© Wikimedia/Nataliya-sobaka
© Wikimedia/Nataliya-sobaka

Singer House: the iconic cupola of St. Petersburg

2 minutes to read

Going down the Nevsky Avenue in Saint Petersburg, one can encounter a lot of interesting things on the way. This is the main artery of the city which never sleeps, comparing to other neighbourhoods of Saint Petersburg. One of everybody’s favorites is the Singer House and its iconic cupola on Nevsky Avenue. Its modern look and charm captivate you, once moving towards the building that you can see from afar.

How it all began

© istock/Fedorovekb
© istock/Fedorovekb

First of all, it should be said that this house has nothing to do with the singers. Actually, the construction of the house was commissioned by the Singer Manufacturing Company, famous for their sewing machines, popular worldwide, including Russia. So, the family name Singer is being pronounced as ‘zee-nger’, thus, in Russian, it sounds like ‘Dom Zingera’.

So, it was decided to build this house where Nevsky Avenue meets Griboedov Canal, and in front of the famous Kazan Cathedral. Strategically, it was very convenient, as a lot of people pass by and see it. Initially, it was meant to be a New York-style skyscraper. But Saint Petersburg's building code didn’t allow to build any constructions taller than the Winter Palace (now Hermitage). The alternative option was suggested, and the Singer House was built as a six-story building with a cupola which actually exceeds allowed standards.

The appearance of Singer House

© istock/blinow61
© istock/blinow61

Russian architect Pavel Suzor made the Singer headquarters building in Art Nouveau style, although some elements remind of Neo-Baroque. The overall appearance of the Singer House resembles modernism: the walls of pastel colors, plain lines, small decorations. The main attraction of the building is a glass cupola with a globe on it, illustrating the Singer Corporation's plans to conquer the world. When it gets dark, it’s being lit from the inside with different colors, making the Singer House an unforgettable object to take a photo of. Apart from it, Singer House is famous for its sculptures of valkyries, considered to be Neo-Baroque. One of them has a sewing machine under her arm, which is the main product of the Singer Corporation.

Evergreen symbol of Nevsky Avenue

Nowadays, Singer House is widely known as the headquarters of VK (former VKontakte), the largest Russian Social Media Service and the owner of the most popular website in the whole country. In the building, there’s also a bookshop called ‘The Book House’ ('Dom knigi'), which is usually visited by people who want to buy some souvenirs from Saint Petersburg, but also by avid readers. Singer House serves as a great encounter place if you're going to meet someone and look for a visible landmark. 

© istock/Alena Shapran
© istock/Alena Shapran

Singer House and its iconic cupola, with a light inside, is an indisputable symbol of not only Nevsky Avenue but also the whole Saint Petersburg. You can not only admire its beauty strolling around, but also enjoy visiting its roof as a part of the tour. This way, you’ll take a look at the city from a totally different angle, and I would strongly recommend doing it.

Singer House, Saint Petersburg
Singer House, Saint Petersburg
Nevsky Ave, 28, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186

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The author

Maria Selezneva

Maria Selezneva

Hi, I am Maria, or Masha, as Russian speaking people call me. I’m your local guide for must-sees as well as off-the-beaten-track places in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’ll show you my favourite destinations in both cities, where you can feel the true spirit of local traditions.

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