The Palace of Peter III is a two-storey house situated in the park of the imperial estate of Oranienbaum. Originally a gift by empress Elisabeth to her son, it was made in order to provide a down-scaled private environment to the Grand Duke and his closest friends. After a long walk through the park and with the imperial residence far out of sight, the small palace suddenly appears among the trees, with a broad facade that doesn't allow a reading of the true shape of the building. The entrance leads directly to a spiral staircase which, by skipping all the rooms restricted to servants on the ground floor, begins an unsizable path through the whole building. A sequence of spaces on the first floor - all unrelated to the facades and different in size, shape and decorations - ends up in the bedroom of the emperor, where a second small spiral staircase travels downstairs again, to an anonymous door at the back, opening into a little private garden. The way one moves inside the house provokes a loss of orientation and a strong feeling of detachment from the outside world: the path is somehow carved out of a volume one is never really able to read from inside, yet once outside, the volume one faces is never really understandable together with the memory of the path.
Location: Oranienbaum, RU
My Role: Researcher
Additional Credits: Atelier Raphael Zuber