Building with knight’s statue on Bolshaya Polyanka Street receives regional cultural landmark status

Building with knight’s statue on Bolshaya Polyanka Street receives regional cultural landmark status
The early 20th century building combines Neo-Classicism and Romanesque architecture. Its main façade has retained unique sculptures and plasterwork, and the interior is adorned by frescos created by famous artist Ignaty Nivinsky.

The former rented house owned by the merchant Yakov Dement has recently received the status of a regional cultural landmark. The five-storey Neo-Classicism structure with two entrances was completed between the years 1910 and 1912 and also features elements of Romanesque architecture.

It was the engineer Valentin Dubovskoi who drew up the design for the place. The owner himself occupied two flats combined together with the main halls stretching through one entire floor above the pedestal of the building. All other properties were rented out.

The building’s lavishly decorated main façade boasts wreaths, medallions and lion masks. The pedestal, the drive-through arch and main entrances are faced with rough unpolished granite. The figures of two lionesses are standing on pedestals inside niches between the ground and first floors. Three protruding windows (semi-circular fanlights) decorate the structure between the first and fourth floors. The roof of the central protruding window initially featured two statues of knights in body armour. One of them was lost in the 1980s, and the second sculpture is still standing.

“This is a typical rental building of the early 20th century, combining two architectural styles. The layout and the composition of its façades are typical of Neo-Classicism, and its decorative elements embody Romanesque architecture. According to our sources, the building’s interior still has frescos created by the famous Russian painter and theatre artist Ignaty Nivinsky. Some of them are concealed by hanging ceilings; therefore the building’s interior has to be studied in greater detail,” Head of the City Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov said.

The courtyard and façades are less imposing but feature the same style as its main façade. The frames of the dormer windows, decorative dentils (serrated protrusions) and decorative attic walls rivet the eye.

Apart from frescos, the structure’s interior retained beautifully decorated main staircases with intricate metal and wooden banisters, as well as decorative niches, stuccowork jambs and casings of arched window openings and door jambs and casings shaped like semi-columns. Much of the molded plasterwork of the ceilings and walls in some rooms has been preserved. The ceiling of one hallway is faced with wooden flower-pattern panels made using the marquetry (inlaid wooden mosaic) technique.

In 1905, Mark Dement and Yakov Dement, co-owners of M. Dement & Son Co., bought the plot of land on Bolshaya Polyanka Street. Yakov Dement who studied leather-making in Germany later returned to Moscow and opened a tannery with his father, using the most advanced tanning and stitching technology. Yakov Dement eventually became a first-guild merchant and a major Russian factory owner. He embarked upon the construction of this building after his father passed away in 1910.

The building was partly altered and now accommodates office facilities.

The building’s cultural landmark status implies that, from now on, it will be protected by the state. The City Department of Cultural Heritage will have to grant permission and supervise all further restoration jobs. The building must not be taken down and it has always to retain the look it had once upon a time.

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Valentin Dubovskoi (1877-1931) was a Russian architect who gained a reputation for designing and completing various buildings which were intended to be let out. Most often, he worked in the Moderne and Retrospective styles. His best works, protected by the state, include Filatova’s House or Building with the Knights at 35 Arbat Street, Merchant Filatov’s rental building at 3/14 Ostozhenka Street, Epstein’s House at 36 Bolshoi Afanasyevsky Pereulok and the Stulov family’s rental building at 8 Maly Znamensky Pereulok, Bldg.1.   

Ignaty Nivinsky (1881-1933) was a famous Russian graphic artist, painter and architect; he is also known as an outstanding theatre designer. He graduated from the Stroganov Moscow Art School, now Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry, and lectured there later on. He became a professor in 1921. His students include Soviet Monumental Art painter Alexander Deineka. Nivinsky also worked as a stage designer at the Maly Theatre, as well as at the Vakhtangov and Hermitage theatres.      

The city is doing its very best to preserve and restore architectural landmarks all the time. The list of cultural landmarks continues to expand steadily, with over 700 facilities receiving this status in the past seven years alone. This includes over 370 newly-found cultural landmarks and about 330 federal and regional cultural landmarks.

The rotunda-shaped 18th century Church of the Trinity in Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas recently received the status of a regional cultural landmark. Resembling an ancient pre-Christian place of worship, the church is now being surveyed so that it can subsequently be done up. The rental building of Merchant Natalia Bykova near Chistoprudny Boulevard also has received architectural landmark status. Its Moderne entrance looks exactly like it did over 100 years ago, featuring dark-green and crimson-red majolica patterns with inlaid landscapes.