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Russia's Melnikov House to Become Museum

Image © Daria Mazur

Viktor Melnikov, son of Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov, has announced that he will turn over his father’s famed Melnikov House, along with its collection of artworks, to the Russian government on the condition that it establish a museum and renovate the house.

The house has been a modernist landmark in Moscow for nearly eighty years. Built by Melnikov for his family between 1927 and 1929, the building became one of the most celebrated Constructivist designs. It was the only private house built in Moscow during the Soviet period. Gradually Melnikov fell out of favor with the regime and was expelled from architecture in 1937. He lived in seclusion at his house until his death in 1974. It has been occupied by his son ever since.

The building is composed of two interlocking cylinders with rhomboid windows. It has been deteriorating steadily in recent years, especially after an unsuccessful restoration attempt in the late 1990s. Despite Viktor Melnikov’s decision, a family dispute over succession rights is likely to cloud the future of the masterwork.

Paul Abelsky