Mansion in Neo-Russian style: restoration of the Embassy of Brazil building almost finished

September 26, 2019
Construction and renovation

The restoration of the Brazilian Embassy building's facades is almost finished. This brick mansion was built in 1876 in the Neo-Russian (or Pseudo-Russian) style, with typical elements of ancient Russian and Byzantine architecture. The design was developed by the renowned architect Alexander Kaminsky. The mansion was ordered by Anna Lopatina, the wife of a hereditary merited citizen, engaged in supplying luxury Moscow restaurants with refined seafood.

Originally, it was a two-storeyed mansion, with high attic room and a basement with a glacier to store seafood. There was an office on the first floor, with the living quarters occupying the second floor. In the early 20th century, the mansion became a revenue house.

After the October Revolution, the building belonged to the government. In 1928, it housed a hostel for old Bolsheviks. In order to increase the living area, the third floor was added to the house. It was designed by the architect Sukhanov, who preserved all the typical features of the Neo-Russian style on the facade. In 1963, the mansion was transferred to the Embassy of Brazil, and since 1988, it has been its property.

'This building is a unique piece of Neo-Russian architecture distinguished by intricate decorative elements and an abundance of bright colours. Front facade walls are decorated with diamond patterned bricks of different colours.  Arch windows of the first floor have archivolts (architraves framing an arch of a door or window aperture). They are connected by a wide decorative strip called friso. The windows of the second and third floors are decorated with kokoshnik-shaped architraves. The corners of the building have coloured half-columns with drop ornaments. There are small panels of coloured tiles with floral drawings on the walls. The mansion is crowned with a high pyramid-shaped roof with openwork decoration on its ridge,' told Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov.

The brick fence with wrought iron gates is made in the same style. It has retained the look of the 19th century.

Alexei Yemelyanov noted that the restoration of facades and fences started this June. During the renovation, the walls have been cleaned of dirt and dust, with the brickwork reinforced. Experts are currently renovating face bricks, restore the tiles, recreate lost elements according to extant pieces. They also restore the original wooden windows and front doors. After replacing the coating, the restorers will recreate the lost openwork decor on the roof ridge. The work is expected to finish in October.

Also, the restoration of the mansion's interiors has started. Plaster mouldings, cornices and rosettes, as well as oak flooring will be recreated according to historical documents and photographs. The restoration of the old mansion's interiors is to be completed in 2020.

The building of the Embassy of Brazil is a cultural heritage site of federal significance, its historical appearance cannot be modified. So, all restoration works are supervised by the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department.

In 1857, Alexander Kaminsky (1829-1897) graduated with honours from the Architectural Department of the Academy of Imperial Arts in St. Petersburg. He took part in the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. From 1867 to 1892, he was a senior architect of the Moscow Merchant Society. Alexander Kaminsky built and rebuilt estates, erected revenue houses, hotels, warehouses, hospitals and poorhouses. Many of his works have survived, with the Shchapovs House  (68 Baumanskaya Street), Aleksandro-Mariinskoye School (47 Bolshaya Ordynka Street), Aleksandrovskaya Hospital and a poorhouse with an Archangel Michael Chapel (6/8 Shchipok Street) among them.

Preservation of cultural heritage sites

Restoration and preservation of architectural monuments is one of priorities of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department. Over the past eight years, more than 1,200 heritage sites have been restored in Moscow. The restoration of Andrei Sytin's estate, a one-storey wooden house built on a stone foundation of the late 17th century, has been recently completed. It covers 683.3 sq m. This is one of the few pieces of Moscow urban buildings built before the fire of 1812.

In March, restoration of the interiors of the Church of the Resurrection of the Word in Uspensky Vrazhek was finished, with 40 unique paintings on the church walls and vaults restored. Experts have also recreated ornaments on the walls and two cherub medallions above the windows.

Anytime soon, the restoration of the former summer house of merchants and manufacturers located on Leningradsky Prospekt is to start. The building was constructed in the first third of the 19th century in the neoclassical style.

A Bath House in Neskuchny Garden built in the late 18th century is to be restored, too. This is a unique piece of a Park Pavilion built in the classical style.

Count Orlov's grotto will also be renovated in Neskuchny Garden. Experts will upgrade the masonry, and restore the historical appearance of the observation deck overlooking the Moskva River, Yekaterininsky  Pond, and the count Orlov's summer house.


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