Restoration of famous sculpture of sailor at VDNKh

July 2
Parks and pedestrian areas

Part of the sculpture of the sailor that helped to decorate the facade of Pavilion No.15 "Radioelectronics and Communications" (formerly "Volga Region") at VDNKh for more than 60 years ago was unearthed. The historic building is in the process of being restored. In the course of the job builders discovered the sailor’s head. He’s 50 centimetres tall and 40 centimetres wide and he’s made out of concrete and some steel.

“Experts have already authenticated him. This discovery is really quite a stroke of luck: pavilion decorations dating back to the 1950s are few and far between. Now the sailor’s head will be used to restore the entire sculpture,” said head of Moscow’s  Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov. 

He recalled that in the 1950s sculptural decorations were designed by such artists as Vladimir Derunov, Apollinary Stempkovsky and Yury Pommer.

Throughout its life the building was reconstructed and its designation was changed on many occasions.

“In the course of our repair and restoration work we are trying to keep as close as possible to the appearance the building had in1954. It is a large-scale and labour-consuming project. The sailor’s head was found when construction debris was taken away from the corner steps of the building. We brought it to experts at once. The foundations are being underpinned with piles of material in a continuous manner. More than 130 experts are employed in this project. The rich sculptural decorations of the façade are being restored in a workshop,” said Tatiana Polyakova, Deputy Director of UKRiS structural repair company under Moscow’s Department for Major Housing Repairs.

The first building of the Volga Region pavilion designed by architect Sergei Znamensky was constructed in 1939. It looked like a symbolic steel bridge over the rapidly flowing waters of the Volga. During the Great Patriotic War the building was damaged and was then neglected. In 1949 it was decided to build a new pavilion designed by architects Evgeny Yakovlev and Iosif Shoshensky: the outlay and the design of the facade remained the same, but the decorations were remodeled. The pavilion took on a Stalin Empire look. Reliefs depicting the defence of Volgograd at different times (when it was Tsaritsyn during the Civil War and when it was Stalingrad during the Great Patriotic War), the Volga banks development, peaceful  labour of the liberator-people, sculptures and porticos adorned the facade of the imposing building.

Statues of the defenders of the Motherland, a sailor and a soldier, were erected on the roof. The “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” with the emblem of the Russian Federation were put over the entrance which also had a stained-glass map of the Volga Region depicting the Volga-Don Canal and Saratov-Moscow gas pipeline. Water was flowing from under the stained-glass panels picturing the Stalingrad and Kuibyshev hydro-electric power stations on the walls of the pavilion’s side wings thus creating the impression of the water stream rotating the generators’ shafts. The building had eight exhibition halls: the introductory hall, the halls of the Mordovian and Chuvash Autonomous Soviet Socialist republics, Stalingrad, Saratov, Kuibyshev, Ulyanovsk and Astrakhan regions), a staircase and three small storage rooms.

The building was completed in 1952, but the finishing touches went on  until its opening in 1954. In 1959 it was rebuilt using a design drawn up by architect V. Golshtein, engineer Iosif Shoshensky and designer V. Shtabskaya. Later the pavilion was renamed "Radioelectronics and Communications." Then the excessive decorations were partially dismantled and replaced by aluminum plates in the style of Soviet modernism as part of the struggle against excessiveness. The porticos and sculptures as well as some bas-reliefs were removed completely and the design of the roof was changed. The pavilion looked like a wireless. A 57-metre mast with a colour television aerial was put on the roof.

The cladding that concealed from visitors the historic façade for over half a century was removed in 2014. Now the pavilion will get back its 1950s look. The repair and restoration work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Story of Povolzhye: Pavilion No. 15’s stucco moulding restoration

The overhaul of VDNKh started in the spring of 2014. The exhibition centre was once again given back its historic name and its grounds were improved. Over 325 hectares of its area accommodate 49 cultural heritage sites, including historic pavilions and fountains.

The repair and restoration of the pavilions and other facilities continues. The VDNKh plans include its development as a major cultural, educational and recreation complex.

The country’s main exhibition centre turned 80 last year. Over 33 million people visited the place during its anniversary year.

 

Source: mos.ru

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