Much ADO about nothing

The issue of preserving the historic appearance of Moscow is very concerned about the residents of the city. The main evidence of this are the endless protests against the demolition of buildings, which, in the opinion of citizens, are monuments of architecture. But is it always worth it and it takes to struggle for moral effort?

DK im.Serafimovich. Photo: Natalia Melikova

Last summer, Muscovites showed active civil position, in defending the House of culture named after Gorki, demolition of which began in June. The initiative group of protest it was stated that DK is nothing more than a monument of constructivism, avant-garde directions in Soviet art, which originated in the 20-30-ies of the last century.

Of course, to determine whether the building is a monument or not, needs professional experts. What they actually did, starting in June on the basis of submitted by the activists of the application, the Department of cultural heritage comprehensively studied the object on the subject of historical and architectural value. And here on Tuesday was published the verdict of the experts: DK im. Serafimovicha no monument of constructivism, nor any other object of cultural heritage is not. According to Professor and doctor of art history A. L. Batalov, “there is No obvious and documented data nor historical, architectural, nor the memorial of values DK im. Serafimovicha, which would allow to attribute this building to the cultural heritage”. Certified by the Ministry of culture expert E. E. Solov’eva adds that “the building lacks the stylistic features of industrial architecture of the late XIX century and the architectural characteristics of constructivism”.

So what sparked the hype? We decided to investigate the situation, and to begin to see DK look normal person, do not focus on the stylistic details, and to try to discern in it the features of constructivism.

As samples for comparison, we can recall the buildings that are universally recognized as masterpieces of this trend: the House of culture. Zueva, DK im. Rusakov, Gosplan garage on Aviamotornaya street, the Club of the factory “Rubber”, the Club of printing house “Red proletarian”. Even the layman is easy to see that these objects have a clear, conspicuous features. This powerful geometric shapes and unexpected volume giant cube, the cylinder, the fusion of several pieces together. Another common – uncommon the use of glass: in one case – solid large glass area in the other – infinitely long rows of ribbon Windows.

DK im. Zueva

After that architectural literacy look at DK im. Serafimovicha – and, unfortunately, will not see in it anything like this: no prominent forms nor remarkable glazing. And how to explain the strange fact that any mention of DK im. Serafimovicha as the sample of constructivism to June this year, that is, in fact, before its demolition, could not find? Even in open of Wikipedia, where the article “List of buildings in the style of constructivism (Moscow)” lists more than 150 objects, including about 20 houses of culture, DK im. Seraphim – a word. Moreover, it is not in the “red book” Arhnadzor, known in the movement for preserving historical buildings, but this “map of alarm locations Moscow” collected everything of value, according to gradozaschitnikov, the objects under threat of demolition or natural erosion.

Incidentally, such “alarm addresses” in Moscow is really a lot – dozens of objects of historical value which does not cause doubts even at the last Amateur, over time collapse and fall into the risk zone. But for some reason not everyone of them are going to meetings with MPs and the television cameras. And here at DK im. Serafimovicha they passed the summer passed with surprising regularity.

The problem is that the movement for the preservation of historic buildings of Moscow are sometimes in a hurry to declare the monument almost any building older than 50 years. And confused the public is not always easy to understand what is to hold a meeting, and only in vain will distract energy and attention from saving the really good historical sites. I have a question: in the case of DK im. Serafimovicha the people themselves thought so or intentionally obstructing?

One gets the impression that the purpose of the protests, which took place on the initiative of activists from the local residents, can be not only protection from demolition of the House of culture named after Gorki, but rather an unwillingness to someone else lived in “their” territory if DK will build a new house. Better dilapidated “monument” than the new neighbors?

By the way, about the “dilapidated”. Revealed: the condition of the building is such that before the demolition, it could pose a threat to local residents and any unsuspecting bystanders. In the editorial office turned out to be a scientific-technical report on the results of the survey of building structures of the culture house before demolition in the spring of 2017. It reads in part: “the Technical condition of the foundations of the building, given the significant and critical defects and damage, and also taking into account the significant reduction in the strength of materials and widespread spalling of the cement-lime mortar rubble with the loss of connection between a stone, is estimated as emergency. In this category, the technical condition is present the danger of sudden destruction of structures. The performance of the building in its current form is not acceptable”. I can only imagine what could happen, start building to collapse near the busy Middle Tishinsky pereulok in Central Moscow.

But even if you do not think about it, the attempt to look from the outside at the situation with DC begs the question, was it worth the subject of such a fierce struggle, the efforts spent on it. Especially if you think that the city breathe its last hundreds of really valuable historical objects, which require real help, both the authorities and ordinary Muscovites.

Lyudmila Fradkina

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