The Modern Theatre to get back atlantes and swans after renovation

July 10

The Modern Theatre in Moscow awaits renovation. The Department of Cultural Heritage has approved a schedule for restoration. Designed by prominent architect Kapitoly Dulin, the building was built on the corner of Gavrikova Square (now Spartakovskaya Square) and Perevedenovsky Pereulok 109 years ago.

The building was originally occupied by a grain exchange. Soon after the 1917 Revolution, the building was taken over by the Communist Education House, later renamed Bauman Children’s Cultural Centre. Vladimir Lenin is known to have spoken at various meetings and rallies there in 1918–1920. Since the 1990s, the building has been home to The Modern Theatre.

“Experts will carry out a full restoration, including reinforcing the load-bearing structure, replacing the utility systems and the roof, and restoring the interiors and façade all based on archive documents,” said Deputy Mayor Natalya Sergunina.

One side of the three-story building featuring avant-corps and attics (decorative walls) looks on Spartakovskaya Square while the other side faces Perevedenovsky Pereulok. The distinctive features of the design include a spherical dome on the top of the building and a hall for formal events with two double-height walls and two tiers of windows. Carved wooden doors at the grand entrance add another remarkable detail.

Similar to the interior, the façade was designed with various details including ornamental friezes, bas-reliefs, rosettes, festoons, wreaths, pilasters on intermediate cornices, a belt of modillions and decorative corbels. The building was built in the Moscow Art Nouveau style. Time has taken its toll on both the façade and the interior, not to mention the structure. Now this monument of architecture is in need of a makeover.

“Some of the lost parts of the décor will be restored, including two atlantes compositions on the rooftop, and a balustrade. Capitals, or column caps, will be rebuilt on the front. The capitals featured swans carrying flower garlands in their beaks,” commented Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov

As for the interior, in addition to the mouldings, restoration artists will take care of the floors laid with encaustic tiles (small ceramic tiles of varying shapes and colours) and the terrazzo, a seamless mosaic floor covering. The wooden handrails on staircases and limestone steps will also be renovated.

Alexei Yemelyanov noted that the former grain exchange building is a cultural heritage site of federal importance. Experts recently created an inventory of all its valuable parts. The renovation will be monitored by the Department of Cultural Heritage and carried out strictly in accordance with the approved work schedule.

Kapitoly Dulin (4 March 1876 – 26 August 1933) is a Russian and Soviet architect and engineer.  He designed buildings in the Moscow Art Nouveau style and was one of the most extraordinary architects of this style. His projects were most commonly used for building commercial buildings and mansions. He also designed the pavilion of the Soviet Department of State Currency Production (Goznak) for the 1925 Paris Expo.

Renovation of historical buildings is an important aspect of improving the urban environment. Many cultural heritage sites get a new lease of life and can be used for modern purposes while preserving Moscow’s historical look. More than 1,400 cultural heritage sites in Moscow have undergone renovation since 2011.


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