Melnikov’s House. Modernism in its atom.

By NikitaNemygin, February 3, 2016

Melnikov’s House in Moscow is two interconnected brick barrels. Seen from above, they resemble a neutron and a proton of an atomic nucleus.

I was picturing where this house will fit in my system, along with 2 Willow Road by Erno Goldfinger or, perhaps Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. Its’ decisive lines and slim geometry, its rationalism – and rationale – seem to be offsetting against the chaotic and unkempt world around.

The diamond-shaped windows were spinning around me, becoming an incessant pool of light.

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I was able to think only about it. When I saw my friends, I told them: “you know, I am going to see Melnikov House in Moscow” in the first two minutes of our meeting. Because I am one of the few obsessed ones, I had to add: “He designed the first sarcophagus of Lenin”.

It didn’t help, though. And it did not stop the vortex. The atomic nucleus was attracting me.
After a circle along the Garden Ring, I came down to the House.
After a circle around the House, I went into with a tour.
But it wasn’t Goldfinger. It wasn’t Le Corbusier.

Dining room

Dining room


Dining room

Dining room

Both avant-garde and conventional, sterile and full of life, it mesmerises on the inside as on the outside. The external constructivism charge is further neutralised by traditionalism of the interiors and floorplan.

Original cutlery from the 30ies.

Original cutlery from the 30ies.

The tins are custom-made to exqactly fit the shelf height.

The tins are custom-made to exqactly fit the shelf height.

We came up via the spiral stair-case.

Step by step, the space was unfolding, ever expanding, ever brightening from the lobby, to the dining room, to the reception, to the studio.

We swivelled up and around to the top along the stairs.

Passive to the colliding force of the House, the diamond-shaped windows began to accelerate, to clash and fall apart into smaller and smaller pieces until they reached carbon atoms, that diamonds are made of.

Bedroom

Bedroom

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The strict Bauhaus appearance is negated inside with bourgeois excessiveness, frivolous lacy napkins and Orthodox icons in the corner. Its’ unique features are the result of strict economical necessities, but the house and the diamond-shaped windows are now in their turn necessary to understand the avant-garde of the thirties.

The reception room

The reception room

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This house creates a charge. This charge attracts us – orbiting around the world, around the house, around the spiral staircase inside.

The studio

The studio


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We are the electron and with us it creates an atom.
This atom withholds the ideals of the past. This atom withholds our longing to reconcile with it. But it’s not the most important.

This atom withholds us.
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