Melnikov House (Moscow)

Melnikov House (Moscow)

Krivoarbatskiy pereulok 10

Subway: Smolenskaya


Description of the Melnikov House

Melnikov House (Moscow)

The Melnikov house or the house-workshop of the architect Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov was designed and built by the famous architect for himself and his family in 1927 - 1929. This cozy single-family house has also become a workshop for the artist.


Melnikov house is a unique building, almost hidden by office buildings. It was designed by Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974), one of the largest constructivist architects in Russia, in 1927. It is built of brick covered with white plaster. The Melnikov house consists of two interlocking cylinders. They are dotted with rows of hexagonal Windows, creating a curious honeycomb effect. A spiral staircase rises through the space where the cylinders overlap, connecting the light, living spaces. Melnikov's house was built for his family, but it was also intended to be a prototype for the future development of similar projects. However, his career was overshadowed when Stalin encouraged architects to adopt a new monumental style. Although he won a Gold medal at the Paris world's fair in 1925, Melnikov's work was ridiculed or ignored. However, he remained in his home for the rest of his life, one of the few Central Moscow residents allowed to live in a private home. Melnikov's son, Viktor Melnikov, had a Studio in the house until his death in 2006.
Construction Of The Melnikov House
The dream of a separate house-workshop appeared in Konstantin Melnikov during his studies at the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. At first, he intended to buy a ready-made house and rebuild it, so he spent a long time looking for a suitable building in Moscow. The architect's plans for rebuilding one of Moscow's old stone houses in the neoclassical style, created in 1916-1917, have been preserved. The traditional approach to the layout and appearance of your own home in the first sketches of Melnikov is explained by the influence of the academician of architecture I. V. Zholtovsky, with whom Melnikov studied at the architectural Department of the school and under whose guidance he worked since 1917 in the Architectural and planning workshop of the Construction Department of the Moscow city Council — the first state architectural workshop of the Soviet era. However, by the early 1920s, K. S. Melnikov was intensively sketching projects for the construction of a house in an innovative style. In the personal archive of the architect there are still various designs your own home, but they all involve the device not just homes, but home and Studio, which he combines domestic and working environment. Melnikov was so attached to his family that he could not imagine anything other than a home atmosphere for creativity.

Unlike other buildings of Melnikov, the architect designed his own house-workshop taking into account only his own taste and ideas about housing and the working environment. In the process of sketching the house, Melnikov acted in two roles at once-the customer and the designer, and could afford the maximum freedom of form-making.

The first known project for the construction of a new house is a two — story, square-plan building, in the center of the first floor of which there was a large, angled Russian stove. In other sketches, the total volume of the house is a truncated pyramid, in a single internal space of which small mezzanine rooms embedded in the sloping walls are suspended. At the same time, both in the first and subsequent versions of the house project, Melnikov paid more attention to the interior and layout of the premises than to the external appearance of the house, trying on the space for himself and his family.

Experiments with a round plan appeared in Melnikov's drawings by 1922. The architect draws sketches of an oval and even egg-shaped building, continuing to work out the interior. The final version of the project, which provides for a combination of two cylinders embedded in each other, according to researchers of K. S. Melnikov's work, comes from an unrealized project of the Zuev club. In 1927, while participating in a competition to design this club, K. S. Melnikov creates, in his own words, "an organ of five cylinders", and then, when the construction of the building began to be carried out according to the project of Ilya Golosov, he decides to at least partially implement his ideas about a number of vertical cylinders inscribed in each other in his own house.

"There were two of us — applicants — and two objects," recalled Konstantin Melnikov, " and we decided to introduce a cylinder into Golosov's project,which still sounds lonely as a decorative solo. People did this, good people, but Architecture did not forgive them for the torn-up idea and returned to me in a brilliant duet of our house."

It is possible that the choice of curvilinear structures new home is also influenced by the fact that the family Melnykovych a long time (from 1919 to 1929, before moving to his own house in Krivoarbatskom lane) lived in a communal apartment, one room of which was represented in terms of a quarter circle and went five Windows on the street corner Petrovka and Strastnoy Boulevard. The apartment on Petrovka formed a type of family life, which was taken into account by the architect when designing the mansion,and the main part of the furniture was purchased, which became the basis of the interior of the house-workshop.