House of Loris-Melikov

Aleksandr Zelikov/ТАSS
This building, best viewed from the Milyutinsky Pereulok (Milyutinsky Lane), is a delightful example of Moscow antiquity. At the end of the 1830s, Court Counsellor Ivan Loris-Melikov invited the prominent architect Mihail Bykovsky to reconstruct the 18th-century stone merchant chambers on the corner of Sretenvsky Bulvar (Sretenvsky Boulevard) and Milyutinsky Pereulok. Today the house is somewhat hidden behind a residential six-storey building, the legacy of the 1920s Constructivism, and architectural epochs on the boulevard seem to exist in layers.

Bykovsky had built a house in the style of Russian Neoclassicism, uncluttered in its decoration. The ground floor with its low square windows, finished with rock-face stones, creates a sense of solidity, while the high windows of the second, dressed-up, floor with their framed architraves create a sense of elegance. But the real beauty could be found inside: there were the caryatides above the entrance staircase, big halls decorated in different styles, lots of stucco work and columns made of artificial marble…

The capital reconstruction of 1928 destroyed the greater part of the trimmings. In late 1980s, the house was given to the managing board of the All-Russian Cultural Foundation, and was carefully restored, but after that the building fell into the state of neglect. Another attempt at restoration was made by its temporary tenants, the team of the FreeLabs creative estate. Despite its difficult history, a lot of things had been preserved in the house, and not just the interiors. The carved wooden frames of the second-floor windows, facing the Sretensky Bulvar, had survived through the centuries.