Piece of late Art Nouveau: firebird building in the center of Moscow now an architectural monument

Piece of late Art Nouveau: firebird building in the center of Moscow now an architectural monument
It is one of the most distinctive creations of the renowned architect Ernst-Richard Niernsee. Its asymmetric facade is decorated with ceramic tiles manufactured at Savva Mamontov's factory.

Elena Kalinovskaya's revenue house with an asymmetrical facade and firebirds over the windows has been included in the register of cultural heritage sites of regional significance. This late Art Nouveau five-storey building designed by Ernst-Richard Niernsee was erected in 1911.

It is one of the most ingenious works of the famous architect. The facade's asymmetry is highlighted by hexagonal windows of various sizes and two gables of different shape and height, both decorated with floral-patterned maiolica panels. There are also decorative inserts and tiles on the facade walls, some of them made as lush exotic flowers. In addition, two windows on the 5th floor are decorated with ceramic surrounds featuring fairytale firebirds.

"Ceramic decoration elements manufactured at the Abramtsevo pottery factory owned by the famous philanthropist Savva Mamontov were created after drawings of great artists such as Mikhail Vrubel, Apollinary Vasnetsov, Aleksander Golovin and Vasily Polenov. It is particularly remarkable that the architectural and artistic facade design has entirely survived up to the present day. A year ago, the building was placed under state protection as a discovered architectural landmark. During this time, experts have collected all the materials and conducted historical and cultural research. As a result, this Niernsee's creation was recognized as a cultural heritage site of regional significance," Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov said.

The house has been residential for more than a century. In the Soviet period, stairwell windows in the central part of the building were screened off by a glass elevator shaft. In the late 1990s, the arch on the left side of the building serving as a passageway into the courtyard was bricked up. Today any alteration in this landmark’s historical appearance is prohibited and any restoration work must be approved and controlled by Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage.

Ernst Richard Niernsee is a Moscow architect, project designer of more than 30 revenue houses located in the heart of Moscow. His most famous work is the renowned 'Cloud Buster' (or 'Bachelors' House') built in Bolshoy Gnezdnikovsky Pereulok. It was the first residential building in Moscow to have more than eight floors. Today it houses the training theater of the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts.

The ‘birdhouse building' in Trekhprudny Pereulok was also designed by Niernsee. It owes its name to a room on the roof that looks like a birdhouse.

Stylish Moscow: The 2018 guide to the capital’s architectural landmarks

There is an ongoing program in place to preserve and restore Moscow’s architectural landmarks. The cultural heritage list is regularly updated. Over the past seven years alone, about 700 monuments have been added. They include over 370 newly discovered cultural heritage sites and about 330 cultural heritage landmarks of federal and regional significance.

So, for example, a building with a pharmacy in Malaya Bronnaya Street has recently been recognized as an architectural landmark. This six-storey neoclassical building was built in 1913. It had rented apartments, shops and workshops downstairs. Over a century ago, there was a pharmacy on the first floor. It is remarkable that the pharmacy has survived. The two-storey building of the Culture Centre of National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute” was also included in the register of cultural heritage of regional significance. It was constructed in the late 1940s in the style of Socialist Classicism. The building of the former Kindergarten No. 333 in Shchukino district, called a 'kindergarten with small elephants', has also been listed. Built in the 1930s for the children of employees of the People's Commissariat for Defense of the USSR, the building is unique in its design. It combines elements of two architectural styles — constructivism and Stalinist Art Deco. There is a leisure lagoon in the grounds of the kindergarten with four elephant sculptures.