First of all, we must admit that the house fit into the perspective of the lane exactly as promised in the three-dimensional images - renders, that is, it stood like a glove. At ease and confident, just come and see. It accurately repeats the bend in the zigzag line of the alley: before the turn, the facade follows the line of the neighboring apartment building of the Gudovichi, which is closer to Tverskaya. A plastic protrusion grows at the corner point, a kind of semi-tower that "sculpts" the space of the street, "justifying" the volume of the constructivist house built in 1928 by A.V. Shchusev for the artists of the Moscow Art Theater - in order, to admit, a scary sample of the style of his era, and even painted at the whim of the current authorities in an uncharacteristic pink color. Curiously, both neighbors, right and left, are very typical examples of the style of their time. Recognizable, but not out of the ordinary. The Bavykin House is unusual for its own, that is, for our time, first of all by its sincere, and not imposed by standards, attention to the fabric of the urban space, which it seeks to carefully "patch up", but with all its medical pathos, however, it does not lose its own faces. This feature is not accidental, it can be observed in many of Alexei Bavykin's buildings, for example, there is something similar in the project of a building on Nizhnyaya Krasnoselskaya and even in a house on Kherson Street, which is located not in the center, but in the outskirts of the "sleeping" area. But it is especially pleasant to see such "sensitive" houses to the surroundings in the long-suffering center of Moscow, where every new construction is a sad story.
Here, too, has its own sad story. At this place there were several small houses of the estate of A.V. Andreev, best known for the fact that one of his daughters was the second wife of the poet Konstantin Balmont. The main house was put on guard in 1993, and after a few years it was demolished, then, until 2003, the rest of the buildings were slowly dismantled so that nothing remained. When the architect Alexei Bavykin came to this site, the houses were already practically ruined, and it was already impossible to save anything. The story is not an isolated one, about such plots on different Moscow councils they say: "Well, what to do now, even if the site went to a good architect …". It's hard to add anything to this.
And the house turned out to be interesting.
First of all, says the architect, this is the first residential apartment building in Moscow with an atrium - a courtyard covered with a glass roof. In principle, this is a full-fledged housing. According to Alexei Bavykin, the building resembles a version of a 19th century tenement house, in which the "courtyard-well" is covered with a roof. And also, especially when viewed from above, the interior space looks like the stairwells of the same apartment buildings, only there, around the free space in the center, the openwork railings twisted in a spiral, here there are balconies, there are no spirals, and the stairs that duplicate the elevators are purely utilitarian and therefore they are hidden in one of the corners of the building. The third association that the rows of continuous balconies around the spectacular "light well" of the atrium courtyard can evoke is the resort sanatorium curled up "inward." What is not so far from the truth: outside Moscow, inside - a separate club paradise, and even with a fountain in the center.
Of course, only a few will get inside after finishing the finishing. And for the townspeople, the most interesting thing in this house is the trees on the facade. "This is a warrant!" - objects the architect. Indeed, when the house was built, the trunks became more like columns.Especially if you look at them from the balcony of one of the apartments - it is especially noticeable there that the long rods, dressed in a stone fur coat, are cut by white interfloor cornices (or are they growing through them?).
And yet, if this is an order, then it is a very curious order. From whatever side you look, there is exactly as much from the tree trunk as from the column. And if you consider that the column and the tree are somewhat similar and it is very likely that in time immemorial one came from the other, then it becomes quite interesting.
If these are trees, then they are stylized in the spirit of German expressionism, drawn with chopped straight lines and subordinate to the plane of the wall-screen, a frank decoration set in front of the house and rigidly grasped by the white edges of the cornices. In general, with a certain amount of imagination, this poplar system can be understood and vice versa - like a concrete wall cut into high strips. The trunks, by the way, were cast from the monolith completely flat - a "fur coat" of expensive Iranian limestone put on over them gave them some visibility of volume. It is a beautiful stone, more like marble to the touch, with sinuous dark brown veins. It really looks like tree bark. The stone will be covered with a moisture-resistant compound several times, and it will darken a little more.
The image of a tree is very important here - it is strongest on the main facade, but in the courtyard, at the farthest extension, a few more pieces are planted. Further, "tree bark" covers the balconies, in a checkerboard pattern dotting the smooth and semicircular courtyard façade. Somewhere in the middle, a corner "grows" out of it - as if another building is hidden inside, and its pointed part looks out of the smooth "structure". In addition, sloping and long aluminum balconies “grow” from the corner, strung on another “tree trunk” - only here it is thin and quite obviously comes from the through pillars of the avant-garde architecture. At the entrance to the courtyard, on both sides, we meet abstract paintings on the theme of mutual penetration of a smooth surface, the role of which is played by white Chinese granite, and the same limestone "crust" - probably the most vivid depiction of the leymotif of an architectural composition - a combination of exquisitely refined and chilly avant-garde plastics with "woody" warmth.
"Trees" are very noticeable in the interior of the apartments overlooking the alley. They stand in front of the glass, you can look at them, they create the feeling of a forest, bringing an irrational accent to the atmosphere of a Moscow street. Which somewhat smoothes out the fact that on the contrary - the windows of the Stalinist "house of composers" by architect I.L. Marcuse.
Above, on the balcony of a two-tiered penthouse, under a metal canopy with windows, the "tree trunks" end in square metal containers - tubs for living trees, which will be installed there as soon as it gets warmer. The balcony offers a splendid, kind of Woland's view of Moscow and the Kremlin. Actually, the view from there is directed towards Ivan the Great along the route of one of the old lanes, preserved inside the quarter in the form of a pedestrian path crowded with cars from Bryusov to Nikitsky lane.
So, the columns are like trees, and the trees are like columns. If these are columns, then they are very long, six stories high and about twenty meters. They remind a little of the muffled columns of mannerism, the "fur coat" on which has grown together into one common rough "bark". They even more resemble the plant forms of Art Nouveau architecture, but without direct similarity - here they follow the spirit, not the letter, which, in fact, is interesting. The theme of Art Nouveau is supported by one very characteristic detail - the railing of all balconies of the inner atrium is also forged in the form of trees. “They took metal rods, knocked on them for a long time with a special hammer, until the desired shape was obtained,” says the chief architect of the project, Grigory Guryanov.
And if there are columns, then what is this order? Everyone knows that the columns are big and the trees are small.And vice versa. However, we are accustomed to the fact that a normal column has proportions comparable to a maximum of three, and preferably two floors. If it grows to, for example, five floors, as in the Zholtovsky house on Mokhovaya, then the capital of such a column becomes the size of a window, which is creepy. Hence, one of the main problems of the order applied to a multi-storey building - if it is divided into tiers, as was done in the 19th century, then it is small, and if stretched to the full height of the house, it is gigantic. Order is order, and if you want a column for the entire facade, then endure a small capital the size of a window.
Here lies the main difference between trees - they do not strictly obey the order, but grow as they want, to be large and small, thick and thin, and no one has the right to demand from him that he has a capital at all, and even more so - a capital certain proportions. Therefore, the tree can grow painlessly over the entire facade. But what kind of order is obtained then? Somewhat feral, returning to its pre-Greek origins. Such a wild order could have been made by Art Nouveau, with its love for natural forms, but for some reason did not. We know that the avant-garde was returning to the origins of art. Therefore, it may be that here we have the origins of the order - wild, woody, and very modern.