Norstein worked here: former dacha of the 19th — early 20th centuries to be restored

Norstein worked here: former dacha of the 19th — early 20th centuries to be restored
Two-storey mansion was built in the neoclassical style, but its interior decoration has Art Nouveau elements. In particular, the front marble staircase with forged metal fence was made in this style.

Former dacha (summer house) of merchants and manufacturers of the 19th — early 20th centuries on Leningradsky Prospekt is to be restored soon. Work is expected to start anytime now. It will be conducted in accordance with the project agreed with the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department and supervised by the Department's specialists.

The two-story mansion with a basement and an entresol located at 21 Leningradsky Prospekt was built in the early 19th century in the neoclassical style. The author of the project is unknown. The lower part of the building is made of brick, with the upper part made of wood. A stone-made fence marked the mansion's boundaries.

Although the building has changed many owners and has been rebuilt repeatedly over its two-hundred-year history, its front facade has retained its historical appearance. The central part has a pediment decorated with a wreath with ribbons, and six columns. Their capitals have flower garlands. The windows of the second floor on both sides are framed by semi-columns, topped with straight cornices with acanthus leaves. Also, there are round rosettes with garlands on the facade.

"In 1900, the architect Fyodor Schechtel worked on an extension to house a winter garden. He introduced insignificant changes to the house, too. The extension has not survived. However, dacha interiors still have some elements of decoration in the Art Nouveau style, created by Schechtel’s project. This is a grand marble staircase with a wrought-iron fence and plaster decor — cornices and garlands," said Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov.                                 

Country theatre, winter garden, hostel and Palace of Pioneers

In the mid-19th century, Moscow experienced a dacha boom. Public authorities started to allocate land plots 25 km away from Moscow for the construction of factories and plants, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as dachas. Country estates of rich merchants and industrialists mushroomed along Peterburzhskoye Highway (Leningradskoye Highway since 1924).

In 1880, merchant Andrei Postnikov with his wife Klavdiya became owners of a suburban allotment with a two-storey mansion and outbuildings. He established the Postnikov Metal Products Factory Partnership there. The factory produced church utensils and bronze sculptures for offices.

The site was divided into three parts. The first one housed the mansion. The second one was allocated for factory production with several buildings constructed. The third part had the garden laid out. Between 1892 and 1900, it was leased to Charles Aumont in summer. It housed a renowned country theatre of the 'enterprise king', and Amusement Park with gazebos, shooting range and open-air restaurants.

Later, the mansion was belonged to the manufacturers Konshin. They decided to make water heating in the house, renovate the interiors and attach a winter garden. The owners hired the famous Art Nouveau master Fyodor Schechtel.

In 1913, the cottage passed into the possession of the son of the oil industrialist Alexander Mantashev, Iosif. By his order, the basement acquired several new utility premises, and eight spacious rooms.

In Soviet times, the mansion housed an NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) hostel, a hostel of Zhukovsky Air Fleet Academy and the Palace of Pioneers. In the 1970s, cartoonist Yuri Norstein, author of the famous 'Hedgehog in the Fog', worked here.

In the 1970s and 1990s, there was a series of fires, which destroyed some elements of interior decoration, including items dating back to the 19th century.

"The building was overhauled in 1995. For 24 years, the building has dilapidated and now needs restoration. The roof of the mansion, the grand staircase and wooden window frames are to be restored. Also, plaster moulding of the building, parquet and floor ceramic tiles will be renovated," Alexei Yemelyanov added.

The facades will be restored, too. First, they will be cleaned of old paint and plaster, which has already peeled off in some places, fill the cracks on the walls with special binders. The surface of the walls will be levelled and primed, with two layers of yellow paint applied. The decorative elements will be painted white.

The stone-made fence around the former dacha will also be upgraded. Experts will reinforce the masonry, restore the metal swing entrance gates and recreate the lost plaster moulding on the fence posts.

Alexei Yemelyanov added that the building of the former dacha on Leningradsky Prospekt, as well as the fence around it, have been included in the list of cultural heritage sites of regional significance.

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Restoration and preservation of architectural monuments is one of priorities of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department.

The restoration of the Bath House in Neskuchny Garden is to start soon. It is a unique piece of an old park pavilion built in the late 18th century in the classical style.

The count Orlov's grotto is to be restored soon, too. It is also located in Neskuchny Garden. Experts will upgrade the masonry, and restore the historical appearance of the observation deck overlooking the Moskva River, Yekaterininsky Pond, and the count Orlov's summer house.

Over the past eight years, more than 1,200 heritage sites have been restored in Moscow.