Moscow Metro renovates Novokuznetskaya station’s bas-reliefs

Moscow Metro renovates Novokuznetskaya station’s bas-reliefs
Test cleaning of mouldings is underway till late April. The restoration of the station is due to be completed in 2017–2018.

The Moscow Metro is about to renovate the plaster bas-reliefs of the Novokuznetskaya station. Specialists have already started cleaning off the ornately-shaped friso (frieze), which is dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. After due testing on a small part of it, which is six metres long, the restoration workers will carefully remove the old paint layer to preserve the moulding.

The cleaning will help test a new bas-relief restoration technology and discover the original colour used at the opening of the Novokuznetskaya station in 1943.

“The works are carried out at night to avoid congestion at the station,” said Olga Bronskikh, Head of the Cultural Heritage Department of the Moscow Metro Infrastructure Directorate. — “The test cleaning of the bas-relief surface is scheduled to be finished by the end of April.”

Following the testing’s completion, the bas-relief restoration technology will begin the official approval process. The frieze, which depicts battle episodes, runs above the columns all along the main hall of the station. The restoration of its historical look is scheduled to be completed in 2017–2018, as is the overall restoration of the station.

“The bas-relief foundation is due to be reinforced and fractures and minor damage will be repaired,” Olga Bronskikh added.

According to Alexei Yemelyanov, Head of Moscow’s Department of Cultural Heritage, the department has approved the project documentation for the restoration of the Novokuznetskaya metro station, including the bas-relief restoration.

“Currently, the Department of Cultural Heritage has granted permission for the restoration works, under which bas-relief cleaning will be initiated in order to assess the current state of the bas-relief and the amount of restoration works required. In its turn, the department will monitor the renovation progress so that it is in accordance with the project documentation,” he noted.

The restoration will be accomplished in two stages. First, it is planned to restore the architectural looks of the platform, which will involve  the cleaning of the ceiling vaults, the renovation and reinforcement of all decorative elements on the walls and pillars as well as the restoration of historical lamps and the floor.

The interior of what is known as one of the most beautiful metro stations is impressive. The ceiling is decorated with seven mosaic panels, the pillars and vaults are made of marble and even the benches are made of white Siberian marble. A plaster sculpture frieze on the vaults depicts Red Army soldiers — pilots, tankmen, infantrymen and others. Among the sculpture groups one can distinguish military insignia from the Great Patriotic War.

Moulding can also be seen in the tunnel above the escalators. Above the exit to the escalators one can view a shield, which reads “Glory to the Great Patriotic War heroes”.

The second stage will involve the cleaning and restoration of the historical looks of the entrance hall façade and its white-stone cladding. The decorative frieze with metal letters bearing the station name is to be given a facelift too. Also, historical (at the moment no longer existing) stained-glass windows and original doors will return to the entrance hall.

“The project of the Novokuznetskaya station restoration was sent to undergo a historical and cultural expert determination at the Department of Cultural Heritage and has since received all the relevant approvals,” the Moscow Metro representative said.

The restoration project was designed in 2016 by the winner of the Moscow Restoration Competition — 2016 award. This is the same organisation that designed the project for the historical restoration of the Kievskaya metro station on the Filyovskaya Line.