focusing on the richness of russian architecture, italian photographer roberto conte’s recent visit to nizhny novgorod captures monuments of engineering and architecture threatened by the impending FIFA world cup. located at the point where russia’s greatest rivers volga and oka meet, the two original iron constructions occupy a site currently being renovated ahead of the major event which is going to take place this year.

december 2017
all images © roberto conte unless stated otherwise



initially, the buildings were designed by engineers hermann von pauker and ivan vyshnegradsky for two landmark events in the national history — the 15th all-russian industrial and art exhibition 1882 in moscow and the 16th all-russian industrial and art exhibition 1896 in nizhny novgorod. the structures formed part of the central pavilion which was sold for fragments once no longer in use.



for more than a hundred years these two fragments served as packhouses and only in 2015 the architectural community discovered the origins and the significance of the structures. architects managed to secure the pavilions’ preservation and obtain a state protection for them. however, as part of the site’s renovation, the authorities decided to leave the historical framework without any conservation, in spite of multiple tries of the field’s specialists to save the 19th-century architectural monuments, and now their fate is very uncertain. roberto conte has had a chance to capture the structures before they were dismounted. 

the exterior of the conserved structure 

january 2018
image © zoya ryurikova

main entrance of the manufactory department at the 1896 exhibition
page from the book ‘all-russian art and industrial exhibition 1896 in nizhny novgorod’
published by hermann hoppe

interior of a pavilion of the main building at the exhibition in 1896
page from the book ‘all-russian art and industrial exhibition 1896 in nizhny novgorod’
published by photographers’ firm ‘scherer nabholz & co’

the main building at the exhibition of 1896
page from the book ‘all-russian art and industrial exhibition 1896 in nizhny novgorod’
published by photographers’ firm ‘scherer nabholz & co’




photography: roberto conte

original russian text: maria ignatushko

original translation: nina frolova


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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