Where: The entryway of a large communal apartment on the outskirts of one of the central districts of St. Petersburg. The apartment is on the first floor. To get here, you enter directly from the street, go up the stairs, and come out into a large hall.
Who: Christiane Buchner, a documentary filmmaker who is visiting someone she knows in this apartment in order to shoot a scene of her film on the breakup of communal apartments and the resettlement of their residents.
What: Some decades ago, this apartment was provided to officers and other employees of one of the Leningrad military training academies. Before that, there was an officers' dormitory here. The building was put up in the late 1930s as a dormitory. This accounts for the unusual layout of the apartment, in which no provisions were made for storage rooms or areas for drying laundry (since it was assumed that people residing in a dormitory used a laundry service elsewhere and did not have many possessions, as they were living here temporarily).
It is likely that when the building was reorganized into apartments the first floor was partitioned into several segments. The other segments are reached by other routes. Since the residents of this apartment are the only people who go up and down this stairway, it is used for storage and drying laundry.