ROSSI, Karl Ivanovich
(b. 1775, Napoli, d. 1849, St. Petersburg)

Biography

Russian architect, born in Italy as Carlo di Giovanni Rossi. He was the author of many classical buildings and architectural ensembles in St. Petersburg and its environments.

He was brought to Russia in his childhood. He trained in the studio of architect Vincenzo Brenna. In 1795 he entered the service of the admiralty board of architecture. In 1802-03 he traveled in Italy to further his education. He was appointed court architect in 1806.

In 1808 he was dispatched to the Kremlin archaeological expedition in Moscow, where he played a crucial role in reconstructing the old metropolis after the fire of 1812.

In 1815, he returned to St. Petersburg, and in 1816, he was appointed to a position on the committee of structures and hydraulic works. Rossi designed vast urban architectural ensembles in the manner of Voronikhin and Zakharov, and his work is still a decisive factor in shaping St. Petersburg today.

The buildings of Rossi are characteristic of the Empire style, which combines grandeur with noble simplicity. These include: the Yelagin Palace with the hothouse and the pavilions (1816-1818), St. Michael's Palace, General Staff Building, the buildings of the Senate and Synod (1829-1833), the façade of the Russian National Library that faces Alexandrinskaya Square, the pavilions of Anichkov Palace, the arch of the General Staff Building, the Alexandrinsky Theatre and the buildings of the Board of Theatres and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In Pavlovsk, Rossi built the palace library. One of the last buildings of Rossi was the belfry of the Yurevskogo monastery near Velikiy Novgorod.

Karl Rossi's oeuvre represents the pinnacle of St. Petersburg's achievements in the realm of urban planning. Like no other architect, Rossi knew how to integrate a building's design with its urban environment. He even incorporated elements that would act as contact points for buildings in future plans. Rossi's achievements, based on a comprehensive planning concept, signaled the perfection of Russian Neoclassicism.

He died of cholera in St. Petersburg in complete oblivion and in poverty.