The Smolny Institute was built in 1806-1808 by Giacomo Quarenghi next to the Smolny Convent of Rastrelli. Quarenghi intentionally placed it far back from the street behind a large open court to allow a view of the whole yellow-and-white façade with an eight-column portico in the center and two wings, which looks quite severe in comparison to Rastrelli’s ornate buildings.
The rather long façade does not seem monotonous thanks to its fine proportions and the skillfully accentuated central part. As in Quarenghi’s other buildings, the rooms are spacious and very simply decorated with the exception of the assembly hall in the south wing, adorned with a stately colonnade.
There was a large garden sloping down to the Neva at the back of the main building, and a formal court at the front.