History of a building: how the tenement house on Ilyinka changed

April 22
Culture

Located on Ilyinka Street, one of the oldest streets in Moscow, the tenement house of I. G. Khryashchev — V. I. Vargin has an intricate construction history. It appeared on the lands of the Moldavian ruler’s family Dmitry Cantemir who was an ally of Peter I in the first half of the 18th century. In the 1760s, the land plot devolved to the famous merchant Ivan Khryashchev, and two decades later his son Peter Khryashchev decided to reconstruct the estate. At those times old small buildings were demolished and large commercial and public buildings were constructed at the area of Ilyinka and around it. The building was one of the first Moscow’s tenement houses built by architect Matvey Kazakov.

The tenement house in the late 18th century

The house’s structure was a rectangular square of two-and three-story spaces located around the site perimeter and forming a large courtyard. The largest space was comprised of three floors facing three sides: Ilyinka Street, Ipatievsky and Yushkov lanes.

The first floor of the house was occupied by small shops. Four staircases with entrances from the courtyard led to the upper residential floors. Most of the apartments were small-sized rooms occupied by visiting merchants. The building’s middle part contained larger apartments with a suite of front rooms with their windows overlooking the street, and utility rooms with kitchens having courtyard view. The most modest apartments were located in the side buildings.

Vasily Vargin, a textile magnate from Serpukhov, became the new owner of the building in 1838. He was the largest supplier of the military uniform to the Russian army. In his ownership changes took place in the architectural decor of the house facades. A portico with Corinthian pilasters and stucco decoration appeared in the central part of the main facade, and it was the influence of the Empire style. As such the house gained in monumentality.

The house in the late 19th — early 20th centuries

At the end of the 19th century the role of Ilyinka as the main street of Kitay-Gorod District was growing rapidly. That time saw many public buildings being reconstructed and appearing of new ones. The tenement house of I. G. Khryashchev — V. I. Vargin did not avoid changes either. The will of Vargin’s nephew passed the house to the Serpukhov City Credit Society. New owners decided to transform the building and this task was assigned to one of the best architects of the time — Roman Klein. As a result of a major reconstruction in 1888 the internal bypass gallery of the first floor shops became retail premises, and the decor of the facades changed to use elements of classicism and Baroque.

The next stage of construction took place in 1904. According to Klein's project, a new building with a variable number of floors was erected on the site of the since demolished buildings at Ilyinka Street and Ipatievsky Lane, and this new building was attached to the existing buildings of the house. The internal layout of the new part of the structure was significantly different from the previous one, although the social, commercial and residential functions of the house were preserved.

The architectural appearance of the house changed for vague resemblance of an old French castle — Klein was evidently influenced by his internship in the Paris studio of famous architect Charles Garnier. The eclectic construction of the main facades was bearing strong influence of Art Nouveau with the characteristic asymmetry of composition and thorough detailing of forms and elements. The facade of the house facing Ilyinka became more formal, with its central part emphasized by two vertical accents — stair nodes.

In pre-revolutionary times the Russian Foreign Trade Bank and the Siberian Bank were located in the largest space of the house — the grand hall. In the Soviet years it was occupied by the archive of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) that today can be traced by the hammer and sickle emblems on the bay windows.

 

Restoration of the grand hall

In 1998 the house was recognized as a landmark building and brought under state protection. The current object of protection was approved in 2018.

"In the spring of 2018 we started preliminary work and comprehensive scientific research of the grand hall located on the second floor. It is a rectangular room with a picturesque vaulted ceiling. Four Corinthian columns on pedestals with spiral flutes occupy the hall’s center. The restoration work discovered that two layers of Soviet parquet were covering the Metlakh tiles of the early 20th century. The painting has late Soviet additions in the form of ornamental and floral patterns, said Elizaveta Zeynalova. Unfortunately, not a single archive photo was found that could show the original appearance of the hall. For example, it is unknown how the lost pedestals of the columns looked like, or whether the walls were originally covered with wooden panels. So when developing the restoration project, we were inspired by similar bank premises of those times".

Restoration of the hall’s historical appearance began in 2019. A full range of repair and restoration works was carried out on the walls, ceilings, floors, paintings, stucco and wooden decor.

According to Elizaveta Zeynalova, the house elements that appeared in the Soviet period, though not related to its original appearance, are valuable too. The paintings of this period were of high quality and did not worsen the artistic perception.

"In the course of the restoration work, some changes were made within the framework of the author's supervision procedure. For example, we believe that clearing work revealed the original olive color of the walls and ceiling, and that ochre appeared in Soviet times," says Elizaveta Zeynalova.

Experts made lost elements of the Metlakh tiles floor covering according to the historical technology and applied a layer of mastic on top for greater safety.

 

Adaptation project

It was decided that the restored grand hall should function as it did in the 20th century. The architects’ task was to set up a bank branch in the premises convenient both for employees and visitors. And on top of that modern technological engineering communications should not violate the integrity of the perception of the hall.

"The hall is richly decorated, all the historical decor including the original floor covering, had to be preserved, which created cramped conditions for the adaptation project design and implementation. Laying a lot of engineering communications (electrical, low-current systems, security and fire alarm systems) required a non-standard and individual approach," notes Elizaveta Zeynalova.

Now customers and employees of the bank find themselves in a spacious hall with low glass partitions. The furniture in the central part is made of solid wood in the early 20th century style: two hexagonal showcases for placing exhibits in the form of coins and securities of different periods, two double-sided benches with leather upholstery and six bureaus with chairs for doing paperwork.

Currently, the house on Ilyinka is part of the complex of buildings of the Presidential Administration of Russia.

Source: mos.ru

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