The story of a building: how Gusev's manor house at Bolshaya Polyanka street was changing

August 25

Initially, Bolshaya Polyanka street was named Kosmodamianskaya street — after the Church of Cosmas and Damian located in the Kadashevskaya sloboda (settlement). The street was sparsely populated, there were vast fields (polya) around and therefore the name Polyanka stuck to it since the 18th century.

Once artisans lived there — coopers and weavers. Under tsar Peter I, a mint and large food market were located on the territory of what is now Bolshaya Polyanka street. The beginning of intensive residential construction in this area dates back to the first quarter of the 18th century. Until then rare large stone buildings were erected here — only churches.

Officials, clergymen and wealthy merchants were settling at the street in the 19th century to build manor houses with lush gardens. This is the time when Polyanka street became Bolshaya (Large) Polyanka street. Court councilor Mark Gusev bought a plot here in 1822 and built a stone house with two wooden buildings along the borders of the property. Gusev opened a tea shop in the manor house, made a wine cellar and arranged the alcohol production.

In 1857 he sold the manor house to Moscow first guild merchant Alexei Zaitsev, who significantly reconstructed the site soon thereafter. He built a two-story utility building with decorated facade: frame linings, interfloor and under-roof cornices, side pilasters. A gate was made at the entrance to the courtyard from Bolshaya Polyanka street, with a wide passage and two arched passages fitted in slender symmetrical porticos, completed with triangular frontons.

The owner of the manor house changed again in 1880 — famous pharmacist Karl Ferrein bought it. A stone gatehouse and a barn joined the side wing and apartments were arranged in the side wing itself. In addition, a laboratory, pharmacy, warehouse of pharmaceutical materials and glassware were installed here. And a coach house was made in the barn at the south side of the wing.

After the 1917 revolution the building housed various institutions. Numerous cosmetic repairs only worsened its appearance and interior decoration. The plaster hid the decorative elements of the facade, the pharmacy showcases were replaced by ordinary windows, the front door was closed. The service buildings were demolished, the fence with the pylon was dismantled, as was the extension that once housed a janitorial room. As a result, the architectural integrity of the manor house disappeared.

Restoration of the old manor house

The manor house restoration started in 2016 under the program of the Moscow Government "1 ruble per 1 square meter", . By that time, the side wing noticeably dilapidated and was in a state of neglect with urgent need of repair by specialists, who were faced with the task of both restoring the side wing to preserve its original appearance and adapting it for modern use.

The plaster was removed from the walls, the weakened masonry was repaired. Cracks and other defects on the facades were also eliminated. The walls plinths were reinforced with the complex solution injections.

“We managed to open the historic door in the center of the main facade. Wide showcase windows are reinstalled on the sides of the entrance, based on the probing. We made narrow window openings in the form of air vents in the basement. This decision was made due to the impossibility of arranging wide pits on the pedestrian sidewalk. All decorative elements on the facades were restored: cornices, linings. Something was cleared, something was recreated according to the samples of preserved elements,” says the head of the restoration project, architect Tatyana Borisova.

Inside, a free layout was arranged with the historical cornices and stoves preserved, the basement vault was restored, and along the main facade line a brick fence and a gate pylon with a wicket was recreated.

The building color was chosen based on the detected paint fragments — blue facades, white details, and a red-brown roof.

In 2017, the city manor house of merchant M.N. Gusev became a laureate of the Moscow Government competition “Moscow restoration” in two nominations at once, such as “The best project of restoration/ adaptation” and “The best organization of repair and restoration work”.


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