"Stone Flower", Dutch House, Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul: the restorers the Moscow landmark buildings

January 8

Everybody now can see great changes in Moscow parks, manor houses, historical sites and different public spaces. For example, the fountains of VDNKh after restoration sparkled with bright colors.

In addition, the Dutch house on the territory of the museum-estate "Kuskovo" became prettier, and the restored facades of the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Novaya Basmannaya Street and its bell tower were restored to their original appearance. The specialists of Pyrite-99 company participated in the restoration of these sites to extend their life and restore their beauty.

This organization took part in works on more than 50 cultural heritage sites. Their craftsmen restore the landmark buildings original appearance to not only in Moscow, but throughout Russia. Over the past three years, they also restored sites in the Zabaykalsky Krai, Irkutsk, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma Regions, and the Republic of Buryatia. We present you the most interesting projects and unique technologies of the company.

Restoration of the original appearance of the VDNKh fountains

There are various restoration schools in the world. The founders of the restoration are considered to be Italians, for whom the priority is the sites preservation in order to maintain them in an unchanged state. The Russian restoration school approach is different — it tends to restore the original appearance of cultural heritage sites. Thus, through thorough scientific research, analysis and comparison, it is possible to recreate, for example, a lost fragment of a monumental painting in accordance with the author's intention.

The Pyrite-99 concept is maximum preservation of the original elements and the recreation of the lost details. Its specialists are engaged in the restoration of cultural heritage sites and their adaptation for modern use. The activities of the company allow extending the life of many historical architectural sites and preserving the cultural heritage for future generations.

For example, at VDNKh, the company's specialists restored the Stone Flower and Golden wheat head fountains and 14 fountains on the Central Alley based on the original sketches. The center of the Stone Flower fountain composition is a basin in the form of a flower, blossoming among gems. On granite pedestals, decorated with cast-iron volutes, are installed 16 bronze still-life compositions with gifts of nature of the USSR republics. In a large basin are installed small fountains in the form of cast-iron sturgeons and bronze geese.


In addition to geese, the lost cast-iron sculptures of sturgeons were also recreated basing on the surviving specimens. They put in order the surviving fish and decorative branches of a stone flower with gilding. Also, after the restoration, a flower garden appeared around the fountain, as it was in 1954.

14 fountains on the Central Alley were not left without attention either. Experts have recreated concrete basins and renewed the granite cladding, restored cast-iron decorative details, and restored the decorative look to the elements of the composition.

The delicate smalt art

The most interesting works, according to the specialists of Pyrite-99, are associated with the creative process that is necessary for the restoration. When creating the "Stone Flower" the architect Konstantin Topuridze was inspired by the tales of Pavel Bazhov from the collection "The Malachite Box". However, a lot of time has passed since the opening of the fountain in 1954, and the flower with gems faded. The Golden wheat head another big VDNKh fountain was also in poor state.

During the restoration of these two fountains, the main difficulty was the correct smalt recreation. To decorate the Stone Flower, experts used such types of smalt as colored marblite made of opaque dull glass, multi-colored smalt made of sheets of gold leaf of different shades, as well as silver smalt. The Golden wheat head fountain is lined with gold and dull smalt of different shades. Depending on the temperature and time of glass melting, even from the same components, the smalt colors and textures can be different.

During the restoration process, the true color and texture of the original smalt firstly must be determined. In this case, the masters faced a difficult task. Smalt was covered with a layer of sulphates and oxides, deposited for decades since the opening of the fountains. The sun's ultraviolet radiation also contributed to their deterioration. Some smalt lining was totally lost, for example, on crystals of the Stone Flower fountain.

“The smalt was cleared in different ways: from mechanical tools with the use of chemicals to laser cleaning. A huge amount of work was performed to determine the original colors of smalt and to develop technologies for obtaining smalt of the same color and texture. We can now see the result of this work at VDNKh: all six petals of the Stone Flower fountain have completely different composition and each of them is covered with more than 15 thousand pieces of smalt. After the restoration, even for us it was unusual to see the dazzling brilliance and play of colors, which fully corresponded to the author's intention. These unique works were carried out by a team of our restorers of various specialties using a variety of technologies, and I am proud that I was directly involved in this work,” stressed Alexander Urbansky.

On a clear sunny day, bright smalt pieces and almost a thousand water jets create an amazing play of light. The magic flower from the fairy tale about the mistress of the Copper Mountain really comes to life in the evening when the illumination is turned on.

Return of original appearance

It was not easy to return the former splendor to the facades of the unique temple of the early 18th century — the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Novaya Basmannaya Street. The specialists of Pyrite-99 had to work hard to restore the white-stone plinth, decorative elements of the bell tower, and the roof.

Peter I personally participated in the temple design influenced by impressions of tsar travel to the cities of Germany and Denmark in 1697–1698. The temple dome shape and style is very similar to German churches architecture.

The facades of the bell tower and the church were renovated in 2020.

“The facades with rich white-stone baroque decorative elements were restored, the deteriorated roof truss system was renovated, the copper roof and hidden copper elements of the white-stone facade decor were restored, and the crosses were plated with gold. I would especially like to note the technical complexity of the work on the bell tower during the restoration of the white-stone columns supporting the cornices. All columns had vertical cracks. This happened as a result of deep corrosion of the metal vertical forged rods inside them. In addition, corrosion of the metal brackets connecting two parallel white stone blocks led to the destruction of most of the blocks. In this regard, 48 columns were completely restored with the replacement of metal rods and brackets,” the general director of Pyrite-99 explains.

The archeological discovery was made during the restoration of the church of the Apostles Peter and Paul. On the front of the temple from the side of Novaya Basmannaya Street, experts found a white-stone portal with carved decor. It has been hidden under a thick layer of plaster for over 60 years. The craftsmen carried out a large and complex work on the restoration and reconstruction of the white-stone portal.

Photo by Yevgeny Samarin, Mos.ru

In addition, a fragmentary preserved painting, made in 1724, was found in the interiors of the temple.

“In the interiors of the temple, the wall glue and oil paintings deserve attention. Painting has five chronological layers. The cleared fragment of a Baroque painting of the first half or the middle of the 18th century is the rarest example of monumental painting of this time in Moscow,” says Alexander Urbansky.

As a result of long and painstaking work, the temple acquired the appearance that can be seen in photographs from the second half of the 19th — first half of the 20th century.

The Pyrite-99 restores landmark buildings since 1999. These are not only cultural heritage sites, but also industrial and residential buildings. Among the restored monuments in Moscow are the Epiphany Church, the Red Bell Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Novospassky Monastery buildings, the Gogol Museum building and others sites.

Source: mos.ru

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