A comprehensive overhaul along with the restoration and the reconstruction of the mansion at 10, Leontiev Lane was completed by the Main Administration for Service to the Diplomatic Corps (GlavUpDK). The eclectic City Estate of G.A. Karataeva - I.V. Morozov is a cultural heritage site overseen by the GlavUpDK.
“Over 100 Moscow mansions are under the economic jurisdiction of GlavUpDK at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and most of the buildings are listed as objects of cultural heritage. Embassies are located in many of them. Their maintenance and operation are carried out in strict accordance with the requirements of Russian legislation on cultural heritage protection and under the control of state bodies responsible for monument protection. The work is financed by GlavUpDK’s own funds,” said Alexey Ochnev, the architect of GlavUpDK.
He added that this is a unique, complex facility, and the overhaul was only possible due to the coordinated efforts of GlavUpDK and specialized contractors, along with the assistance of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow. Ochnev also noted that the project’s chief architect was Yevgeny Kokorev.
“The work was carried out at the site for nearly four years - and this was the first comprehensive restoration since it was built. During the restoration of the interior, a lot of intriguing details were uncovered: for example, the original color schemes and the unique floral painting on the ceiling of one of the halls were bouquets collected in accordance with the so-called language of flowers. Little by little, one step at a time, the renovators were restoring each detail. Works concerning the structural concept of the building were carried out as well; after all, the building is soon set to be reintegrated into the life of the city. This quite important aspect of adapting the building for modern use was also taken into account: new communication and engineering networks were installed in the Estate. But even these operations were conducted very carefully, to avoid ruining the original ambience that the building’s halls still preserve,” said Alexey Yemelyanov, Head of the Moscow City Cultural Heritage Department.
The building in Leontievsky Lane, built in 1883, was created by three masters of Moscow architecture - Alexander Kaminsky, Fyodor Schechtel and Adolf Erichson.
In different historical periods it belonged to the rector of Moscow University, Professor A.A. Prokopovich-Antonsky, and to the merchants G.A. Karataeva and I.V. Morozov. Each of the owners made changes and added new elements to the design of the building. Later, diplomatic missions of Germany and Cuba were stationed here, as well as the Soviet Information Bureau and several other organizations.
The meticulous restoration of the facades and interiors of the area, which stretches over 4,000 square meters, was initiated by GlavUpDK and specialized organizations in 2015.
The initial works included the reinforcement of the foundations, as well as the waterproofing of the walls and floors in the basement and the ground floor. Brickwork was repaired, architectural and stucco elements of the decor were updated.
The facade of the building was covered with special vapor-proof paint, which will retain its color for a long time. Special attention was paid to the preservation of all historical elements, for example, the central composition of the facade.
Over its history spanning more than 200 years, the mansion has not lost the unique interiors created by great architects, such as the lobby with it rustic walls and Classical-style ceilings, the stone stairs with cast-iron fencing, etc.
Several rooms in the front lobby are decorated with stucco in the style of classicism featuring antique and rocaille elements, as well as marble fireplaces. Rare images with star and solar motifs adorn the large hall on the second floor. The masks of the ancient goddesses depicted in a repeating pattern on the ceiling, surrounded by multi-beam golden stars are especially interesting. They could have appeared in the late 19th–early 20th century, when F. Schechtel and A. Erichson were in charge of the works on the estate.
The main rooms have been preserved, among them a wooden dining room, a large classical white-columned ballroom and a rocaille lounge, all designed by F. Schechtel.
During the works, the enfilade of the second-floor halls, the beautiful fireplaces and rich stucco decorations were restored, and the color themes of all the rooms were recreated. The unique picturesque embeddings on the ceilings and walls of the front rooms, as well as the plaster decor with wood paintings were rediscovered.