Historical facades of commanders Kamenskys’ estate on Smolensky Boulevard (building 19/2) is in the middle of renovation. One was built more than 100 years before the other. The front facade has survived since the latter half of the 18th century, when the house was built. The courtyard facade was attached to the main building in the late 19th century.
In 2016, during the facade repair, a unique white stone décor was revealed, finely carved stone long considered lost. The building’s owner stopped repair works and reported on the important discovery to the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department.
A year ago, the facades of the building were listed as a discovered cultural heritage site and taken under state protection. This January, professionals started recreating their historical appearance. During this time, the restorers removed plaster layers from the original masonry walls, revealed decorative elements on both facades, and started restoring lost parts of stones and decor.
"During the restoration, it was decided to open and preserve the white stone cornices of the Eastern (front) facade of the estate and part of the brickwork to make an exhibit. To do this, the facade section will be cleared, restored, and then covered with a special coating to protect it from the negative impact of the environment. The remaining areas will also be repaired, masonry, window openings and decor are to be recreated and all the surfaces plastered," said Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov.
He noted that these historical facades are distinguished by their different architectural styles. The front facade overlooking Smolensky Boulevard is decorated with classical elements, while the courtyard facade is a piece of historicism style.
The most distinctive feature of classical architecture was the application of ancient architecture elements. Its decoration is always symmetrical and austere. Historicism is an architectural trend popular in the 19th century. It combines elements of typical styles, such as Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, with some new decorative techniques.
During its more than 280-year history, the building has almost lost its original appearance. It has been reconstructed several times. Field Marshal and count Mikhail Kamensky was one of the first estate owners. Later, his younger son, General Nikolai Kamensky, inherited the building. Nikolai Leskov mentioned the count's eldest son, General Sergei Kamensky, in his 'Tonsorial Artist' story. The Field Marshal's descendant is famous for establishing the first public serf theatre in Orel.
Later the Kamenskys sold the estate. In 1827, new owners sold the building to an agrarian school. It was bought at the expense of the Moscow Governor General and philanthropist Dmitry Golitsyn. The school trained agronomists, cattle breeders, land surveyors and foresters. At the end of the 19th century, St. Cyril and Methodius Church designed by Sergei Fedotov was attached to the main building of the former estate.
According to Alexei Yemelyanov, the status of a discovered cultural heritage site means that any alteration in this landmark’s historical appearance or its demolition are prohibited and any restoration must be approved and supervised by the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department.
Restoration and preservation of architectural landmarks is one of priorities of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage. Over the past eight years, more than 1,200 architectural monuments have been restored in the city.
Recently, a residential house of the city estate of the 18th-19th centuries has been restored in Denezhny Pereulok. It is a piece of Moscow classicism style. Last December, the restoration of Durasov’s Mansion on Pokrovsky Boulevard built in the late 18th century by Matvei Kazakov was completed.
This year, the facades of the building in Lesnaya Street that houses the Underground Printing House of 1905-1906 Museum and the Pavel Shchapov's House built in 1867 have been restored. Besides, there are works underway in Vsevolozhsky's House in Khamovniki district, once visited by Pushkin, Gogol and Belinsky. It is expected that Moscow citizens will see the building restored in 2021.