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Grigory Mudrov tells what objects, on which he worked, became the subject of his pride, and also why it is necessary to preserve monuments of history and culture.

Petrovsky Travel Palace, the poet Maikov’s residential house on Bolshaya Spasskaya, GUM and the Bakhmetyevsky bus garage on Obraztsova Street. All these buildings are monuments of the history and culture of Moscow, and Grigory Mudrov, one of the most authoritative and respected Moscow experts in the field of preserving cultural heritage objects, had a hand in their restoration.

“The importance and necessity of the restorer’s work is explained by the fact that heritage is the most important factor in the formation of national identity. You don’t have to go to museums, watch movies and performances, or read books, but it’s impossible to bypass architectural monuments. Our history, its meaning and outstanding achievements are concentrated in the objects of cultural heritage. And you can feel all this, if only by observing them around you. ” These words of Grigory Valerievich can be considered the motto of his creative path.

The future architect was born in 1960 into a family of hereditary metro builders. From childhood he was fond of drawing, and the desire to connect his life with architecture appeared already by the age of 12-13. Then he entered the Moscow Architectural Institute, from which he graduated with honors, and was engaged in teaching there for 15 years. It is noteworthy that Mudrov’s diploma project, dedicated to the restoration and reconstruction of the city of Borovsk in the Kaluga region, hung for a long time in the reception room of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in Gagarinsky Lane.

Beauty lifeguard

Grigory Mudrov began his career as an architect-restorer in the 1980s. According to him, those times were difficult, and the list of losses of architectural monuments was huge. But gradually everything began to change.


Grigory Mudrov recalls Tommaso Montanari, an Italian art critic and culturologist, who said that entering a public building, walking along the nave of an ancient church, even just walking along the historic square means materially entering the stream of history.

“This is why what we call cultural heritage today is one of the most powerful reservoirs of the future. Dostoevsky wrote that “beauty will save the world,” but beauty will not save anything at all if we do not save beauty, ”the restorer is sure.

Principles of classical restoration

According to Grigory Mudrov, the methodology of the modern use of architectural monuments is in two directions: in the classical adaptation for modern use – on the one hand, and in what is called adaptive reuse, or “adaptive reuse” – on the other. In the first case, a monument, or rather, preserving its authenticity, is a prerequisite for developing and evaluating solutions for modern use. In another, the monument, in fact, is only an excuse for the self-expression of investors, architects, engineers. Its volumetric-spatial and planning structure is changing, and the historical part often becomes only a small component of a new object, called “adapted”.

“Fortunately, in Moscow practice, the principles of classical restoration and adaptation of the historical heritage to modern conditions are much more often implemented. There are many examples of this: the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Petrovsky Travel Palace, the VDNKh facilities, the Kievsky railway station, and many old Moscow mansions. It is especially valuable that two processes – restoration and adaptation – at these objects were carried out in parallel, at the same time, ”notes Grigory Mudrov.

In his opinion, there are no simple projects concerning architectural monuments. Since 2018, the architect has been involved in the restoration of the former pavilion of the Kazakh SSR at VDNKh. This building was built in 1949-1954, and in 1964 it was re-profiled for a branch exposition of the achievements of the ferrous metallurgy of the USSR. It was radically rebuilt: the facades were changed, the internal space was divided by several additional ceilings, a frame extension appeared on the back side, and so on.

“A typical problem is the translucent dome that crowned the original volume of the pavilion. It was erected in the early 1950s, when our construction industry had neither the relevant experience nor the technology for constructing such structures. The supporting frame was simultaneously used to support the glazing. That is, he was constantly in the zone of temperature differences. Therefore, after five to six years of operation, it completely corroded and had to be dismantled. Our task was to design the reconstruction of the dome (or rather, two domes: external and internal) using modern technologies, when the supporting frame and the enclosing glazing are separated. And at the same time keep the shape and decor. Unbelievable problems had to be solved: how to fit the glazing of the inner dome, painted with the national Kazakh ornament, into the modern structural elements? How to get the required number of articulations on the outer dome and at the same time avoid an incredible number of joints, each of which poses a threat to the dome? There were answers to all these questions, but they were very difficult to answer, ”recalls Grigory Mudrov.

He considers the Petrovsky Travel Palace a subject of special pride.

“I worked on it from 1998 to 2005. My colleagues and I succeeded in doing what some architects have called the last classical restoration. I remember forever how one big boss scolded us for not replacing the interfloor floors and the wooden frame of the palace dome with reinforced concrete. And the fact that these are unique structures that have survived at most two or three more architectural monuments did not mean anything to him. In the ceilings there is a truss system of beams, in the dome there is a double frame of rib arches with a “bicycle hub” at the top. Where else can you find this? As a third-party check later showed, after restoration these structures retained an additional margin of safety of 30 percent or more, ”notes the architect-restorer.

It will take a lot of time to list all the projects in which Grigory Mudrov took part. He himself singles out the Lobanov-Rostovsky house on Myasnitskaya Street. This is one of the few monuments with interiors that survived the fire of 1812. It is based on the chambers of the turn of the 17th – 18th centuries, a baroque house of the 1760s, which belonged to P.I. Panin. A.S. has been there several times. Pushkin.

“I really love this object, I have been working on it for almost 20 years since 1987. My colleagues and I restored it with love, extremely carefully and thoughtfully. When we came to this object, there was the most ordinary office “anthill” in it. Everything is partitioned off with sheets of plywood, hundreds of meters of unique artificial marble on the walls are covered with layers of oil paint. It also turned out that under the house there are 14 meters of bulk soil, that is, in fact, it hangs in the air. As soon as they began to investigate the building in detail, fragments of the early construction stages appeared. It was far from immediately possible to collect all this into one project; the documentation went through several versions and adjustments. But the result could not fail to please us, especially after in 2011 our team received a prize at the architectural competition “Golden Section” for this object “, – says Grigory Valerievich.

It took him a lot of time and effort to work with another masterpiece, but already by the masters of the Soviet era. We are talking about the Bakhmetyevsky bus garage on Obraztsov street by architect K.S. Melnikov and engineer V.G. Shukhov. The project, which was launched back in 2001, has undergone several “reincarnations”, a lot here, too, happened gradually, in stages. Today, the main building houses one of the most modern museums in Moscow – the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.

“At the beginning of work, we found an empty, cold garage arena in a terrible state. The facades were distorted, the brickwork of the outer walls was weathered and painted over, the roof was missing, the joinery almost disappeared. We restored all this taking into account the requirements that the forthcoming museum function of the building presented to us, ”recalls Grigory Mudrov.

And the dwelling house of the poet A.N. Maikov on Bolshaya Spasskaya, he and his colleagues managed to literally lift almost one meter.

“As a result, the house, almost embedded in the ground, appeared before everyone in its original dimensions and proportions. We managed to squeeze the maximum out of the practically lost interiors, the restoration was carried out literally bit by bit, ”says Grigory Valerievich.

A lot of effort was spent working with the building of the restaurant I.A. Skalkin “Eldorado” in Petrovsky Park. In the late 1980s, they began to reconstruct it as a garrison clinic, but in the end the building was abandoned. It got wet through, part of the roof and ceiling structures were dismantled without any conservation of the monument. As a result, only two rooms have survived: the vestibule and the main hall (in the latter there is only a plafond).

“In addition to these premises, we have completely restored the magnificent facades designed by L.N. Kekushev, ”emphasizes Grigory Mudrov.

The Zamyatin-Tretyakov estate on Gogolevsky Boulevard, the city estate of A.K. Kopteva – N.A. Meyendorf on Bolshaya Nikitskaya, Upper trading rows on Red Square, known to everyone as GUM – all these objects were restored by Grigory Mudrov.

Thanks to him, as the author or scientific supervisor of restoration projects, more than 60 architectural monuments of the capital have received a new life. During the 2000s, Mudrov’s objects were nominated three times for the Golden Section Prize of the Union of Moscow Architects, and one of them – the Lobanov-Rostovsky House – won this competition. Many objects have received awards from the Moscow Restoration competition. And in 2015, Grigory Mudrov was awarded the title of “Honorary Restorer of the City of Moscow.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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