Palmettes and stucco mouldings: The facades of the historical building on Konyushkovskaya Street to be restored

Palmettes and stucco mouldings: The facades of the historical building on Konyushkovskaya Street to be restored
Vladimir Ferrein financed the construct of this building. Ferrein owned a pharmacy and a pharmaceutical laboratory in Moscow. The laboratory was used for agricultural bacteriological research.

Before the end of the year the facades of the former bacteriological and agronomical facility will be restored. The pavilion at the Botanical Garden of the Imperial Society for the Acclimatisation of Animals and Plants were constructed in 1892 for the Second Russian Botanical Acclimatisation Exhibition with money donated by Vladimir Ferrein (1834-1918), the owner of the famous pharmacy on Nikolskaya Street and the pharmaceutical laboratory.

Ferrein paid 20,000 roubles to build the pavilion. After the exhibition closed he gave the pavilion to the Society for the Acclimatisation of Animals and Plants, of which he was a member. The facility was used for research in agricultural bacteriology.

The pavilion is located near the Krasnopresnenskaya metro station. Today the building is used as a bank. At the end of the 19th century, the Nizhny Presnensky Pond was near the site, but later the pond was filled in. A botanical garden was laid out, but the garden has not survived either. The garden was part of a zoo and was built in 1857 at the initiative of the Acclimatisation Society (as of 1864, the Imperial Russian Society for the Acclimatisation of Animals and Plants). The zoo itself was built near Bolshoi Presnensky Pond at the current Moscow Zoo location.

“When it was first built at the end of the 19th century, the lab was a one-storey building. In the 1920s, a second floor was added during a remodel. It is worth mentioning that the work was then done at a very high level of quality. The appearance of the facade was slightly altered but the restorers took into account the proportions of the original building and elaborately designed the décor of the upper addition based on the original. Even after the addition the building remained an outstanding example of civilian eclecticism and the architecture of exhibition pavilions at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. Thus, the exterior design features Empire style elements – palmettes (moulded details in the shape of palm leaves, honeysuckle or acanthus leaves). They decorate the roof parapet. A stucco moulding, or a frieze with bas-reliefs on classical subjects, is a typical classic façade design. The entrance portal with columns is reminiscent of Classical Greek architecture,” said Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov.

The building was made of brick and the facades were covered with plaster and finished in a thin rustic layer (layering or lining of the walls). The latest major exterior renovation took place in the 1990s. Now the facades of the exhibition pavilion are in a bad condition. The plaster and paint are peeling off in patches, the wall surface is covered with cracks, and the palmettes on the roof parapet have started to crumble.

The former bacteriological and agronomical facility’s building is on the regional list of cultural heritage sites, which means that restoration work will be carried out under the supervision of experts from the Department of Cultural Heritage and based on a design approved by the department.

The plaster and painted layers of the facades will be restored. The decorative elements will be painted white and the walls pale grey. In addition, the restorers will recreate the palmettes based on archived plans. The final stage of restoration will include a special coating on the outside to protect it from the elements.

Over 1,000 architectural landmarks have been restored in Moscow over the last seven years, among them Levenson’s printing house, the Communal House by architect Ivan Nikolayev, the statues of Alexander Pushkin and Maxim Gorky and the Kievsky Railway Station.

This year marks the end of restoring the facades of another landmark of Constructivism – the locomotive house, or the house with smokestack on Novaya Basmannaya Street. A nine-storey tower resembles a smokestack on a locomotive. The tower appeared on the corner of the building in the mid-1930s and the building itself dates back to the second half of the 18th century.

In addition, the comprehensive restoration of the house where Vera Mukhina, a Soviet sculptor, lived and worked has been completed. The interiors and facades of the building were restored. The decor of the building features both classical elements and details typical of the Constructivist style.

The building hosting the Alexander Shilov Gallery has also been face-lifted. The brick mansion built in 1829 is recognised as a sample of Moscow Eclecticism.