Updated: Jul 15, 2022
There is so much to detest about modern day architecture. Private "McMansions", public glass/concrete boxes and the death of craftsmanship. Sometimes we forget what is possible. Garibaldi Castle stands in contrast, an uplifting example of a newly built Gothic Revival.
Commencing construction in 2007, the idea for the castle was that of Oleg Kuzichkin, an entrepreneur from Russia's Samara region.
Oleg says 'there's only one reason to embark on a construction project – it should be something unbelievable and extraordinary'.
This sentiment echoes the great Daniel Burnham who designed the world's first skyscrapers including the Flatiron, and was Director of Works for the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition. He famously said:
“Make no little plans, they have no magic in them to stir men's blood”.
Oleg wanted to revive the local area, and boost interest and tourism to village of Khryaschevka where his wife was from. He always wondered why such a beautiful place with natural beauty (great windsurfing beaches) was depressive. The area needed something special, built. Oleg and the architects, Valery Seglin and Yury Guryanov came up with the idea for a historical fantasy. They would build the castle in sections, so that it gave the appearance of progressive change with layers of new additions being made over the centuries.
They wanted to create the magic of a truly 'authentic' aged feel, using dark gray flint limestone, and "ageing techniques", ensuring every detail from the exterior stonemasonry, to the grotesques and bas-reliefs were truly detailed, "aged" and not cheaply executed
The team did however place nativist touches, adding an ancient Slavic deity, Simargl a mythical creature depicted as a winged lion or dog as a motif.
Artists Sergey Karengin, Alexey Cheboksarinov and Viktor Zaytsev researched many historical documents to find the right design.
This is not a "Disney" lookalike castle. This is a beautiful attempt at creating something magical and wondrous. There are certainly some architectural features that do not match historical precedent such as the flying buttresses, but this is completely besides the point.
Oleg has taken the bold step of creating romantic and beautiful spaces in an age of bland minimalism, tacky lookalike suburbia, bland new build apartments and brutal glass/concrete skyscrapers. Compare this to America's "most expensive home".
Ugly, overpriced and meaningless. The fact it was "in development" for almost a decade is just insane. Where is the craftsmanship, where is the artisanal touch? These aren't just cherrypicked, the master bedroom is shown above. It has a soulless "corporate" feel.
It's disgusting both the valuations and fall in aesthetic standards of modern architecture and design. Garibaldi Castle is a move back to an age where a large building had splendour and meaning. The name Garibaldi, was chosen in honour of Oleg's father Garibaldi Kuzichkin.
The castle has already become a great success, attracting a lot of local attention and tourists, despite the interiors not having been finished and open to the public. Many wedding shoots are already taking place, and the plan is to eventually open the castle as a hotel.
I hope Garibaldi Castle serves as an inspiration to wealthy entrepreneurs, architects and everyday people to dream bigger and build better. Fantastical, magical and wondrous design is not a bygone of the past, but a necessity for the future, giving us hope and fulfilling dreams
Article written by Radomir Kobryn-Coletti