MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Consider the facades of six buildings built in the 18th – 19th centuries, which changed their appearance, purpose and even location.
Why not look at the facades of the houses as exhibits in an open-air exhibition? A walk through the city’s main streets can easily turn into a cultural hike if you are observant and armed with a minimal knowledge of the history of buildings and their architectural features.
Postnikova’s Passage: Atlantes
Tverskaya street, 5/6
In the building where the Moscow Drama Theater named after M.N. Ermolova, at the end of the 19th century, there was not applause and music, but the voices of salesmen and buyers. There was a shopping arcade for Lydia Postnikova.
In 1886, it was rebuilt from an 18th century city manor, designed by the architect Semyon Eibushits. The house grew up to three floors, and a new building was erected on the site of the front yard – in the bypass galleries there were glass ceilings made according to the system of Vladimir Shukhov. In 1889, display windows appeared on the first floor.
Today the arcade is a four-story building with an arch in the central part of the facade and a metal dome at the top. The building is stylized in the Baroque style: the pairwise grouped windows are separated by pilasters (flat decorative elements, similar to a column, but having a rectangular rather than a circular cross-section). Pilasters are crowned with Corinthian capitals, depicting a basket decorated with leaves. The second floor balconies are supported by Atlantean sculptures.
Postnikova’s passage did not have much success. The remoteness from the main trade artery of the city at that time, Kuznetsky Most, as well as the absence of through galleries overlooking the neighboring streets, created inconvenience for buyers. The trade was not going briskly. The furnished rooms and cinematographs located in the building did not generate income either.
In 1909 Postnikova sold the passage to the merchant of the first guild Gontsov and the peasant Siluanov. By 1911, Gontsov remained the only owner. He managed to change the situation – he increased the number of stores, and opened a hotel on the upper floors. After the revolution, the building housed the Supreme Council of the National Economy of the RSFSR. In 1929, the theatrical era began – at first, the State Theater named after Vs. Meyerhold, and the Theater named after M.N. Ermolova began his work in 1946.
The building of the Moscow City Council (Golitsyn’s house): a building that moved a lot
Tverskaya street, house 13
The building in the classicism style, which today houses the Moscow City Hall, was built in 1782, presumably by the project of the architect Matvey Kazakov. Before the revolution, it served as the residence of Moscow governors-general, and after that it was the seat of the Moscow Soviet.
Initially, the estate belonged to Count Zakhary Chernyshev and was three-story. After the death of the owner in 1785, it was bought from the heirs at the expense of the city treasury and received the name “Tver state house occupied by the governor-general”. After a fire in 1812, the house survived, but suffered from the actions of Napoleon’s soldiers. In 1823, it was damaged by another fire, and it took two years to rebuild.
At the end of the 19th century, the house became one of the cultural centers of the capital thanks to the Governor-General Vladimir Dolgorukov, who often held balls there. According to legend, the swindler Pavel Speyer entered one of these parties. Having gained confidence in Dolgorukov, he asked to allow him to conduct a small tour of the building for a foreign friend he knew. The next day he brought an English nobleman to the estate, who … bought it from Speyer. The attendant who was accompanying the visitors did not understand anything, since he did not speak English.
After the revolution, the building changed its appearance twice and once – its location. In 1929-1930, a six-storey building in the constructivism style was added to it on the back side, designed by Ivan Fomin. In 1937, after the expansion of Tverskaya, it turned out that the building went over the red line of the street by 13.65 meters. It was decided to move it, preserving its historical appearance. The transfer took place on September 16, 1939 and took a record short time – the 20-ton building was moved in just 41 minutes.
By 1945, the once majestic building was surrounded by taller buildings, so it was decided to build on two floors. The project was carried out by the architect Dmitry Chechulin. At that time, pilasters of the Corinthian order appeared on the facade, and on the upper tier there was an eight-column portico, on the frieze of which the coat of arms of Moscow is today.
English club: the lions that Pushkin saw
Tverskaya street, house 21, building 1
Moving down the same side of the street, you can see the manor in the classicism style, which has survived to this day almost unchanged, as well as stone lions on its fence, which are mentioned in the novel “Eugene Onegin”. Today the estate is occupied by the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. Before the revolution there was the Moscow English Club – one of the first gentlemen’s clubs in Russia.
The club appeared at the end of the 18th century, but received a permanent address only in 1831, housed in the Razumovsky palace on Tverskaya. It was very difficult to get here: the club included representatives of the nobility and the authorities. The Pushkins, including Alexander Sergeevich, also had a membership.
The manor is symmetrical, and the front courtyard of the rounded shape is formed by the side wings. The center of the façade is decorated with an eight-column Doric portico, which rests on a high arched plinth. Bas-reliefs in the form of lion heads are located above the windows.
Profitable house of the partnership “A. Bakhrushin’s sons “: roses and hippeastrum
Tverskaya street, house 12, building 1
The five-storey Art Nouveau house was built in 1900-1901 by the famous architect Karl Gippius. This master of eclecticism and Art Nouveau turned a tenement house into a work of art – you can look at its facade for a long time.
The sides of the symmetrical building are highlighted by bay windows on the third and fourth floors. They are propped up by columns, the capitals of which are adorned with female masks with flowing hair. Similar masks can be found on the supporting parts of the balcony, which stretches across the entire fourth floor. The balconies are decorated with characteristic Art Nouveau curved lines and whimsical colors. On the window openings of the fourth floor, bas-reliefs in the form of roses are twisted, and on the cast-iron lattices of the highest balconies one can see the flowers of hippeastrum – plants of the genus Amaryllis.
Before the revolution, the first two floors of the house were occupied by shops. Among them were a shoe shop, a bookstore, a bakery, and the Pathé brothers’ gramophone and phonograph shop. Also there was a photo studio “Otto Renard”.
The office house of I.D. Sytin: flowers and gold
Tverskaya street, house 18b
The facade of this building also catches the eye for a long time. First of all, thanks to the decor created according to the sketches of the artist Ivan Bilibin. Between the second and third floors, a mosaic ornament stretches across the whole house – red and blue flowers on a gold background. This color rhymes with the golden tiles framing the round windows on the fourth floor and the space above the mascarons in the form of girlish heads with flowing hair. Also, the facade is decorated with bas-reliefs in the form of roses, poppies and cornflowers, and the balconies are decorated with lattices with floral ornaments.
This house did not always look like this. Until 1904, when the book publisher and educator Ivan Sytin bought it, it was a two-story Empire-style mansion. Over the next two years, the building was completely rebuilt by the architect Adolf Erichson and engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The mansion was completed up to four floors, the mezzanine was marked in the center, the windows were widened. A bookstore was opened on the first floor, two other floors were equipped for office space, which was occupied by the editorial office of the newspaper “Russkoe Slovo”. And on the top floor lived the big Sytin family.
Eliseevsky store: caduceus and angels
Tverskaya street, house 14
At the end of the 1880s, a palace was built for Ekaterina Kozitskaya, the widow of the state secretary of Catherine II, designed by Matvey Kazakov. The facade of the mansion was modest, it was decorated only with a portico with six columns. All the luxury was hidden inside – the interiors were so rich that after a fire in 1812, teachers and students of Moscow University refused to move there. Rector Ivan Geim wrote that “it’s impossible to live in this house, so as not to spoil the piece floors and damask wallpaper, huge expensive dressing table and so on”.
In 1824, Zinaida Volkonskaya, the granddaughter of Kozitskaya, moved here. She decorated it with frescoes and expensive paintings, organized literary and musical evenings here, which were attended by Alexander Pushkin, Fedor Tyutchev, Ivan Turgenev and many others.
In 1874, the facade of the house was changed. In particular, the classic portico has disappeared from it. Global changes took place later, after in 1898 the building was bought by the St. Petersburg merchant Grigory Eliseev to open a store in it. Under the leadership of Gabriel Baranovsky, the carriage passage was converted into the main entrance, and the rooms on the first two floors – into trading rooms with huge chandeliers. On the facade, the then fashionable eclectic stucco molding blossomed: on the central part of the cornice there appeared figures of either Athens, or angels with spears, above them was the staff of the god of trade Hermes – the caduceus.
In Soviet times, the store was renamed grocery store No. 1, but customers continued to call it Eliseevsky. In 1935, the writer Nikolai Ostrovsky lived in one of the apartments of the house. Today it houses the State Museum – Cultural Center “Integration” named after N.A. Ostrovsky.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.