For example, Auguste Montferrand bought himself a house on the embankment of the Moika River with a fee for the Alexander Column, and Andrei Stakenschneider bought a mansion on Bolshaya Millionnaya for his projects. However, history knows not only examples of generous rewards, but also cases when architects worked without wages – either forcedly or of their own free will. Read about insidious customers and altruistic performers in our publication. Unpaid Russian architects.
Unpaid Russian architects. Estate of Tsaritsyno by Vasily Bazhenov
When Catherine II instructed Bazhenov to build the imperial estate in Tsaritsyno, he responded with enthusiasm. The architect designed a grandiose neo-Gothic palace complex and a landscape park. He provided mansions for Catherine II and Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, park structures, outbuildings. Work in Tsaritsyno captured Bazhenov so much that when the state money ran out, he invested his own funds in it. The house of the architect and his rich library were gone from the auction. One after another, loans appeared – Bazhenov was on the verge of ruin. Despite the efforts of the architect, Catherine II did not arrange the new estate. The enraged empress ordered the demolition of some buildings. Bazhenov was removed from construction and received no compensation, and Catherine instructed his student, Matvey Kazakov, to complete the case.
Halls of the Winter Palace of Karl Rossi
During the reign of Alexander I, Carl Rossi was one of the most famous architects of St. Petersburg. He created and rebuilt palace ensembles and reconstructed mansions, built the General Staff Building and many other buildings that have become famous landmarks of St. Petersburg today. Rossi was treated kindly by the attention of Alexander I, however, when Nicholas I came to power, the attitude towards the architect changed. In 1827, the emperor commissioned an architect to rebuild the halls of Maria Feodorovna in the Winter Palace. Rossi had prepared the project in advance; all that remained was to implement it. However, the architect soon fell ill and went to the hospital to improve his health. Nicholas I did not forgive this act – he handed over the order to Auguste Montferrand and deprived Rossi of the reward for the drawings.
Vasily Zagorsky Moscow Conservatory
In 1878, the Moscow Conservatory bought the old house of Ekaterina Dashkova, which was built in the 1790s by the architect Vasily Bazhenov. A few years later, the reconstruction of the mansion began, the project was created by Vasily Zagorsky. The architect did not pay for it; moreover, he himself bought marble for decoration and, at his own expense, built a staircase to the Great Hall. Funds for the rest of the work were allocated by the imperial family, merchants and industrialists. The building with the Small and Large Concert Halls was completed in 1901.
In 1902, the architect Fyodor Shekhtel reconstructed the mansion of Georgy Lianozov in Kamergersky Lane. The customer was the philanthropist Savva Mamontov, and the building was intended for the Moscow Art Theater. The architect redesigned all the interior spaces. According to Shekhtel’s project, the facade was decorated with decorative lanterns, and the right entrance was decorated with blue ceramic tiles and a sculpture by Anna Golubkina “The Sea of Life” (“The Swimmer”). At the same time, Shekhtel designed a turning stage and niches for decorations and created a sketch of a curtain with an ornament and a silhouette of a seagull. The architect performed all the work absolutely free of charge – by his own decision.
Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit in St. Petersburg Alexander Krasovsky
Another architectural monument, which appeared thanks to the magnanimity of the architect, is the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit in St. Petersburg. This one-domed church with a belfry in the neo-Russian style was built in 1902-1912 at the Spaso-Preobrazhensky cemetery. The building project was created free of charge by the architect Alexander Krasovsky, one of the restorers of the Winter Palace. In 1939, the church was closed; a warehouse and a foundry were located here. In 1966, the building was blown up when the Lomonosovskaya metro station was being built.
Church of Christ the Savior in San Remo by Alexey Shchusev
In 1912-1913, the Church of Christ the Savior appeared in the Italian resort of San Remo. The brick cathedral with five domes and a hipped-roof bell tower was stylized as Moscow churches of the 16th – 17th centuries. And decorated with ceramic tiles, figured kokoshniks and balusters. Funds for the construction of the temple were collected by Russian emigrants who lived or vacationed in San Remo. The project was prepared free of charge by the architect Alexei Shchusev. He himself did not take part in the construction of the temple – the work was supervised by the local architect Pietro Agosty. He slightly changed the project of Shchusev, which is why the Russian architect refused the authorship. Unpaid Russian architects.