Architecture in St. Petersburg follows the city’s political and cultural history, with Czarist palaces next to Art Nouveau shopping centers and austere Soviet-era office buildings. In the newly capitalist 1990s and 2000s, investors and landlords began converting attic spaces into apartments—a practice the government initially encouraged but tenants often fought as infringing on communal property. One strategy to win approval was to add a French-style mansard roof, which was considered an architectural improvement and allowed for a brighter, more open interior space.
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