Utopian lifestyle house: City to restore club canteen on Gogolevsky Boulevard

August 10

A unique Soviet-era landmark, namely, the club canteen at 8 Gogolevsky Boulevard, Bldg. 2 will be restored completely before the year is out. This building has the status of a regional cultural landmark and is part of an experimental public housing facility of the Exemplary Construction residential cooperative. The house-commune was built in 1929-1932 to a design by a team of architects, including M. O. Barshch, V. N. Vladimirov, I. F. Milinis, A. L. Pasternak, L. S. Slavina and engineer S. V. Orlovsky. The design embodied the ideals of a future socialist society. For example, the experimental building’s residents were not supposed to perform any exhausting domestic chores.

“The club canteen on Gogolevsky Boulevard, a very interesting Soviet-era landmark, was built as a public space for residents of the two adjacent buildings. According to archive data, the building housed a gym, a club, a laundry, a library and various hobby groups. The landmark’s original appearance will be restored. There are plans to complete the main works by late 2020,” noted Alexei Yemelyanov, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage.

Specialists will have to reinforce load-bearing structures, improve the façade elements, restore the historical doors and windows, and recreate the staircases, flat rooftops and terraces above the basement. Restorers will reopen the building’s historical entrances built-up during later periods, plaster walls and ceilings, and paint them. They will recreate ribbon-shaped window panes and cornices above the entrances.

Experts will focus on restoring the original colours of the façades: Initially, the club canteen featured grey walls.

Workers are now dismantling the relatively modern siding and upgrading the basement’s brickwork.

The house-commune of the Exemplary Construction residential cooperative had three sections. Its two residential buildings accommodated single and childless tenants. The two-storey third wing served as a common space and housed a club, a canteen and a gym, as well as an ice chamber, a laundry and technical services.

Initially, the building's façade overlooking the courtyard had double-colour window panes and a terrace, which did not survive to this day. The building’s entrance also faced the courtyard.

Residents were expected to spend their free time in the third building, rather than their small flats. They were supposed to relax, eat and do various chores there.  

The house-commune was linked with the Central House of Artists. Its employees organised concerts and other performances in the public space. Tenants also celebrated holidays at the canteen. That same building also had a library, a kindergarten, a ballet studio and various hobby groups. This lifestyle was supposed to eradicate petty bourgeois attitudes and promote a new Soviet culture. However, the experiment failed. The building got an overhaul after the war and accommodated various agencies.

The Department of Cultural Heritage aims to preserve and restore architectural landmarks. Many of them receive a new lease of life and are adapted to modern usage, while preserving the capital’s historical image. Since 2011, the city has restored over 1,400 cultural landmarks, including 203 throughout 2019. 

Source: mos.ru

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