Eclecticism: two-storey merchant buildings on Pyatnitskaya recognised as architecture landmarks

Eclecticism: two-storey merchant buildings on Pyatnitskaya recognised as architecture landmarks
The two merchant buildings with late 18th-19th century shops have fully retained their historical look.

The ensemble of two merchant buildings with shops, located at 2/38 Pyatnitskaya Street, buildings 1 and 2, has recently been recognised as a cultural landmark. This is a typical example of a late 18th-19th century merchant building in the Zamoskvorechye District. On the first floor, there were shops and workshops, while on the second floor, there were flats. In the early 20th century the Beloyartseva Cinema was on the first floor; it was one of Moscow’s first cinemas.

“Pyatnitskaya Street is a unique street; it is sort of a time machine,” said head of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov. “You can actually trace the city’s history. Most of the buildings located here are architectural landmarks from various times: 17th century buildings, 18th century mansions, 19th century estates. But the most important thing is that this street fits everyday Moscow life organically. Today, one now finds banks, cafés, shops and offices in these buildings. It is also important that the buildings fully retained their historical look: their facades were designed in the eclecticism style, and inside, there are molding fragments and 19th century glazed tile stoves.” 

The history of the two buildings on Pyatnitskaya Street started back in the 18th century. Originally, there was a state-owned pub, which burned down in the middle of the century. The city must have used the foundation to build two-storey stone buildings with 15 rooms and an inn in the early 19th century. Later, they were purchased by merchant Kuznetsov. 

This architectural ensemble acquired its current look in 1880. The two buildings were joined together with a section in the eclecticism style. The central part has a sculptural upper floor (the decorative wall above the cornice of the building), sculpted cornices, stucco moldings in the form of ornamented brackets and rusticated pilasters (overhead flat columns made from untreated stone). The rounded corner of the building at the intersection of Pyatnitskaya Street and Kadashevskaya Embankment was designed with a dormer window and molded medallions. This architectural ensemble is an essential part of the architectural look of the Pyatnitskaya Street.

According to Alexei Yemelyanov, these buildings have commemorative significance as well. Between 1917 and 1930, Igor Grabar (1871-1960), artist and founder of the Soviet museum and restoration studies, lived there. From 1913 to 1925, he was director of the Tretyakov Gallery; in 1926, his brother Vladimir Grabar (1865-1956), lawyer and professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University, moved in with him.

Cultural landmark status makes this ensemble subject to state protection. It cannot be demolished, the historical look must be retained, and any restoration work can only be carried out in agreement with the Cultural Heritage Department and under the supervision of its experts.

In the recent years, the Moscow Government has been actively working on preserving and restoring architectural landmarks. The list of regional cultural landmarks is constantly expanding. This year, architectural landmark status was granted to the Nikolayevka Station water tower, which was also an eclecticism design. Moreover, this list now also includes the 18th-19th century city estate on Moscow’s Starokirochny Pereulok. This consists of a two-storey building, a gatehouse and a stone fence with a gate. Three metro stations, Belorusskaya, Kiyevskaya and Komsomolskaya, were also included on the list of city architectural landmarks.

Last winter regional cultural heritage landmark status was granted to the Miussky Tram Depot at 20 Lesnaya Street. The list of protected facilities on these grounds includes five buildings (administrative and residential building, a large carriage shed, a workshop, a carriage shed with a boiler room and a storage room with a control post), plus the fence around the tram depot.