House-Egg and House-Beehive: where Moscow architectural rarities are located

January 10

Who was the House-Box built for, did anyone live in the House-Beehive, and what building was called a sample of tastelessness in the late 19th century, and then recognized as a landmark building? One can find out about this and much more by getting acquainted with the new selection of the Discover Moscow portal.

The portal and professional photographers Sergey Remizov, Elena Krizhevskaya and Dmitry Yakubov selected 15 buildings of exotic architectural form. They both have an interesting history and are objects for taking pictures. The review includes both pre-revolutionary and Soviet buildings and modern houses.

The oldest building in this selection is the house of Arseniy Morozov. It is located close to the Kremlin, next to the Arbatskaya metro station.  

It was built in 1899 by architect Viktor Mazyrin in neo-Moorish style. The architect combined elements of Art Nouveau and eclecticism and created a bright exotic house. A legend says that Victor Mazyrin was inspired by the Pena Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena) in Portugal. Twisted columns, fancy ornaments amazed the imagination. But at that time, the house was given a hostile reception by Moscow public, it was called a model of tastelessness. But even now it is eye-catching. The mansion was reopened after restoration in 2006, today it houses the Reception House of the Government of the Russian Federation. It is a recognized landmark building and a site of cultural heritage.

"Moscow is a very diverse city in terms of architecture. Pay attention to how epochs, styles and forms coexist in each district of the capital. Thanks to this contrast, Moscow attracts not only tourists, but also artists and photographers, helping them implement any creative idea,"  said Ksenia Vinogradova, Head of the Discover Moscow project at the Moscow Department of Information Technology.

Another amazing building in the city is the Pertsov House. The House-Box, as if descended from pages of Russian fairy tales, is located on the Prechistenskaya embankment. The mansion was built in 1907 in the neo-Russian style for Zinaida Pertsova, wife of railway engineer Pyotr Pertsov. The decoration of the premises was luxurious: carved staircases, majolica tiled stoves, stained glass windows, bedrooms with niches and smoking rooms in Oriental style, for the decoration of which artisans from the Nizhny Novgorod province were brought. Representatives of the creative intelligentsia lived and worked in the house. The basement housed famous cabaret ‘The Bat’ where actors of the Moscow Art Theater arranged skits and funny performances. Today, the Main Department for Servicing the Diplomatic Corps under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation works in the building.

Another point for taking interesting pictures is the restored House of the People's Commissariat of Finance and the laundry. This complex of buildings is a monument of the avant-garde of world significance, an example of a bold architectural experiment in the style of constructivism and the embodiment of the idea of collectivism.

The residential building and the first mechanical laundry in the capital were built in 1930 and 1932 by architects Moses Ginzburg and Ignatius Milinis for employees of the People's Commissariat of Finance of the USSR (Narcomfin). There are no random details in the buildings, the principle of functional architecture is observed, all the components are thought out thoroughly. The buildings were recognized the best project of restoration and adaptation to modern use, and the best organization of repair and restoration works in the Moscow Restoration contest of the Moscow Government in 2019 and 2020.

One of the most bizarre houses in Moscow is hidden in the greenery of Krivoarbatsky Lane. This is the workshop of architect Konstantin Melnikov, built in 1929. The building is a cylinder with small diamond-shaped honeycomb windows around the perimeter, hence the nickname the House-Beehive. This form of structure provides good natural lighting and minimizes the surface of the walls without right angles.

Konstantin Melnikov lived here until 1974. After the architect's death, his son, artist Viktor Melnikov, lived in the house until 2006. Now Konstantin Melnikov 's granddaughter lives there.

An unusual building is also located in Mashkova Street. The House-Egg was created by the architectural bureau of Sergey Tkachenko. The building resembling a Faberge egg appeared in the capital in 2002 and became a symbol of Moscow architecture of the early 21st century. The basis of the house is a metal frame filled with brick. The roof is covered with copper. The ceiling height on each floor is 3.2 meters, and the attic is five meters high. The house has four rooms, two kitchens, and a sauna. The upper floor can be reached by a spiral staircase or by a small elevator. Now it is a residential facility.

The most modern object of this collection can be called the Dominion Tower business center. It is known for its unique architecture. The office building was constructed in 2015 by Zaha Hadid, a female architect known worldwide for her innovative designs. The facade of the seven-story building seems to be laid in uneven layers, one floor protrudes forward, while the next is shifted closer to the centre. It is this structure that creates the illusion of endless movement, the flow of one level into another, similar to the Mobius strip. Depending on the time of day and the angle of view, the color of the facade panels is changing.
The interiors with numerous diagonal staircases directed upwards evokes associations with a continuous water flow.


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