“Openwork house” on Leningradka
This unique apartment building on Leningradsky Avenue is famous for its “openwork” – it is as if covered with intricate lace. Moreover, the scale of these decorations is impressive, because the building is six-story, majestic. And still it is one of the very first block houses in Moscow. Just a pity that after its construction in the city no longer made such interesting “block-laced” buildings.
Why the house was made “lace”
“Openwork house” U-shaped form appeared here in 1940 as part of the construction of a series of large-block buildings erected in those years in different parts of Moscow (for example, on Bolshaya Polyanka). The house was designed as part of the general plan for the reconstruction of the city, its main facade was to go out onto the square and look magnificent and spectacular. The project was entrusted to architects A. Burov and B. Blokhin.
There is an assumption that Andrei Burov, as a pupil of the famous Moscow architect Ivan Zholtovsky, when creating the project, took as a guide the work of his teacher – the Race Society House, located nearby, on Begovaya Street. By the way, next to the “Openwork house” adorn the statues of horses.
The style of the six-story “lace” house, the decorative elements of which send us to the modern era, is very well combined with the building of the famous “pre-revolutionary restaurant Yar”, which is also located nearby.
Architect Andrei Burov was a multifaceted man (he tried himself not only in the construction industry) and was very creative, so the building simply could not be standard.
Due to the fact that the block facades of the new building turned out to be very intricate (some were made under marble and look like pilasters, others close the loggias with decorative lattices in the form of plants and so on), the house was immediately dubbed by the people as “lace” or “lace”.
And for this six-story building stuck nickname “House-accordion”. After all, the decorative blocks of the front facade (the author of the sketches is the artist V.A. Favorsky), grouped in pairs, as well as the alternation of windows and loggias themselves make the building look like this musical instrument, which is usually also decorated with openwork lattices and the facades of this house often have beautiful stains. This similarity is especially noticeable when looking at a house from a distance.
The window openings are also interesting: they are closed by wrought twisted fences, which also will look decorative and original and somewhat resemble French balconies.
The idea of the interior layout of a multi-storey building, which was designed on the principle of apartments, was explored by the architect Burov during his business trip to the United States. Compact apartments with combined bathrooms, mini-kitchens and tiny hallways (as is well known, it was not customary to make them large in Soviet times) are located on the sides of a long wide corridor. There is only one entrance to the house, but on each floor there are as many as 18 apartments. And elevators – two.
From his trip to America, the architect learned the idea of the first floor: it was designed for uninhabited, placing inside shops, canteen and other similar organizations that were supposed to make life easier for Soviet citizens.
Difficult tenants and the appearance of modesty
From the first days the house began to be considered nomenclature. It was inhabited mainly by major officials, most of whom were high-ranking military officers. Representatives of the Soviet cultural elite also lived in it – for example, actress Serova and writer Simonov. And even if the apartments in the building were not so chic, after all, living here was more comfortable and prestigious than in modest typical high-rise buildings. In other words, although the builders observed the external “rules of decency” (they say, all apartments are “Soviet”, the same, no frills), at the same time it was immediately clear that housing is like everyone else, but not quite.