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2021 GASU me Blog Meet summer school teachers Urban Sketching

How to turn the sketch into a 3-D model: the results of the SPbGASU international online summer school on Urban Sketching

SPbGASU organized the International Summer School “Urban Planning: Architectural Design from Sketch to 3–D Model” on July 10-24, 2021.

Joint picture of the summer school participants

✔ The summer school participants enjoyed a very rich education program: they learnt about the unique architectural heritage of the Northern Capital of Russia of different periods and styles (from Classicism to Constructivism, Modern and Contemporary Architecture), listened to the lectures by Russian and foreign experts and developed their individual renovation design projects for St Peterbsurg public spaces.

Summer school manager Olga Pastukh

During the first week our students worked under guidance of Olga Pastukh, Associate Professor of Department of Architectural and Engineering Constructions and summer school manager, and Yury Oblasov, Senior Lecturer of Department of Restoration and Reconstruction of Architectural Heritage. Professor of Urban Planning Department Andrey Vaytens presented lectures on Urban Planning History of St Petersburg, specific features of the industrial heritage of the so-called city “grey belt” and shared the positive and negative experience of the implemented projects on the examples of the factory territories “Red Triangle” and “Obvodny Yard”.

Olga Pastukh introduced the participants to various stylistic trends in the Architecture of St Petersburg, and the basics of sketching (drawing in the form of a sketch), composition and coloristic in the series of her lectures. Students made several sketches of the iconic architectural city objects, using different graphic materials and sketching techniques. After the first week the participants made presentations on the creative workshop results. Having received professional comments from teachers and recommendations for further work, students chose the areas for design.

In the second week Olga Pastukh was joined by colleagues from the Department of Urban Planning: Associate Professor Pavel Skryabin and PhD student Vera Ignatenkova.

Andrey Surovenkov, Acting Head of Department of Architectural Environment and Landscape Design, delivered a lecture for summer school students on the phenomenon of “paper architecture”. Such architecture appears not in a practical, but in a visionary application, reflecting the public sentiments and philosophy of the era. «Paper» projects are characterized by several specific features: highly detailed, utopian, they are trying to fix some ideal. An example is the general plan of St Petersburg proposed by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Le Blond at the beginning of the 18th century. Closely related to “paper architecture” is the tradition of “architecture parlante”, where the external building form expresses the developer’s idea in the most straightforward way.


In the scope of the summer school Timothy Gray, Professor of Architecture at Ball State University (USA), architect and expert on sustainable urban design, presented a lecture on Sketching and Digital Notes and Creative Renovation.

During his presentation, Timothy Gray not only demonstrated sketches in different techniques made by his students, but also touched on the topic of drawing transformation in the digital age, when conventional approaches to its creation compete with new formats. The lecturer also spoke about the foreign experience of renovation using the examples of the works by Austrian architect Walter Pichler, who studied the relationship between the object and space, and David Ireland, the American sculptor, conceptual artist and Minimalist architect, who used the archaeological approach to create his projects.

At the end of T. Gray’s lecture, it was sweet to remember the visit of his students’ group to SPbGASU in summer 2018 where Russian and American students had a joint creative workshop and made their sketches of St Petersburg architectural objects under guidance of SPbGASU professors. We are looking forward to continuing this tradition and welcoming Prof. Gray and his group next year offline during the next edition of our Urban Planning summer school 2022.

On the final day of the school, not only the students presented the results of their work, but also the teachers (Andrey Vaytens and Olga Pastukh) shared their practical experience of sketching. Guilia Gamba, the summer school student from University of Bergamo (Italy), has created a project for the renovation of the former “Nevskaya Melnitsa” plant located in the “grey belt” of St Petersburg. The territory is bounded by the Obvodny Canal Embankment, Melnichnaya Street and Glukhoozerskoye Highway. The author proposed to locate here a hotel, commercial and residential buildings with apartments of different price ranges, outdoor recreation areas, green zones, as well as the «Museum of Bread» (this decision is due to the historical identity of the place). The student also predicted traffic and pedestrian flow scenarios in accordance with the proposed territory functional zoning.

3-D Model of the historical building “Nevskaya Melnitsa” created by Antonina Imyaminova for Guilia Gamba’s design project

Tatiana Grishina and Ksenia Telenkova developed a concept for the Gutuevsky Island. They made a SWOT-analysis, identified the territory development potential and came to the conclusion about the need to design public and residential buildings: a school, residential buildings, coworking spaces, a media library, cafes, administrative buildings, a cultural center, a swimming pool, a sports complex and a research institute. At the same time, the students tried to preserve the location authenticity as much as possible: historical buildings, including the building of the Admiral Makarov State University of the Maritime and Inland Shipping, the natural landscape of the area and the port lighthouse.

The SPbGASU professor Andrey Vaytens coordinating the project part of the summer school highly evaluated the created design projects. ‘Ksenia and Tatiana are one of the best students of our Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban Planning, and I am glad that participating in our summer school was beneficial for them. Giulia Gamba worked at the unfamiliar territory of St Petersburg, but during a very short period of time she managed to learn the location landscape and architectural features and suggest fresh creative ideas’, he said.

After the final project presentation several objects were selected for the further development of three-dimensional models that will be printed on 3D printers at the Center for Mechanical Testing of Building Structures (one of the divisions of SPbGASU Test Center under the leadership of Sergey Bezpalchuk). The 3-D models will be realized using the whole specter of the modern equipment including laser cutting and 3-D printing.

At the official closing of the international summer school, the participants were awarded university certificates. In addition, students and teachers shared their impressions of the design and sketching experience gained.

 “I would like to thank the organizers and curators of the program for the past two weeks,” said Guilia Gamba. — I enriched my cultural baggage and was able to get acquainted with a new approach to work on a project, different from the one adopted in Italy. And, of course, I was fascinated by St Petersburg and dream of seeing it with my own eyes one day “.

The summer school certificates

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