Sergei Sobyanin: 773 architectural monuments restored in Moscow over six years

Sergei Sobyanin: 773 architectural monuments restored in Moscow over six years
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Denis Grishkin
Over half of all architectural monuments in Moscow were restored with investor funds.

Moscow is carrying out one of the world’s most ambitious programmes to give a new lease of life to cultural heritage sites, of which 773 have been restored over the past six years, said Sergei Sobyanin during his visit to the merchant Nikolai Baulin’s house, a recently restored architectural monument.

“This week, we’ve taken stock in the progress we’ve made in restoring Moscow’s heritage sites,” the Moscow Mayor said. “Of course, the results are impressive as we’ve managed to improve the condition of over 94 percent of the city’s monuments. Quite recently, we couldn’t even dream of reaching this figure, a result which brings Moscow up to the level of some of the world’s best-performing cities, like Rome and London. I believe that in the next few years we’ll leave them behind because work under the project never stops.”

In 2016, the city carried on with its programme to restore and bring back to life architectural monuments and other cultural heritage sites. Restoration work has been completed at 159 out of 724 sites under renovation.

“Of course, we are pleased about the fact that today this programme is largely funded by private investors,” Sobyanin said. “This has never been the case before. Usually some projects are funded by the federal agencies that own the monuments, while others by the city.”

Moscow has provided funds for the restoration of 42 landmarks; federal authorities have funded the restoration of 32 landmarks; and 85 landmarks have raised funding from private investors and sponsors. So 2016 was the first year when the percentage of monuments restored using private investment reached 53 percent.

“We are also very pleased that despite current economic difficulties, these projects remains a top priority for the city,” Sobyanin added. “We can see that in addition to renovating monuments one by one, work is also underway to restore entire historic streets.”  

The two-storey stone house of Nikolai Baulin, an architectural monument of regional importance, is a 1,487 square metre building located at 52 Nikoloyamskaya Street, Bldg. 1. The current look of the house now is the result of three additional stages of construction and renovation.

The western flank of the building is based on stone chambers with a basement dating back to the 18th century. In their northern part, the chambers have a vaulted ceiling and in the southern part a barrel arch ceiling.

After the fire of 1812, but not later than1817, a second storey was added to the house along with a new two-storey stone extension along Nikoloyamskaya Street.  

In 1885, the main building was consolidated with a two-storey stone residential outbuilding and a one-storey shed stretching along the eastern boundary of the estate. Also that same year, the building underwent extensive renovations led by the architect Nikolai Strukov. The new design included an extended façade with a small fashioned pediment in the middle.  

In the mid-19th century, the owner of the house was Ivan Bykov. In the 1860s, the property was taken over by Nikolai Baulin, whose father and uncle ran several shops on Taganskaya Square. In the second half of the 19th century, the Nikolai Baulin & Sons Partnership built a shawl-manufacturing factory to the right of the mansion.

In the early 20th century Vladimir Aizenshtein purchased the estate and the factory and used the property to launch the manufacturing of silk furniture fabric.

In Soviet times, it served as a residential building and afterwards it stood empty for over 10 years, gradually falling into disrepair.

By 2012, the building had been partly ruined, left as it was without a roof, part of the main façade wall, the cartouche, the attic and woodwork for door and window frames.  

Saving the monument

On 25 April 2012, Moscow announced its first tender under its reduced rental rate of one rouble per one square metre programme. The tender drew over 20 investors. The winning bidder was Irbis Company, which assumed the lease of the cultural heritage site, The House of Nikolai Baulin. During bidding, the rental rates grew by 4.5 times, increasing from 3.65 million to 16.4 million roubles a year.

The investor’s repairs and renovation lasted from February 2012 until December 2016, and included the installation of water supply, heating, sewage, fire-extinguishing and water collection systems, as well as the low-voltage circuits and electric lighting to adapt the building for modern use. Lavatories and utility services rooms are located away from the main rooms.

The interior of the building has also undergone extensive restoration. Using an old photograph of the building, the investor’s contractors managed to preserve the historic vaulted premises on the ground floor and the main staircase and its steps made of dolomite and cast-iron guardrail banisters. 

The house’s 19th-century layout has been preserved, including the longitudinal main wall and the partition walls dividing the rooms. The stoves, cornices and parquet were copied from those used in the 19th century. The premises on the top floor were renovated to match the engineering design of that time. 

In addition, the investor has renovated the building’s structural components and exterior, repaired the plastering and restored the ornate doorframes. The missing upper cornice was made using a pattern. The building’s façade was painted in a colour that meets the city’s approval.

All works were carried out in full compliance with the project documentation, including: woodwork for the inner part of doorjambs and window frames; the metal roofs above the entrances; the metal parapet framework on the backyard facing façade; and, wicket gates at the entrance.

The designer and chief architect of the restoration project is Tatiana Borisova. The developer is the Preobrazhenskoye Centre for Traditional Russian Culture, a regional non-governmental charity organisation. The general contractor is the StroiFavorit Company. 

The overall cost of the restoration work topped 300 million roubles. The leaseholder Irbis will pay the rent at a reduced rate of one rouble per one square metre throughout the remaining period of the lease. The company plans to use the restored landmark either as an office building or a hotel.  ‚Äč

The One Rouble Per One Square Metre Programme

The Moscow Government’s One Rouble Per One Square Metre Programme to restore architectural landmarks under threat of collapse has been implemented since 2012.

The programme’s key provisions are as follows:

— hold public tenders to lease architectural landmarks under the threat of collapse for a period of 49 years; the winning bidders sign a contract that commit them to restoring the monuments held on lease at their own expense;

— ensure oversight by the Department of Cultural Heritage of restoration and that renovation works under each project shall not last more than five years; 

— reduce the leased premises’ annual rental rate to one rouble per one square metre for the remaining period of the lease, but only after the tenant delivers on his commitment to restore the property.

In all, 19 architectural landmarks under threat of collapse have been leased under this programme. So far, eight of them have been restored, including the following properties: 

— a residential building dating from the second half of the 19th century located at 7 Pechatnikov Pereulok; restoration works completed in 2013;

— a main city mansion dating back to the 18th–19th centuries located at 23 Podsosensky Pereulok, Bldg. 3; architect Konstantin Busse; restoration works completed in 2013;

— the Grand Pomerantsevaya Greenhouse – a barrack of the 2nd Moskovskogo Kadetskogo Korpusa Street – a residential house for students of the Moscow Military and First Aid School, 1789–1792, located at 1/10 Gospitalnaya Square; renovation works completed in 2014;

— an administrative building, 1927, 1974, located at 11 Bolshoi Kozlovsky Pereulok, Bldg. 4; restoration works completed in 2015;

— an extension to the Khludov familys’ city mansion of 1861, located at 7 Malaya Polyanka Street, Bldg. 3; restoration works completed in 2016;

— the northern extension of the city mansion of the Lepyokhin family, second half of the 18th century–the late 19th century, located at 4 Andronyevskaya Square, Bldg. 2; restoration works completed in 2016;

— the house of Eduard von Berens, 1880, situated at 7 Gusyatnikov Pereulok, Bldg.1; works completed in 2017;

— the house of Nikolai Baulin, the 1820s, 1880s, located at 52 Nikoloyamskaya Street, Bldg.1; restoration works completed 2017.

Works are currently being carried out at another 11 landmarks, two of which are scheduled for completion in 2017, including a main city mansion owned by successive owners Vasily Kolesnikov, the Sargin family and Maria Shapatina, and an administrative building located at T. Eminsky’s estate. 

Dresden Hotel, the Zimin family’s mansion and some more

Overall, from 2011 through 2016, 773 cultural heritage sites have been restored in Moscow: 384 sites were funded by the city, while federal executive authorities allocated funds for the renovation of 153 landmarks, while private investors and sponsors have provided funding for an additional 236 landmarks.

The works carried out under these restoration projects have cut the number of the city’s monuments that are in poor condition by 81.1 per cent, from 1,325 in 2010 to 250 in 2016. The proportion of crumbling landmarks has dropped from 39 percent to six percent, respectively.

Some of the major landmarks that were restored in 2016 include the Dresden Hotel, the buildings of Kazansky and Kievsky railway stations, the Central House of Chess Players on Gogolevsky Boulevard, the building of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, the Commune’s House (the Stankin dormitory), the mansion house of the Zimin family, the mansion of an 18th-century estate in the Troitsky and Novomoskosvsky administrative areas, the engine-press house in Tryokhprudny Pereulok, which was run by A.A. Levenson Partnership, and the city mansion of the Khludov family on Malaya Polyanka Street (under the One Rouble Per One Square Metre reduced rental rate programme).

Honorary restoration workers of Moscow

Following his visit to the renovated house of Nikolai Baulin, the Moscow Mayor awarded badges bestowing the title of Honorary Restoration Worker of Moscow to three reputed specialists in this field, Natalya Kartashova, Nataliya Tankova and Galina Kolcheva.

“Of course, it’s very important to organise this work and secure funding for it, however, it’s even more important that these projects are carried out by the skillful hands of restorers who put their heart and souls into them, motivated only by the desire to preserve our city’s unique monuments for today’s and future generations,” Sobyanin said.

Natalya Kartashova, the chief project architect at Arkhitekturnoye Naslediye, has been in the profession for over 44 years, during which she has developed over 50 projects to restore historic and cultural monuments.

Natalya Tankova, the head of the restoration technology division at the Spetsproyektrestavratsiya Institute for Restoring Historic and Cultural Monuments, has 50 years in the profession. Her designs were used to restore over 60 major city mansions included on Moscow’s cultural heritage list.

Galina Kolcheva is a team leader with the engineering and design division at the Spetsproyektrestavratsiya Institute for Restoring Historic and Cultural Monuments, with a 56-year employment record as a restorer. She has developed and led projects to restore over 30 historic and cultural monuments.  

The title Honorary Restoration Worker of Moscow was established in 2013. So far, 15 people have been awarded this title.

By tradition, the award ceremony is held in March to coincide with the date when restoring and reconstructing architectural heritage was established as a profession in Russia – 5 March 1994.