2010 is the 120th anniversary of the birth of Konstantin Melnikov. The Melnikov House (1927-1929) is under threat of being taken into private hands, against the desires of the author of the house and of his son Viktor (1914-2006), well-known artist and custodian of the house for 30 years.
Please, read the Press Release document enclosed.
We will keep you updated with more information regarding the campaign to protect the building.
Ana Tostoes, Chair Docomomo International
Ivan Blasi, Secretary General, Docomomo International
The Melnikov House (1927-1929) is under threat of being taken into private hands, against the desires of the author of the house, Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974) celebrated architect of the Avant-garde period, and of his son Viktor (1914-2006), well-known artist, and custodian of the house for 30 years.
It was stipulated in Viktor Melnikov’s will that the house should become a State Museum to Konstantin Melnikov and himself (father and son.) Viktor’s daughter, Yekaterina Karinskaya is the executor of the will and is currently resident in the house.
However, the owner of half of the house, former director of property developing company Rosbuilding, Senator Sergei Gordeyev, wants to gain full ownership of the house and open a privately owned museum there. Mr. Gordeyev has stated that he does not want to honour Viktor Melnikov’s wishes either that should be a museum to father and son nor that it should be State owned.
In 2007, Mr Gordeyev founded the International Melnikov House Committee (IMHC) from representatives of the Russian and international cultural and architectural communities and architectural conservation bodies. Many members of the IMHC fear that Mr Gordeyev perceives the body as having a purely decorative character: the IMHC met once but since then have only heard from Mr Gordeyev in the form of a single reply to a collective IMHC letter. (Please see MAPS website for all IMHC correspondence www.maps-moscow.com)
Members of the IMHC listed below firmly believe that the wishes of Konstantin and Viktor Melnikov must be upheld in decisions concerning the future of the house.
Over the last five years, court cases have been in process, addressing the issue of the ownership of the property and archive. Formally, the instigators of the court proceedings are the younger daughter of Viktor Melnikov, Yelena, and her cousin Alexei Ilganaev. Mr Gordeyev actively supports them and participates in these processes with the aim of acquiring the entirety of the house and three quarters of Konstantin Melnikov’s archive.
David Sarkisyan, former Director of Moscow’s Shchusev State Architecture Museum, and member of the IMHC, who died in January this year, played an important regulating role in this matter.
We members of the IMHC believe that the Melnikov House is in jeopardy. We believe that the Russian Ministry of Culture must come forward to claim and defend the portion of the house left to the Russian State and people by Viktor Melnikov. We believe that the Russian Ministry of Culture has a responsibility to negotiate with all parties interested in the future of the house.
If action is not taken now, the Russian State, is putting the Melnikov House at risk, and in doing so is denying the Russian people and the international community their legacy. 2010 is the 120th anniversary of the birth of Konstantin Melnikov.
Clementine Cecil (Moscow Architecture Preservation Society)
Jean-Louis Cohen (University of Paris, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)
Nataliya Dushkina (Moscow Architecture Institute)
Yekaterina Karinskaya (granddaughter of Konstantin Melnikov)
Anke Zalivako (Technical University of Berlin)
All press enquiries should go to:
MAPS Trustee and IMHC member Clementine Cecil +44 7968 003 595
IMHC member Natalia Dushkina
IMHC member Jean-Louis Cohen
IMHC member Yekaterina Karinskaya (granddaughter of Konstantin Melnikov)
+7 499 241 1873