If you walk along Bolshaya Dmitrovka towards the Rossiya cinema, in the future you can see a small yellow-painted house with stucco molding behind the boulevard. An inexperienced passer-by glances over him in complete confidence that he has always stood here - so natural, everything looks "like Moscow". A lover of antiquity, knowing that a year ago there was a construction site here, will habitually be indignant - “again something was reconstructed in concrete, and even with changed proportions!”. Which one is right? And what is before us - a "typical" Moscow reconstruction of recent years or an architectural fantasy on its theme?
At this place, at the end of Strastnoy Boulevard, there was a one-story house, known for the fact that at the time when it belonged to A. V. Sukhovo-Kobylin, the playwright's common-law wife, Frenchwoman Louise Simon-Demanche, was killed here, whose blood was found in the courtyard in the carriage shed. The literary legend of the house provided him with some fame and status as a monument of history and culture. But in 1997, nine years ago, the house was demolished by its then owner, Mosrybkhoz JSC. After the demolition of the monument, it was planned to build a hotel on this site, which caused considerable indignation of the surrounding residents, who feared that the new hotel would disturb their night peace. Finally, when the Capital Group campaign became the owner of the site, they decided to build an expensive and "quiet" office building, and Nikolai Lyzlov was invited to design it.
So, the architects did not demolish the monument, but the commission for the protection of monuments obliged to restore the lost. In addition, construction in the city center itself imposes many restrictions, a new house should be "solid" enough, but not too noticeable … and so on. On the other hand, the customer needs space. Falling into a rigid framework, the architect becomes, so to speak, a virtuoso of creative solutions to pressing problems. Before us is just such a case: all the conditions were met “with a smile on their lips,” and the building so naturally blended into the motley society of neighbors that we would like to understand how it was possible.
First of all, there was no one-to-one restoration of the Sukhovo-Kobylin house - it is quite obvious that authenticity is the most important thing for a monument of history and culture, and if the real house is lost, then no exact copy of it can be replaced. Therefore, Lyzlov limits the restoration to generalized improvisation: according to the architect's figurative expression, this is a "quote of quotations" - the facades are assembled from measured and copied elements of other Moscow houses of the mid-19th century and "put on" a concrete volume protruding from the body of the main building, to which it entirely belongs. being connected to it by passages at the top and common garages (under the entire building there is a deep four-level garage). According to Nikolai Lyzlov, the house of Sukhovo-Kobylin does not even try to look old, but exists only as a literary reference to the lost monument. Following the increased scale of the street, it became a little more of a prototype - while inside there was not one, but as many as three floors. It is curious that the "real" house in Soviet times was also built on - from the side of the courtyard by the time of destruction it was already three stories high. At first, they wanted to place a restaurant in the house, for which the architect came up with a cozy mezzanine floor at the attic level, but it turned out that the entire building would be given over to offices, so now everything inside is strict and simple.
The main volume of the office building, according to Nikolai Lyzlov, is a neutral "backdrop", its task is to advantageously shade the house in the foreground and also to place the bulk of the premises, in total about 20,000 sq. M. meters. Its height is neatly inscribed in the scale of the neighboring “former tenement houses”, and the architect refused to stylize the forms of one of the “neighbors” (as was suggested during the negotiations): all the surrounding houses together represent a very motley set of styles, including F. O. Shekhtel, and ordinary buildings of the XIX century, and a little further, on Pushkin Square - the constructivist house "Izvestia".
In a motley company, the Lyzlov building looks exquisitely simple. The taut vertical volume, disdaining the force of gravity, hangs over the entrance as a geometric semblance of a petrified and then inverted fountain. The angular plasticity of the entrance is set off by the concrete plane of the "backdrop", ephemeral-thin because of the shallow drawing of ledges around the dotted lines, at the top - shorter, at the bottom - longer, window ribbons. The upper floor is a fully glazed terrace of the representative part of the offices, from which a magnificent panoramic view of the entire Moscow center opens.
It is amazing that the spacious office building, without quoting anything directly, blended into the historical buildings as if it had “always” stood there. The new house occupies its place in a cramped and colorful community with calm dignity, so that it is difficult to get rid of the metaphysical aftertaste - it seems that the house has materialized in an incomprehensible way, only because it was he who should have been in this place. This feeling of a perfect fusion of a completely new building with the environment, it must be admitted, rarely occurs even among buildings that copy and stylize historical styles.
It seems that Nikolai Lyzlov uses some unusual method of stylization - without humiliating himself to a specific quotation, the architect, like in a theater, “plays out” … the environment itself, using combinations familiar to the eyes of the capital's residents as “notes” of his own “melody” … Among the Lyzlov works, one can find another building that uses this passage - this is a house on Myasnitskaya, as if entirely composed of the ends of buildings from the century before last. The new house does not adapt to the "historical style", but imitates an absent history - there was a street, a house was squeezed in it by neighbors, then everything around was demolished, but it remained, and now shows everyone its previously hidden end walls.
Returning to Strastnoy, what could really be more characteristic of Moscow than the neighborhood of a small house from around the 19th century and glass-concrete verticals behind it? The gaze of a hiker as usual slides over the vaguely familiar forms of the “backdrop”, not suspecting that the situation has been staged from beginning to end, and the observer himself becomes a participant in the pantomime on the theme “Moscow and Muscovites”.