Von Reck Manor House: how the famous House with Lions is built, rebuilt and changed

May 28

Moscow continues the world's largest program of restoration and revival of landmark buildings and other cultural heritage sites. This year, more than 30 objects have already been restored, and for 10 years since the program start more than 1,500 have been restored. Today we will talk about the famous House with Lions on Pyatnitskaya Street, which received the Moscow Restoration Award in 2017.

Von Reck Manor House

Pyatnitskaya Street is one of the oldest streets in the capital. At the turn of the 14th-15th centuries, the road to the southern cities of Russia passed here, and this territory became part of Moscow at the end of the 16th century after the construction of Zemlyanoy Gorod fortifications.

In those years, Pyatnitskaya was simply called Bolshaya Street, and the current name it received in the 18th century - after the name of the stone Church of St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, that has not survived to this day.

Modern Pyatnitskaya Street literally breathes history - here, there is a Holy Trinity Church in Vishnyaki, the St. Clement Church, Peter Zamyatin’s chambers, the trading house of Ilya Galperin, the house of Leo Tolstoy (Tolstoy Center), the tenement building of Vladimir Tretyakov, the Korobkov mansion, the printing house of the Ivan Sytin Partnership, where Sergei Yesenin worked at one time, and, of course, the Von Reck minor house, also known as the House with Lions.

This mansion appeared in 1897, but the idea of building a stone manor house here appeared long before that. At the beginning of the XIX century, on the place of the current House with Lions, there was a wooden house, which like many others burned down in a fire of 1812. The plot was empty till 1836 when it was bought by the titular counselor wife Irina Markova, who owned the project for the manor house construction.

However, this plan was implemented only by the end of the 19th century, when the proprietorship was acquired by a certain Irina Galaktionovna, whose last name remained unknown. In 1896, the construction of a stone mansion began, which was completed a year later under another owner - the famous Moscow merchant Yakov Reck.

Reck was the head of the Nikolsky Ryad Partnership and the founder of the Moscow Trade and Construction Joint-Stock Company, one of the largest house-building firms in pre-revolutionary Russia. His goal was to build houses that would combine the technical amenities of Western European buildings and the color of Moscow architecture. The mansion on Pyatnitskaya Street was one of the first projects of the Reck’s company.

Designed by architect S. Sherwood. 1897

It is believed that the building plan obtained when buying the land was developed by the famous Moscow architect Sergey Sherwood. He shifted the emphasis of the composition from the extended street facade to the smaller side facade and added a rich decor: numerous classical elements, stucco, lion figures.

However, during the last restoration carried out in 2015-2017, it turned out that the building did not fully correspond to Sherwood's drawings, which means that other architects probably participated in the construction.

The asymmetrical and dynamic composition of the building anticipated the coming era of Art Nouveau. The main emphasis of the street facade is a quadrangular volume extended to the red line of the street, decorated with a hypertrophied neoclassical portico of the grand order. Columns with composite capitals support a massive entablature. The facades are richly decorated with stucco, caryatids and mascarons. The left cubic content of the building is a bay window imitating an octagonal Baroque tower, which is topped by a cupola with a scaly coating.

The interior decoration is equally luxurious: in two floors of the building there are grand enfilades, on the ground floor there are several halls - mirror, fireplace, Moorish and stained glass. The rich decoration indicates that the house was not intended for residence, but for representative functions. Actually, Reck did not intend to use the house, he sold it immediately after construction to a certain Peter Stakheev. The last owner of the mansion was the merchant Nikolai Sukhanov, who owned the house until 1917. In addition to the building itself, the site included a stone house for employees, an ice house, and a woodshed.

District committee and the House of Political Education

After the revolution, the House with Lions housed the Zamoskvoretsky District committee of the RCPb (the District committee of the Russian communist party of the Bolsheviks), whose secretary at one time was the famous revolutionary Rosalia Zemlyachka. During the Soviet years, many buildings on Pyatnitskaya Street were demolished, but the Von Reck mansion was preserved. Most likely, due to the fact that in 1918, Vladimir Lenin spoke here (as evidenced by the memorial plaque).

In 1933, the project of the political education house was developed, according to which the House with Lions would be built up to four floors and supplemented with a four-story extension on the south-west side, and the facades would be completely cleared from stucco and sculptural decoration. Fortunately, the project was only partially implemented and the mansion escaped reconstruction. However, during that period, the parquet, chandeliers and many other interior items disappeared.

In the late Soviet era, the building housed various institutions, and in the 1990s, the mansion was transferred to the Winter Olympic Sports Support Fund. Some rooms were rented out to private tenants, that, of course, affected the condition of the building.

Restoration and new life

 The restoration started in 2015 with the dismantling of modern partitions, the dismantling of door assemblies and floors. Under the modern parquet, they found panels of lost floors and wooden floors, which were reinforced during the work.

The historical ceramic tiles of the entrance space were almost lost, but a new one was ordered from its model ‘with aging’ and returned to its former place - on the floor of the vestibule of the entrance group and the landing of the staircase.

The walls inside the building and the architectural and stucco decoration of the ceilings were painted with water-based paint before the restoration: the planes -ochre or blue, the decor details - white. When experts began to remove the paint and removed up to 12 layers in some places, they found historical colors.

As a result, the original interior was restored to the mansion. In the hall of mirrors, the modern infill of niches with cheap gray marble was dismantled and mirrors were installed. Specialists carried out a huge work on the restoration of the stucco decoration of the ceilings: reinforcement and additional components were made.

In the English living room, traces of markings of once-existing panels were found, which had to be restored somehow. And the specialists were lucky - a small wooden profiled panel was found in the attic, which was used to create a project to restore the decoration.

The Moorish hall is almost completely preserved in its original form, only in a single place along the wall, the complex decor has significantly collapsed due to a pipe sticking out in the inside wall. It was dismantled, the brickwork was restored, and the architectural and stucco decor was recreated and painted. Moreover, the decor of the Moorish hall was painted not in bright colors, but very carefully, with the preservation of authentic color matching.

As for the facades, the spelter details of the completion of the dome were restored, and the vases crowning the main facade were installed on pedestals. Of course, the famous spelter lions, sleeping and watching, were restored. As it turned out after clearing the late paintwork, the two griffins that adorn the main facade are also made of spelter. The entrance roof overhang is not authentic and differs in style, but it was decided to leave it, as it is forged, handmade and decorated with a beautiful pattern of the turn of the 19th-20th centuries.

In 2017, the von Reck mansion became the winner of the Moscow Government competition Moscow Restoration in the categories For the Best Restoration Project/Adaptation and For Scientific and Methodological Guidance/Research Work.

Source: mos.ru

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