Complex of Rossiya Insurance Company Buildings

Alexander Zelikov/TASS
This tenement building made up of two monumental parts was designed by architect Nikolai Proskurin and constructed in 1902. The eclectic complex with some Neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau elements was completely autonomous: it had its own power station, ventilation system with air humidifying, confined well, sewage, and heating. One of Moscow's first elevators was installed in the building, and there was a basement laundry connected with the residential quarters by special cargo elevator. One hundred and fifty apartments that were mostly inhabited by prominent scientists, lawyers, and doctors, were divided into working and living zones, and all of the flats had expensive parquet floors, fireplaces and stucco molding.

In Soviet times, the buildings housed the Main Artillery Administration of the Red Army, the Literature Department of the People's Commissariat of Education, and the editorial offices of the Gudok newspaper. In the 1920s, one of the paper's employees was the famous Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. The prominent French architect Le Corbusier, who suggested that the Soviet authorities demolish half of Moscow in order to raise hundreds of Constructivist buildings, considered this house one of the capital's most beautiful structures. The huge wrought iron gates are an important detail of the Rossiya building, and people sometimes call it the "house with gates."