Residential Complex "Exemplary Construction"

Nikolay Galkin/ТАSS
Once upon a time, this was the location of the Church of the Rzhev Mother of God, one of Moscow's oldest landmarks erected in 1540. The only thing that remains of the church is the ground floor, which is built into the building's basement, and the ancient underground passage, which used to lead from the church to the priest's house. But the house that was built in its place is also a unique architectural monument. In the 1920s, the architects, inspired by the ideas of Le Corbusier, attempted to re-think the very idea of residential quarters. This gave birth to the Constructivist commune houses. The "cell" apartments were meant only as a bedroom, while the rest of the necessary spaces (originally, even the shower stalls) were communal. It was believed that the house's tenants would live in complete agreement, meeting together at terraced living rooms. The idea proved true, but that was primarily because the first residential commune was made up of the team of architects headed by Moisei Ginzburg. The house was built by Alexander Pasternak, brother of writer Boris Pasternak, and the architect later lived here as well. Later, two more floors were added to the house, while the rooftop terraces were demolished, but even today the two-storey cell apartments remain a desirable rental address for Moscow's intellectual elite.