Vadkovsky Lane is a small historical street in Tverskoy District of Moscow. The Lane got its name in the early 20th century after the landlord Colonel Egor Vadkovsky.
The oldest settlement in the area was the Sushchevo village known since the 15th century: it was located on the way from Moscow to Dmitrov and historically was a property of Moscow princes. In 1504, the village expanded from the Tverskaya Road to the Neglinnaya River.
The archival records since the late 18th century follow the manor’s history, since times when the house was a single plot together with the neighboring estate at 5 Vadkovsky Lane. The manor is a compositional focal point of the neighborhood’s urban architectural structure; it has significant architectural value as a sample of an Art Nouveau residential mansion of the early 20th century with a well-preserved façade composition and decorations, as well as the layout with interior decoration.
The two-story brick façade with a semi-basement was built in 1903-1905 for the director of the commercial and industrial association “Alexey Gubkin’s Successor A. Kuznetsov and Co.”, hereditary honorary citizen Aleksandr Markin, designed by architect Pyotr Kharko.
The renowned researcher of architecture Maria Nashchokina writes in her Moscow Art Nouveau and Architects of Moscow Art Nouveau, “The architect... managed to work in various styles. Coincidentally, his career began at the same time the Art Nouveau style started to gain grounds that dominated the architect’s residential works of the 1900s. The most successful of them was the Markin manor which turns heads with its abundant well-painted moldings very specific of early Moscow Art Nouveau. Flowers with flexible vines and women’s heads with loose hair are inspired by French samples.”
The silhouette of the house is decorated with a strong crowning cornice overhang and attics of street façades. Fine ornaments on the Art Nouveau railings continue in the balcony balustrade, the motif on the main entrance canopy, wrought iron fence and gates. The most expressive decorative elements of the estate are the molding reliefs over the 1st floor windows, under and over the 2nd floor windows. These very reliefs are what makes the manor unique; their elegant patterns with women’s faces, floral and plant motifs resemble French samples of the Art Nouveau era.
The original interior layout of the manor has been preserved virtually unchanged. The manor’s entire insides served as landlord Aleksandr Markin’s apartment comprising 7 rooms on the 1st floor, a lobby, a corridor and a bathroom; 7 rooms on the 2nd floor, a corridor and 2 lobbies; 3 rooms, a kitchen and a corridor in the basement.
The Vadkovsky Lane entrance leads to the front lobby and then to the enfilade of rooms located on the eastern and northern sides. The ceiling of the main lobby is decorated with a rich classicist molded cornice, the walls have imitated rustication. The marble finishing of the stairs is of exceptionally high quality and meets the historical interior design trends.
In the 1980s-1990s, the mansion housed the Turkish Embassy; at present, it is occupied by Apostolic Nunciature, the Papal diplomatic mission to Russia.
The works that started in 2021 involved the Major Projects Department under GlavUpDK, together with specialist organizations, restoring the façades while preserving their composition and artistic decorations as they were in the early 20th century. The original colors of the façades discovered during cleanup were restored. Restoration artists had to pay special attention to the sophisticated spelter cornice (spelter is zinc and its alloys used in the 19th and the first 30 years of the 20th century as a replacement for bronze).
That architectural element, unusual for our times, was discovered during the restoration. “Restoring spelter pieces now is challenging as the material and the skills needed to handle it went completely out of use in the modern times. That’s why we had to find and use a custom approach to put that element back to its original look,” said Dmitry Drachev, section head, GlavUpDK under the MFA of Russia Major Projects Department.
On top of that, they restored the cornices, pediment, window platbands, friezes, rusticated abutments and pilaster strips, hood molds, relief molding with women’s mask images near the main entrances, and other ornaments on the façades. The brickwork was carefully cleaned off old paint and plaster layers: there were as many as 17 of them in some places.
Ornamental railings were restored on the roof and rebuilt on the balconies and the terrace. The fence around the estate got a workover too: its foundation and brickwork were strengthened, lost ornaments of the fence façades replicated, plaster and metal elements restored.
Restoration architects used modern materials which, nevertheless, preserved authenticity and uniqueness of the original decorations envisaged by the author.