The House of Books (The Singer House)


The famous bookstore, one of the centers of cultural and intellectual life of the city

The six-storey Art Nouveau building with a mansard, with an area of about 7,000 m², was built in 1902-1904 by architect Pavel Syuzor for the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Russia. The project was innovative both in terms of technical performance, style and purpose. Initially, the management of the Singer company, manufacturing sewing machines, wanted to build a skyscraper, similar to the one that was being built in New York at that time: a multistory building with many offices. However, buildings in the center of Saint Petersburg could not exceed 23.5 meters up to the cornice. The architect brilliantly resolved this contradiction: he erected a dainty tower crowned with a glass globe with a diameter of 2.8 m over six floors with a mansard. It is this upwardly directed tower that creates an impression of high altitude, but at the same time, due to its light weight, it does not outshine the domes of Kazan Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, towering over Nevsky Prospekt.

During construction of the building, many technical innovations were introduced: for the first time in Russia a metal frame was used and a drainpipe system was woven into elements of the facade decoration. Atriums, courtyards with glass roofs, were also new to the architecture of Saint Petersburg. The building was equipped with the most advanced technologies of the time, ranging from elevators to automatic cleaning of roofs from snow. The decoration of the building features flowing organic lines and the interior is decorated with floral ornament made of hammered bronze. The facade is adorned with sculptures by Amandus Adamson, symbolizing progress and the sewing industry - the main business dimension of the Singer company.

Until 1917 the building belonged to the Singer company. During the First World War the first floor of the building housed the US Embassy. Since December 1919, there was a Petrograd publishing house (Leningrad publishing house since 1938), and in the 1920s and 30s – other publishing houses were located here. Book trade was also conducted, and since 1938 to the present time it houses the most famous Saint Petersburg bookstore – the House of Books.

The peculiarity of the building constantly attracts admiring views of tourists and city residents, and the evening illumination of the glass dome on the roof leaves no one indifferent, giving it a special charm.

An important highlight of the building is a roof with a well equipped viewing point facing the breathtaking Nevsky Prospect, the Kazan Cathedral, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and the Griboedov Canal.

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  • Address: Saint Petersburg, Nevsky pr., 28
  • Phone Number: +7 (812) 448-23-55
  • Site:
  • Working time:
    Monday - Sunday: 09:00 - 00:00
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