8/1 and 8/2 Spasopeskovsky Lane

Year construction: 1821

Architect: unknown

Spasopeskovsky Lane is a small street located in the downtown Moscow between Kamennaya Sloboda LaneandArbat. There, each building has some historical value: Silver Age still echoes in its estates, manors, mansions, and gymnasiums.

The plot of today’s building No. 8 has been known by the early 19th century, while the manor itself appeared on the Moscow map in 1821. It was the year when wife of landlord and manufacturer lieutenant Pavel Schepochkin – Alexandra – built a one-story wooden house and two identical residential wings on both sides. 

In this very house, Pyotr Vyazemsky, a close friend of Alexander Pushkin’s, used to rent an apartment. Two more of Pushkin’s friends – Ivan Pushchin, Pavel Nashchokin – used to live nearby . They all had a tendency to gather at each other’s places so it wasn’t an accident for Pushkin to choose Arbat as his lodging spot. 

 In the 1850s, Vyazemsky’s manor came into possession of Nikolay Lvov, who was a grandson of a famous Russian architect-neoclassicist and a big fan of Pushkin. Lvov set up a garden square named after Pushkin to honor the poets who used to meet up here. You can still admire its sceneries even today. Lvov lived in the manor for about forty years and added mezzanines to its façade, which are one-room superstructures that were very popular in Russia of the 19th century. 

In the following years, the building became property of Sergey Turgenev, cousin of the famous writer Ivan Turgenev, and wife of Collegiate Councillor Kalyanova. They had the manor connected to the city sewers and had two more outhouses built. After 1917, the manor housed a publishing house of the Central Statistical Office of the USSR, and since 1998 it is the residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain.

Restoration (2021-2022 )
In spring of 2022, the Major Projects Department of GlavUpDK under the MFA of Russia completed repair and restoration of the Schepochkina- Lvov city manor. 

Over the years, the manor has been rebuilt several times, according to Dmitry Drachev, Head of Building Control on Reconstruction, Restoration, Major and Current Repair Projects of the GlavUpDK Major Projects Department. “Every new architect wanted to leave a mark in Moscow’s history, not always caring about longevity. When we began the restoration in April 2021, we realized what enormous challenges we were to face. The wooden framework and the white-stone plinth were in critical condition. The Major Projects Department specialists actually “saved the life” of this unique building – it was a challenge that we accepted and successfully completed,” he said. 

The façades of the wooden building required special care. The survey revealed multiple layers of different periods: plaster areas of numerous compositions on the metal mesh, fragments of lathwork and felt were made on the wooden frame of the cladding. Many of the façade and basement elements have deteriorated over the two hundred years since construction, with rot and wood engraver damage. A plinth of white stone blocks was also found under the layer of later concrete facing.

Much effort has been put into restoring and preserving the white-stone basement: the basement brickwork was repaired, and the bottom of the façade posts were cleaned out, with lost elements replaced. In addition, vents were arranged in the basement to provide air change under the building. The wooden frame was re-built and replaced, with fire and biosecurity applied to prevent insect re-emergence. The plaster layer has been recreated using an authentic technology – limestone-gypsum plaster on lathwork and felt. The Major Projects Department specialists and the contractor worked with special reverence for the cultural heritage site using technology and materials similar to those used when the building was erected propped by modern experience and technology.

Once the work was completed, the plinth was lined with granite identical to that in the main house of the manor. Recreated molded platbanded belt courses, hood molds and other details of eclectic decorations, cornices, window ledges took their place on the façades, and the plaster elements were reinforced. Color solutions for the façades were chosen following a technological study of the extant paint layers.

The picturesque décor of the building was recreated from archival photographs: a skylight, decorative chimney caps, and art metal roof fence were made. The entrance group with an art cast-iron canopy, made in the style of the late 19th – early 20th centuries, was reproduced.

The work has made it possible to bring the building back to its historic appearance with its singular architectural elements and functional solutions conceived during construction.