The last days of summer will be appropriately celebrated in St Petersburg with the hotly anticipated opening of the New Holland Island complex.

Just opened for the first time in years – following an experimental, and brief, preview opening in 2011 – the area used to be Naval force territory and for decades was largely off limits to the general public. Owned since 2010 by the Iris Foundation, a non-commercial initiative for the support and advancement of contemporary culture and art launched by Daria Zhukova, this prime central St Petersburg piece of real estate has since been redesigned as a burgeoning public space for the city’s discerning residents and guests.

Now, the project is welcoming a new park zone by Dutch landscape and urban design firm West 8 and a series of temporary pavilions, conceived by young St Petersburg-based architects Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva (of Ludi Architects). This marks the completion of the large scale project’s first phase of regeneration, that also includes the restoration of a number of its existing buildings.

Engineering and technical support for the island’s structure have also been perfected, ready for phase two to commence – this will comprise further restorations of the existing urban fabric, set to reach completion in 2017.

Until then, the island’s splendid new outdoor spaces will be open and available to serve food and beverages, as well as host events – such as concerts and exhibitions – to entertain and delight eager visitors.

Things won't end with this past weekend’s opening festivities; the Island will remain open to the public during the winter for the first time in its existence.