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There is no general scheme of work for cultural heritage sites – specialists always use individual solutions.

In the center of Moscow, in 2021, the facade of a historic building will be repaired at Solyanka Street, 1/2, building 1. Work to restore the facades of residential buildings from the list of cultural heritage sites is being carried out within the framework of a large-scale regional overhaul programs

Monument houses are under the special control of the Fund for Major Repairs. At such facilities, facades and foundations, basements and roofs are put in order, engineering communications and floors in the entrances are also changed. However, the painstaking work does not always mean that the repair will last longer than in a conventional high-rise building: for example, replacing pipes and communications takes the same time.

Nevertheless, the architectural features of the houses-monuments require a careful approach. First of all, this concerns the renovation of the historical facade, especially richly decorated with decor. Such work usually does not affect living quarters and does not cause great inconvenience to residents.

Despite its large size by the standards of its time, the six-storey apartment building on Solyanka is organically integrated into the historical Moscow buildings. However, a bright history sets it apart from other buildings.

From the Salt Yard to the apartment building

In the 17th century, the place of a residential building was occupied by the Salt Yard, surrounded by a wall. A stone perimeter pulled the buildings into a closed square and left the only passage through the front gate – for people and carts. In addition, under all the houses of the Salt Yard, huge cellars stretched, which served as warehouses.

In the XX century, the yard was bought by the Moscow Merchant Society. Its in-house architects – Vladimir Sherwood, Ivan German and Alexey Sergeev – have developed a project for the development of this place. So the building on Solyanka became part of the investment project of the Moscow Merchant Society for the construction of apartment buildings.

As a result, the Salt Yard with all the buildings was demolished in order to erect an architectural ensemble of six-storey apartment buildings in the neoclassical style. The old storages were optimized as planned by the architects: they were expanded and dug up to the depth of the second level. Thus, the delivery and storage of goods became more convenient, the ventilation system improved, the passages for horse-drawn vehicles and already appeared cars expanded, and natural lighting saved electricity. Spacious premises with large display windows on the ground floor were intended for shops, and above were profitable residential apartments.

Treasure and cinema

The complex of apartment buildings on Solyanka was built in two stages: the first was completed in 1912, and the composition was fully completed in 1915. During the construction of the second stage in 1913, a treasure from the time of Ivan the Terrible was unearthed in the courtyard – an earthen pot with silver coins from the turn of the 16th-17th centuries. Only 5.66 kilograms of silver, which in terms of the money of that time was about nine thousand kopecks. Now it is difficult to understand the everyday value of the treasure, but here are some guidelines: a pood of rye cost five kopecks, an ax – seven kopecks, and a horse or cow under Ivan the Terrible cost 100 kopecks. Thus, the owner of the funds could buy a whole herd of 90 cows.

As for the complex of houses, it was a strict architectural ensemble with convenient internal passages between buildings, an extensive network of courtyards-wells in houses along Solyanka (buildings 1 and 2) and restrainedly stylized facades in the neoclassical order forms. The façade of the distant building facing Solyanka was decorated with stucco in the form of figures of Glory flying towards each other with wreaths, which is why the name “house under the angels” stuck, but others often sound like “salt house” or “gray house on Solyanka”.

After the revolution, the buildings were taken over by the People’s Commissariat of Railways, but they decided not to change the purpose of the buildings – the complex remains residential to this day.

The expressive architecture of the “Salt House” has often fascinated filmmakers. The house has become a silent episodic character and setting in several feature films. The basements of the house on Solyanka turned out to be indistinguishable from the alien architecture of the dying civilization Dess from the cult Soviet science fiction film “Through thorns to the stars”; the famous episode with a machine gun in the film “Brother-2” was also filmed here.


Subtleties of overhaul

Regular renovation is the best way to preserve a historic building. As a rule, major repairs are necessary for houses over 25 years old, therefore almost all Moscow houses fall into the regional program. Exceptions include houses for demolition, renovations included in the renovation program, and those with fewer than three apartments.

Terms and types of work are established by a special document. So, the plan for 2021-2023 includes 4437 houses with a total area of ​​34.2 million square meters. Experts figure out where to start work in the first place: they assess the condition and age of houses, take into account the lifespan of elevators, the year of construction, reconstruction and previous overhaul, determine the priorities and types of work, the degree of wear and tear of various engineering systems and the need for renovation.

The more points the house scored from the experts, the closer it is to the beginning of the line for repairs. When the waiting queue is finally formed, sending notifications to apartments is started. After that, the tenants at the general meeting agree and approve the terms and scope of work.

The major renovation program is targeted at homeowners. They are the ones who choose the decor version, colors and materials. Only in the only case their wishes are not realized – if they affect the subject of protection, where the unchangeable elements of structures and decor are described. It is forbidden to install plastic windows in the memorial house or change the color historically inherent in the space, if this is recorded in the documents.

Renovation of a historic site requires a delicate balance between the technical requirements of modern buildings and the preservation of uniqueness. For this, specialists develop a project, where they determine the method and technology of repair. Such documents undergo state examination, and are also coordinated with the city Department of Cultural Heritage – it monitors the preservation of the historical appearance of the house.

The repair itself always begins only after the consent of the owners. The wishes of the tenants are also taken into account when choosing contractors – necessarily from among those licensed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

For cultural heritage objects there is no general scheme of work – the contractor always uses individual solutions. The preservation of the historical appearance is monitored throughout the entire process: operational, intermediate and acceptance monitoring is carried out by construction control staff, objects are regularly checked by specialists Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow… Repairs are supervised by an inspector assigned to the building, and a construction control engineer is supervised by the foundation.

“The overhaul program includes more than 350 memorial houses. Their repair imposes special obligations, including work in accordance with federal law No. 73 “On cultural heritage sites (historical and cultural monuments) of the peoples of the Russian Federation”, – said Sergey Krasnov, head of the department for work with cultural heritage sites of the construction control service Fund for capital repairs of Moscow

All construction and installation work is carried out in strict accordance with the current building standards, including the city regulations for the observance of silence.

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

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