Savva Ivanovich Chevakinsky
(1709 - between 1774 and 1780)
Born into an ancient but impoverished noble family. First sent to Moscow to attend the school of navigational sciences, and in 1729 enrolled in the Naval Academy in Saint Petersburg. In 1732 became a student of N. K. Korobov, the architect of the Saint Petersburg Admiralty Collegium. In 1739 he worked as an apprentice at the Admiralty. In 1745 he attained the rank of major as an architect. During the same year he was appointed architect at Tzarskoe Selo by Empress Elizabeth I. Between 1755 and 1757 he was also the architect for the Academy of Sciences, where he taught the architecture class. Among the students of Savva Chevakinsky were V. I. Bazhenov, I. E. Starov and others. In 1767 Chevakinsky retired and moved to his estate in the village of Novotorzhsk, in Tver province. Thirty five years of constant labor had failed to provide the architect with a comfortable old age. He found himself short of funds and applied to the Admiralty Collegium requesting that he be rewarded for those fruits of his labor that had benefited the state but for which he had not received payment. The collegium debated its decision until 1774. Savva Chevakinsky was forced to sell off part of his estate. It is not known exactly in which year this talented architect died, forgotten in his old age. Researchers approximate the year of his death as somewhere between 1774 and 1780.
He was the greatest representative of the "Elizabeth an Baroque" after Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. His main creations in Saint Petersburg were the Saint Nicholas Naval Cathedral, Count Shuvalov's palace on Italianskaya Street, the palace of Count Sheremetiev on the Fontanka River (completed with the help of F. S. Argunov), restoration of the Kunstkamera following damage by fire, and also the timber warehouses in the "New Holland" district (with the help of Valen-Delamot and I. K. Gerard).
On May 5, 1745, Savva Chevakinsky was appointed to supervise construction work on the Large (Catherine) Palace in place of Giuseppe Trezini. This work was conducted according to designs by the architect's assistant of Andrei Vasilievich Kvasov. In this role Savva Chevakinsky acted not only as supervisor, but also as designer. He made many significant changes to the plans of Andrei Kvasov. By the winter of 1749 - 1750, the palace interiors and chapel linked by Chevakinsky to the palace were almost complete. By 1751 the facades of the Large (Catherine) Palace were completed. Later the palace was reconstructed according to plans by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. In 1749 - 1750 Chevakinsky and Rastrelli became close working partners when they started the new reconstruction of the Large (Catherine) Palace. This reconstruction was carried out by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli working hand in hand with Chevakinsky, in whom the former had a reliable assistant until the completion of the work in 1756.
In 1746 construction of a stone hall on the island in the Large Pond of the Catherine Park commenced according to designs by Savva Chevakinsky. This hall has not retained its original appearance. In 1794 it was reconstructed by Giacomo Quarenghi.
In the Alexander Park the baroque Mon Bijou pavilion, or "Stone Lodge in the Menagerie," as it was called in the 18th century, was constructed according to plans by Savva Chevakinsky (1747). This architect considered this job to be very important. Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli took part in the completion of this lodge. The final touches were put on the pavilion in 1754. During the early 19th century the pavilion was rebuilt by Adam Menelaws in gothic forms, and received the name of the Arsenal.