KRONPRINZ
Ivan Chechot / St Petersburg, Russia

"Defensive barracks" on Herzogsaker had been known among the citizens as "Kronprinz barracks" before 1919; after the War the citizens of Kaliningrad again began calling them this name that became outdated during the Wimar democracy. It is the main part of the fortification of the 19th century. It is from Kronprinz and Grolman bastion that in 1843 the construction of the fortifications began by the project of a Berlin general-engineer Ernest Ludwig von Aster (1778-1855). He undoubtedly had a talent of an architect-artist. The style of the building is the English Tudor Gothic of the 16th century, with the characteristic flat arches and rectangular towers. The works were supervised by an engineer general von Breeze. The complex strikes with its monumentality. At the corners of the building there are quite interesting in their spatial design stairs with poles from cast iron decorated with forged grates. The huge corner towers and smooth bends of the walls are beautiful. The area of the tillage that was here in the 16th - 17th centuries where the barracks are situated was given as a gift by an elector in 1695 to a duke Frederick Ludvig von Golschtein-Beck. It was a commander of all the forces of the province during the North War, he retained neutrality and prevented the city from being destroyed. In the place of the future barracks the duke made a parade-ground for military exercises. The barracks were built for the First Grenadier Regiment Kronprinz. The Regiment was established under the Great Elector in 1655 and was considered a Koenigsberg "domestic" Regiment, i.e. the royal one and the main in the city. It arrived at the barracks in the late 1840s, and it was disbanded in 1919. Later the police forces were stationed in the barracks.
The area around the barracks is very interesting, it is picturesque in a way. The old trees and the pavement are wonderful. A curious and a contemplative traveler should go to the ramparts, to see the immense ditches and fortifications behind the Grolman bastion. Further down there is an area of the former Jewish cemetery with the grave of the great philosopher of the 18th century Moses Mendelson.



THE TOWER-REDAN "KRONPRINZ"
Elena Tsvetaeva / Kaliningrad, Russia


The defensive barracks Kronprinz were part of the system of the second rampart fortification ring of Koenigsberg. The construction works were officially started on October 15, 1843 with the grand laying of the first stone of the barracks. The construction was completed in 1849.
Right after the construction the barracks were occupied by the elite units of the Koenigsberg garrison. It hosted the grenadier regiment № 1, whose grenadiers were called "crownprinces" in Koenigsberg.
Since 1890 the importance of the barracks as a fortification decreased. The casemates were rebuilt for living quarters. After World War I the police units were disposed in the defense barracks.
Since 1933 the barracks became a place of disposition of the Koenigsberg police, the military exchequer of the Wehrmacht, headquarters of the 1st division, depots and different municipal services.
In April 1945 there were fierce battles at the walls of the barracks, but they did not undergo the assault and were surrounded by the Soviet troops till the general capitulation.
After the war a penal battalion, that took part in the assault of Koenigsberg, was quartered in the barracks.
In the 1950s there was a training tank-remount regiment, training motor battalion, and since the 1970s there has been a nautical school, a dormitory, fishing industry companies, warehouses. In 1960 by the Decree of the Council of Ministers the building was given a state protection.
Today the Kronprinz barracks is a monument of the military- engineering architecture - an object of historical and cultural federal (national) heritage protected by the state. In 2003 part of the defensive barracks -- the tower-redan "Kronprinz" -- was transferred into day-to-day management of the National Center for Contemporary Art. And in a few years there will be established a unique museum and exhibition, research and informational complex of the actual culture in Kaliningrad.
The present state of the monument is picturesque and sad, the inner rooms of the tower are quite neglected: in the three-storied building the ceilings remained only between the ground and the first floors, there are no windows, on the upper terrace trees and grass grew striking with their obstinate urge to live in spite of everything. But outwardly the monument is really impressive! The heavy architectural appearance, the historical background and the contemporary "ruined" state of the monument do not let the curators and artists of the Center for Contemporary Art calmly wait for the completion of its restoration and construction. The artists enrich their practices with a new subject - they revive the space, fill it with the new content and thereby organically involve Kronprinz into varied contemporary life.
The contemporary art's acquisition of the space for the future residence, of the Kronprinz tower, and financial support of the reconstruction and restoration of the object by the Federal Agency on Culture and Cinematography is a certain symbol of the time, indicating the potential of the actual culture and the changes that are taking place in the society. The idea of transformation of forts, old factories, tram depots, stations, power stations into halls and museums of contemporary art is not new for the world art history. But for Kaliningrad it is really a significant event - a beautiful metaphor symbolizing the surrender of military buildings and military power to the art.




Download the tower photos:

Tower, view from sreet
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Tower, view from yard
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Tower, blueprints
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NATIONAL CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
KALININGRAD BRANCH


INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
TOWER KRONPRINZ: SECOND ADVENT