Panoramic visit of Moscow architecture

Moscow is an almost omnivorous organism in architectural terms: it is impossible to imagine a new building that does not fit in its entirety with time, if such a word is, in principle, appropriate in this case. However, it does not follow that in Moscow’s past there are no concrete architectural styles that have had a great impact on the current city.

Baroque naryshkinsky

The first architectural style, organically connected precisely with Moscow and still partially forming, if not a visual image, a mental image of the city. The form of construction, which was established at the end of the 17th century in projects sponsored by the Naryshkins boyars, is not essentially baroque, but the imposition of some decorative techniques of Polish and Ukrainian baroque in the forms of traditional Russian architecture, but thanks to that, Peter’s baroque that soon emerged does not seem a completely strange element. in the history of domestic architecture. The main monuments of the Naryshkin baroque that have reached us are the bell tower of the Novodevichy convent, the Trinity church in Trinity-Lykovo and, first, the church of the intercession in FiliWith its perfectly preserved interior. Two of the most tragic losses of Moscow’s architecture can be attributed to this style: the great Assumption Church in Pokrovka and the Sukharev Tower, which had no analogues, at the intersection of the Garden Ring and the current Peace Avenue .

Moscow empire

“Old Moscow”, as we know it, this is the Moscow Empire of the 1810-30s. The Palladian integral ensemble of the late 18th century, the city of Matvey Kazakov’s “State and private buildings albums”, did not catch fire, of course, in 1812, but the general feeling of the old streets of Moscow is now precisely determined for the buildings after the fire and perestroika, the buildings of Domenico Gilardi and Osip Bove. The French Empire, in the style of the First Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte, is refracted in them through a slightly provincial prism of the tradition of northern Italy and purely local.

The most striking examples of this address are the old building of the Moscow State University in the work of Mokhovaya de Gilardi and the First Town Hospital works of Beauvais, but a pedestrian that walks in the quiet corners of Moscow of its cozy porticoes of order , relief sockets and friezes are found in almost every step.

Art Nouveau of Moscow

Part of the pan-European coup in decorative art: new motifs and new materials replaced the boring forms of eclecticism and academism. What does not deny the eclecticism of Moscow’s Art Nouveau itself: in its buildings there are forms of romanticism from the north, the Vienna Secession and the French Art Nouveau.

Like all the regional plots of this trend, Moscow Art Nouveau strived to create a “hezamtkunstververk”, a single work of architecture, design, sculpture and painting, and therefore it was affordable only for the richest clients: It is not without reason that it is often called “merchant.” The architects Lev Kekushev and Fedor Shekhtel brilliantly embodied the tastes of representatives of industrial dynasties, but the interiors of these mansions are often inaccessible to the general public, since the residences of foreign ambassadors are now in them . As consolation remains Gorki House Museum in the Ryabushinsky mansion built by Shekhtel and its Yaroslavsky station.


The brightest direction of Soviet architecture of the 1920s and early 1930s, which more fully expressed the ideals of the first post-revolutionary period in its buildings. The Vesnin brothers, Ilya Golosov, Konstantin Melnikov and their colleagues professed the principle of conformity of the architectural solution of the proposed function, common to European functionalism, but in their declared desire to expose the structural basis of the building (hence the term) they achieved an artistic expression that was rare for European modernism.

The fact that the impulse to the non-totally voluntary transformation of human life was characteristic of both modernism and the proletarian revolution also played a role. Despite the often very low quality materials with which constructivist buildings were built for economic reasons, many of them have survived to this day. Zuevsky Club in Lesnaya (Golosov), ZIL Culture Palace in the metro station ” Avtozavodskaya “(Vesniny) and Rusakov club in Stromynka (Melnikov). Recently, the most esoteric masterpiece of constructivism is available to visit: Melnikov’s private house on Krivoarbatsky Lane, but only five people are allowed per day.

Stalin Empire

The conventional name for the latest version of the eclecticism of the Stalin period, in which large-scale and magnificent socialist urbanism was combined with elements of classicism, baroque and art deco. Its distinctive features are the richness of decoration, the exaggeration of details such as cornices and arches, the mastery of form over function and a strong narrative principle, sustained in the spirit of socialist realism: here are all these bas-reliefs with athletes, weaver statues, sheaves and crowns. It is this style that determines the first impression (and generally the strongest) that modern Moscow causes in a visitor.

The style of the Stalin Empire is the ceremonial development of Tverskaya Street, the seven skyscrapers and the most popular Moscow metro stations for tourists. The last circumstance makes the masterpieces of this style the most accessible to visit. In the main building of the Moscow State University, attend a performance at the Army Theater or fool the janitors at the entrances of a skyscraper in Kotelnicheskaya.

Late Soviet Modernism

Although Khrushchev and Brezhnev’s reign is, in the first place, the time of the construction of thousands and thousands of standard panel buildings that filled the entire post-Soviet space, many non-serial buildings were also constructed. In Moscow, late Soviet modernism is represented by quite different structures ranging from the vitality of the 60s in the Central Pioneer Palace to the massive solemnity of the early 80s in the memorial complex on Poklonnaya Hill, but the most important monument Remarkable in the city of these years refers to the Soviet version “international style”. This is a series of residential and office skyscrapers of the New Arbat built by Mikhail Posokhin Sr., according to legend, designed to recreate in Moscow the silhouette of Havana that Khrushchev liked so much. The iconic interiors of that era can be seen going to a concert in the Kremlin Congress Center or an exhibition in the new building of the Tretyakov Gallery in Krymsky Val.

Luzhkov postmodernism

The last architectural direction, which seriously affects the appearance of modern Moscow. In the 1990s, the metropolis underwent an almost instantaneous historical transformation from the capital of the late socialist empire to the center of oligarchic capitalism, and the material component of this revolution was provided by the Moscow construction complex, which was personally administered by Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov personally (mayor of the city from 1992 to 2010). In the architectural sense, the basic principles of Luzhkov’s architecture became the priority of investors’ interests over all other considerations, the postmodern game as a protest against Soviet modernity, an environmental approach (that is, the idea of preserve some completely random features of old buildings in new projects) and the idea that there was a special “spirit of Moscow”, which, on closer inspection, generally turned out to be a whim of a sincerely loving turret of a small tyrant

The history of art has not yet identified true masterpieces among the buildings of this period (and, as always, they are likely to be found), so far only its strongest examples can be listed: Sergei Tkachev’s egg house in Mashkov Lane, designed by Mikhail Posokhin Jr., the Vishnevskaya Galina Opera Center in Ostozhenka and the new Voentorg Vladimir Kolos Nitsyn in Vozdvizhenka.

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