Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov (1890, Moscow – 1974, Moscow) – architect.
In 1914, Melnikov graduated from the Faculty of Painting of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, in 1917 – from the Faculty of Architecture of the same establishment.
Since 1920 – professor of Vkhutemas (Higher Art and Technical Studios).
In 1921-1924 he implemented a number of projects that brought him fame, including the pavilion Makhorka for All-Russian Agriculture Exhibition (1923), sarcophagus for Lenin’s Mausoleum, Novo-Sukharevskiy market. In these projects he used new methods – “shift” of forms, dynamics of diagonal and others.
In 1925, Melnikov designed Soviet pavilion for Paris Exhibition of Decorative Arts, which was highly appreciated by the European public. During his stay in Paris, he designed two complexes of garages.
In the second half of 1920s he actively participation in competitions and won several of them, which allowed him to design clubs, public establishments, blocks of flats, etc.
Since the beginning of 1930s – decline of architectural career because of political circumstances, he was accused of formalism like many other Soviet architects of 1920s. Fortunately, he continued his career in education.
Petr Mikhaylovich Eropkin (1689, Moscow – 1740, Saint-Petersburg) – architect.
Born to a family of noble but poor family. From 1716 to 1724 studied architecture in Italy.
Since 1725 participated in construction of Petergof. Since 1735 took part in previously suspended construction of Aleksandr Nevskiy Lavra. In the 30th years of the XVIII century made a number of houses for Russian noblemen.
Eropkin was the author of the first perspective plan of Saint-Petersburg.
In 1740, Russian empress Anna Ioanovna decided to organise wedding for her buffoons, and Eropken designed Ice House on Neva river in Saint-Petersburg, where the ceremony took place (see the picture up).
Eropkin was one of the first theorists of architecture in Russia and was considered one the most educated persons of his time. He translated several parts of A.Palladio’s famous book “About architecture” into Russian.
Was accused of conspiracy and executed.
In Moscow you can find Eropkinskiy lane, which was named after Petr Eropkin’s relative, Petr Dmitrievich Eropkin, Russian statesman.
Born to a family of workers, he widely supported Revolution of 1917. At the beginning of career worked as decorator at theatre and circus, painted portraits and landscapes, made sculptors.
After the Great Patriotic War he became senior architect of Moscow (1945 – 1949) and seriously influenced the look of the city. He supported construction of skyscrapers in Moscow (7 sisters), and was one of the authors of famous building on Kotelnicheskaya embankment (1948 – 1953).
Chechulin made several projects for Moscow’s Metro and VDNKh (Exhibition of achievements of National Economy). Among the most interesting projects:
Metro station Komsomolskaya – radial (1935)
Reconstruction of Chaykovskiy Concert Hall (1940)
Hotel “Rossiya” (1967 – 1970) (destroyed)
Building of government, “White House” (1970)
People’s architect of the USSR (1971)
Hero of socialistic labour (1976)
State award of the USSR (1941, 1949, 1953)
Author of a book “Life and architecture”.
Learn more about Dmitry Chechulin in the course of our Metro Tour.
Every fan of constructivism in the world recognises cylinder silhouette of the Melnikov’s house, one of the most famous buildings in Moscow. However, very few know how the house looks like inside. Despite peculiar facade, its interior is quite conventional, but the history of the house is still unique.
Architect Konstantin Melnikov moved in here together with his wife Anna, their son and daughter in 1929. His son lived here until his death in 2006. Since then, Konstantin’s descendants fought with the Moscow Museum of Architecture for control over the house, eventually the house was transformed into museum in 2013.
Melnikov was gained right to use a territory in the center of Moscow in 1927. By that time he had already executed several projects that brought him fame, including Soviet pavilion at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925 and sarcophagus for Lenin’s body. He had a lot of orders and was able to build the house using his own money.
The initial project comprised an edifice composed of two cylinders, which were same in size. But in the process of construction, the foundation of previous house was found, that is why the author had to make one cylinder taller than the other one. Melnikov chose the form of cylinder because it helped to use less material than for a standard regular construction.
The interesting fact is fact the author organised the territory basing on principles of Russian manor – the house is in the center of it, and not on the red line of the street, from the side of the street there are two gates and behind the building there is a yard (the funny thing is that since Peter the Great the administration of the city fought to make dwellers build their houses on the red line, and only in Soviet time the problem was solved).
The building has three floors with kitchen, dining room, bath room, wardrobe on the first floor, living room and bed room on the second floor and architect’s workshop on the third floor.
The first floor seems a little bit dark and its interior has acute contrast with the exterior. As you can see in the photo, the dining room’s furniture dates back to the beginning of the XXth century. The chair with letter “K” belonged to Konstantin Melnikov, embroidery was made by his wife Anna (her chair with letter A is opposite her husband’s)
Near the dining room there is a kitchen, in the photo you can see an interesting detail – a cooler that was made out of a window cut. In fact, the very structure of the building looks like grid, Melnikov didn’t cut the windows, he filled open spaces with remained material instead. Even today, some new “window” can theoretically be open. This cooler is a good example of the author’s non-convetional thinking, who not only created outstanding edifice, but elaborated smart menage – he organised heating system, etc.
On the second floor there is a specious living room with Melnikov’s desk, where he worked when his architectural career declined. In the beginning of the 1930s, a group of architects wanted to create new style, more adapt for young Soviet state than constructivism, which was considered too “formal”. In addition, according to one version, Melnikov had personal conflict with his former student Alabyan, who became apologist of a “new” style. The latter made a lot of efforts to prevent Melnikov from architectural job, and he had to work as professor almost till the end of his life.
The pink carpet on the floor was brought from Belgium and the colour of the walls was picked in order to match the carpet. The small window on the right was cut here because the architect found out that it would open on a church that he liked (today the church is not visible because new building were erected in front of it).
Next to the living room there is bedroom, which looks completely different in comparison to its original design. Initially, there was no furniture in the room except podium which served as bed (the children also slept here, their beds were separated by a curtain). The emptiness is explained by Melnikov theory of sleep – he thought that in order to sleep well it was necessary to rule out any element of distraction, for example, family members read in other rooms (children had special study rooms on the first floor), and that is why there was even no lighting. However, there are so many windows, which open on three sides, so it was difficult to fall asleep. Later, under Anna’s influence the bedroom took more traditional forms – she brought here the furniture that she had before marriage, and Konstantin slept in the living room.
The last floor is occupied entirely by Melnikov’s workshop, where his son Viktor, who was a painter, also worked.
The house was designed as experimental, meaning that it could become example for other architect’s workshops, but up to date there is no similar building in Moscow and in the whole world.
“I never could design anything that would be boring. And I considered uniteresting and boring everything that resembled me things that I’ve already seen”.