.
House 4, with its façade overlooking Lomonosov Square, is an acme example of Russian classicism. However, its significance is not limited to architectural merits. The fate of several generations of theatrical artists was connected with this house; it was central in shaping the future of the Russian theatre, in fostering the artists, and served as the cornerstone of the theatrical Saint Petersburg. The walls of the house preserve the memories of a stellar representative of Russian theatrics Agrippina Yakovlevna Vaganova, whose name the Academy bears.
Apart from the Vaganova Academy building, the spacious semicircle of Lomonosov Square is overlooked by the facades of three other buildings, two of which are protected by the State as national and international architectural monuments. These are the buildings of the former Ministry of Education, and the building of the former Ministry of Internal Affairs, also designed by Rossi.
The tenement building, where the Rossi Boutique hotel is now situated, was constructed in 1870s. Its apartments saw many celebrated and prominent artistic persons; historically important meetings took place here. Following a major overhaul and substantial renovation, in June 2007, the Rossi Boutique hotel opened the doors of this building to guests of the city.