Manor house, school, zootechnical institute: how the Kamenskys manor house change

August 11

The building on Smolensky Boulevard (house 19, building 2) has almost 300-year history. Today it has almost lost its original appearance because it was started to be completed and rebuilt two centuries ago. But two facades have survived to this day - the main one belonging to the former Kamenskys manor house and the courtyard one which belonged to the church attached to the main house in the XIX century. In 2018, they were included in the list of identified sites of cultural heritage.

The first mention of the property where the manor house of M. F. and N. M. Kamenskys subsequently appeared dates back to 1737-1745.  Then the site belonged to the chamber-junker Fedot Kamensky. Since he was purchasing neighboring possessions, the planning boundaries was formed during the second half of the XVIII century.

At the very end of the XVIII century, a three-story main house made of stone was built here. Besides, there were household and residential buildings, greenhouses, a ground shed in the garden along the boundaries of the property, and a wooden garden gazebo - in the center.

In 1806, when the manor house already belonged to Nikolai Demidov, a real privy councilor, a well-known industrialist and philanthropist, two wings were built - a two-story and a one-story wings.

The final layout of the manor house was formed by 1817. The front yard was formed by the main three-story stone house with facades in the classicism style and two residential wings; the left one was added with the second stone floor. Behind them, in a line with the main house, there was a stone cellar and a one-story stone kitchen, and behind the house there were two wooden one-story sheds.

In 1833, the manor house became the property of the Imperial Moscow Society of Agriculture; it housed the Moscow Agricultural School. The manor house was bought at the expense of the Governor-General, philanthropist Dmitry Golitsyn. He also adapted the former estate buildings for a school and obtained an annual allowance from the state for it.

By that time, the main house had three storeys with two entrances both from the front yard and from the garden. The building was decorated with a stucco crowning cornice with medallions and an attic with an elevation on the main facade. Its corners were emphasized by pilasters with stucco reliefs.

In 1885 a church in the name of Saints Cyril and Methodius was added to the building according to the project of architect Sergey Fedotov the facade of which has been preserved to this day. And in 1898 a three-story stone extension was made to the southern courtyard wing of the main house in which new windows were broken, and one of the former ones was converted into a door.

After 1917, all the possessions of the former agricultural school were transferred to the Moscow Higher Zootechnical Institute. After 10 years, instead of one-story outbuildings, four-story stone buildings were built in line with the main house for employees, as well as for laboratories and classrooms.

Photo by Denis Grishkin, Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

Renovation of Old Facades

Numerous cosmetic repairs which were carried out both in Soviet times and after perestroika hid the original decorative elements on both facades under a layer of plaster. Moreover, until 2016, the white stone decor was considered altogether lost. Work on the cultural heritage site began in 2016 and was carried out in the renovation mode; experts preserved the historically established structural layout and space planning structure.

The main facade of the former manor house is decorated with decorative elements in the classicism style. Specialists cleared the surface of the brick and white-stone masonry walls, made brickwork, and restored the white-stone decor. The intermediate cornices, window frames and dripstones, a white stone basement were recreated, and a coat of arms in the form of a double-headed eagle was installed above the attic.

As for the courtyard facade, it is made in the style of historicism - a popular trend in the century before last, combining elements of previously common styles with modern techniques for that era. Specialists also cleared the surface of the walls, restored the white-stone keystones on the arched window lintels of the first floor, and recreated the intermediate cornices and window frames. Carpentry fillings of the door and window openings, a wrought-iron canopy over the entrance were installed, and the white stone basement was repaired.

In 2020, the former Kamenskys manor house became the winner of the Moscow Restoration competition for the best restoration project and adaptations for modern use. Now the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation is located in the building.


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