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The house of high culture. Restoration kicks off at the mansion of Boris Eyfman’s Academy


Boris Eyfman’s Academy of dance is getting ready for expansion


A unique architectural feat of the 19th century will soon be added to its domain. What will be definitely replaced and what will remain in it – Tatyana Bazhenova reports

This building of mid-19th century used to have a lot of owners. Its called differently – the mansion of house councilor Steinman, doctor Dobbert’s, “Otto Kirchner” trading house.

Now the wooden beauty will belong to Boris Eyfman’s dance Academy. Its been under renovation since mid-summer. Now the mansion will be rebuilt for a year – from floor to ceiling.

Pavel Gavrilchuk, director of cultural venues construction department at the construction committee: “The renovation entails the replacement of wooden structures. 2 floors will remain, the attic is not included. All protected items will stay. For instance, the façade will be restored, including the decorations”

The building is not big, but that’s still a lot of work. It has three floors from the first glance, but there’s actually only one floor – the main hall. The top and the attic had never been used for residential needs.

Every room has its own peculiar interiors. Restoration workers will not change anything – the central hall used to be green, it will remain such. The fabulous decorations – like plaster fretwork and ceramic tiles – will be revamped. The latter was revealed by construction workers – to much surprise – from under five layers of linoleum.

Anna Karaseva, architect-restoration worker: “Every room has its own drawings. It corresponded with the furniture and interiors. The house’s owner had a great taste. When we looked at all interiors, aligned color palettes – we understood they were all connected”

The house has provided many surprises to restoration workers and architects. For instance, 18 layers of paint were revealed on its walls – the layer was almost 1,5 centimeters thick. It seems residents of the mansion liked renovating. Moreover, they haven’t found a single burnt piece of wood – meaning there had never been fires here. Which is a rare thing for a building of 150 years old. Another surprise – a sophisticated device used to serve to the owners.

Nikolay Slotin, head of project: “we found and elevation mechanism within one of the walls. It’s a kitchen lift. From the kitchen to the dining room. It was an unexpected find!”

Employees of Eyfman’s Academy will hardly use the elevator. It will be put under glass and will most likely be used for exhibits. Nobody will be dancing in this mansion too after restorations. A media library and a museum will be opened there 

Tatyana Bazhenova, reporter: “the restoration of this attic will be minimal. For now, its about changing and strengthening structures. But there will be no decorations here after the works are done. Although construction workers make jokes already – maybe Boris Eyfman will set up a loft or an exhibition hall in such modest interiors”

The Academy will expand its domain by the start of the new academic year. At Bolshaya Pushkarskaya, teachers will find their places in a historic building – right next to a modern one where students are at.