Mezzanine house and Hotel Peking tower: 2020 Moscow renovations

September 18

The extensive restoration work of architectural monuments continues in Moscow. On City Day an important ceremony took place. After a two-year make-over job the North River Terminal was once again opened. 

Some 1,495 cultural heritage sites have been done up in the capital since 2011. Despite the restrictions due to the pandemic, 71 sites have already been finished this year. The jobs varied from comprehensive restoration projects to less tedious straight forward repair work. One example, completed over the summer, is the Moscow Classical Gymnasium’s auditorium that now looks very much how it once did many years ago. 

Find out more about more architectural monuments worth taking a look at if you happen to stroll around Moscow.

Narkomfin Building

25 Novinsky Boulevard, Bldg.1  

Another long-awaited project finished this summer is the renovation of one of the most remarkable Constructivism landmarks, the Narkofmin Building. The communal facility created by architects Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinis in the 1930s was intended for workers of the USSR People’s Commissariat of Finance.

The renovation job, headed by Moisei Ginzburg’s grandson, Alexei, began in April 2017. The adjacent structures put up later than the original building were taken down. Architectrul plans called for the recreation of  the general layout and that the façade should be returned to its original colour. The building’s load-bearing walls were reinforced taking into account the creators’ original design concept and the façade now looks like it once did. Plumbing and wiring were redone and later plastered over inside the walls and ceilings. Damp proofing was also carried out and last but not least plants were chosen to make the place greener.

As originally intended, the Narkomfin Building will remain residential. However, some rooms will be rented out. Residents will now be able to sunbath on the roof thanks to a plan drawn up by Moisei Ginzburg. An exhibition on the history and renovation work of this Constructivism landmark will open in the building’s main hall. It’s expected that eventually there’ll be cafes, bookshops and event venues for children and adults.

Hotel Peking tower

5 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street

The décor and sculptures on the tower of the Hotel Peking recently underwent a cleanup job and have been patched up. After 60 years they badly needed attention. Restoration experts worked for four months on the four sculptures, 12 pinnacles, four decorative panels featuring Moscow landmarks, fences with balusters, metal latticework and the spire crowning the hotel tower to try and get the original appearance back again.

The cracks and chips of the sculptures were dealt with and covered with a waterproofer. The decorative panel required the same type of work. Considering the fact that the tower is located more than 60 metres above the ground, the job was considered particularly challenging.

The brick and the decorative plaster work were cleaned up. The drainage system was overhauled.

Hotel Peking was built in 1956 based on a design by Moscow’s Chief Architect Dmitry Chechulin, at the corner of Bolshaya Sadovaya Street and Gorky Street (now Tverskaya Street). The hotel was created to commemorate the friendship between the Soviet Union and China and some of its interior looks quite Chinese.

19th century mansion on Goncharnaya Street

9/3 Goncharnaya Street, Bldg. 1  

The main building of the 19th century estate and a cultural heritage site in the Tagansky District was also subject to a large-scale renovation job that finished during the spring.

The renovation job took almost two years. The façade was stripped and replastered and the crumbling brick walls required to be repointed. The roof of the building as well as windows and doors needed a lot of attention. Subsequently, after the extensive work was done everything was weatherproofed.

In the course of the renovation process, experts were particularly focusing on the fragile moulding on the façade such as window casing, cornices and graphic rustification. It was equally important to improve the moulding features of the interior. Specialists restored the columns, plafonds, ceiling roses and festoons. The brick vaults in the basement regained their original appearance. The 19th century staircases were also done up as well, including the grand staircases with ornate metal balustrades and wooden handrails.

Gravestones in necropolis of Donskoi Monastery

1–3 Donskaya Square

In February, Moscow restoration workers finished their job on seven historical gravestones in the necropolis of the Donskoi Monastery that had fallen into decay over the centuries. They were not only extremely dirty but many had cracked bases. Much attention was given to the cleaning process and dealing with the cracks plus the restoration of reinforcing the headstones and bases. Mastic solution was applied with pinpoint precision to the places that needed to be patched up. All the monuments have been disinfected and weatherproofed

The Donskoi Necropolis monuments date back to the 19th and 20th century and they were put on the graves of the Moscow nobility and merchants. The majority of the gravestones still contain the inscriptions about the people they were dedicated to.

One of the monuments that was done up is an unnamed late 19th century limestone chapel with sandstone foundations. Another, also shaped like a chapel, was dedicated to Ivan Oshchepkov who was born in 1825 and died in 1899.

Another chapel-shaped tombstone still has its cross and is positioned over the grave of Ivan Kolchin (died in 1903) from a family of honorary Moscow residents. The chapel built of polished norite stands on a red granite slab.

The least ancient tombstone, a labradorite stela and slab, dates back to the 1960s and is the resting place of the Leningrad historian and first-rank naval captain Nikolai Krovyakov. He wrote several books on the history of the Navy and was an avid book collector.

The restoration team continues to do up  the unique gravestones in the necropolis. They plan to repair a cenotaph for 18th century poet Vasily Maikov as well as decorative tombstones for the noble family of Baskakov and noblewoman Yelizaveta Baryshnikova.

Statue of Georgy Zhukov

Manezhnaya Square

Е. Самарин.

The Statue of Georgy Zhukov was renovated ahead of the 75th anniversary of Victory Day.  The equestrian statue designed by sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov was placed on Manezhnaya Square in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

The monument had to be removed from the pedestal so that the renovation job could be carried out. The bronze sculpture was repaired and cleaned while maintaining the original relief work of the statue. Monumental sculpture experts and descendants of the monument’s creator were involved in the renovation job.

The pedestal, where the bottom slab had slightly shifted, had also to be reinforced. The restorers cleaned the surface and patched up several sections of the granite with mastic solution. Other tasks included preserving patinas of the decorative features on the pedestal. The flower beds were replanted around the monument as well.

When  the job on the statue was completed it was returned to its usual place and put on the pedestal and the construction joints were sealed.

Mezzanine house on Yelokhovsky Proyezd

5 Yelokhovsky Proyezd

Earlier this year, an extensive renovation job on the mezzanine house with its stone foundations, located at the intersection of Yelokhovsky Proyezd and Nizhnyaya Krasnoselskaya Street, came to an end. This classical example of an early 19th century residential building in Moscow miraculously survived the famous 1812 fire.

It took over three and a half years to carry out the enormous amount of work that needed to be done, from restoring the wood planking of the mezzanine facade and walls to recreating the historical interior of the building. The structure had to be reinforced and the ceilings and roof of the mansion needed a lot of attention while wooden and metal surfaces were weatherproofed.

Thanks to archival descriptions and preserved décor features, the restoration workers managed to restore the white-stone cladding in the basement and the belt course dividing the façade in two parts. There are now new metal canopies over the entrances which are exact replicas of the lost original ones. The historical look of the window openings with wooden frames, dormer windows and chimneys have been restored.  

The inside of the mansion also underwent a major makeover. The restoration experts removed partitions that had been put up much later than the original structure and discovered that the basement, accessed via a separate entrance, was a housekeeping area. The floor above the basement was used as the ground floor. A wooden staircase led to the private rooms in the mezzanine. An early 19th century interior was recreated in the rooms. The furnaces that had heated the mansion in the past were repaired. The ceramic tiles on some of the furnaces were also renewed. The plaster décor on the ceilings, ceiling roses and the rest of the moulding were done up too.


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