Regenerating a St Petersburg treasure: Marinetek delivers ‘events’ pontoon for New Holland Island


New Holland Island, a 2.2ha triangular man-made island wedged between the Moyka River and Admiralteysky Canal in St Petersburg, Russia, has a rich maritime history. Today, its renowned buildings and plentiful green spaces are being developed into a cultural and social attraction for locals and visitors – and a 620m² events pontoon, built by Marinetek SPB to float on an original ornamental pond, enjoys a prime position.

After years of disuse and the ravages of a huge fire in the first years of the twentieth century, New Holland Island, named for its Dutch style barracks or possibly the Dutch builders involved in its development, became available for redevelopment in 2004. Prior to this it was under the control of the Navy and its buildings used over the centuries for lumber storage, vessel tank testing and housing naval prisoners.

Marinetek SPB, formed in St Petersburg in 2010 to replace Marinetek Russia, was delighted to take part in the project as it has played a pivotal role in many major Russian marina projects including Sochi Imeretinsky, Olympic Marina Sochi, Royal Yacht Club Moscow, Grand Marina Zavidovo in Tver and Terijoki Yacht Club in St Petersburg. The challenges for the New Holland Island project included tight schedules and bespoke design work using diverse materials.

“It’s a unique location – right in the historical centre of St Petersburg and had to meet the highest specifications for quality and appearance,” explained Marinetek SPB Managing Director Edgar Vyzhletsov. “There were also very tight deadlines due to the public nature of the project and we worked around the clock to deliver the system on time.”

The 15 x 20m rectangular platform was created using eight standard Marinetek M2715 Heavy Duty pontoons and moored by Seaflex to ensure excellent stability during water level fluctuations of up to 2.1m. The platform is accessed by generous walkways which, in turn, are connected to the land by steel access bridges with steps designed to stay perfectly parallel to the horizon irrespective of water levels. The bridges are fixed using screw piles.

Marinetek also designed additional non-standard equipment, including a larch and rope railing system that is easily connected and disconnected in sections; 39° connecting steel corner pieces; and a special fixing system for cleats. These products, along with the wood polymer composite decking, were made to order by local manufacturers. The decking boards are installed lengthways along the pontoons and have a 60cm overhang.

The multi-purpose floating pontoon plays a significant part in the early stages of a four-phase ten-year project (2016-2026) to transform the site. With a focus on reconnecting the island with the city and blending the infrastructure, the island is a newly planted green oasis and its historic buildings (The Foundry, The Bottle [ex-prison] and the Commandant’s House), amongst the most outstanding architectural examples of early classicism in the country, have been beautifully restored.

Local people and tourists showed their appreciation of the new city park from the outset. The opening ‘Summer at New Holland’ programme, from 2011-2013, attracted over 700,000 visitors and included more than 1,200 different events. The venue’s popularity continues, and many of its future events will be hosted ‘afloat’. “We are proud and privileged to have taken part in this very special development and to have a Marinetek floating platform installed in a place of such cultural and national historical significance,” said Vyzhletsov. “New Holland Island has been preserved for the future, but also reinvented as a multi-use complex that offers something for everyone.”