The Melnikov House, a building designed by architect Konstantin Melnikov in Moscow for him and his family (1927-1929), is the first house in Russia to join the international Iconic Houses Network, comprising around 150 landmark houses from the 20th century that have a significant meaning in modern architecture and are open to the public. For the Melnikov House that started to open its door for small public tours (up to 5 persons) on December 3, 2014 as a first step in dissemination of the work of its architect Konstantin Melnikov.
The world-famous masterpiece of the architectural avant-garde, the house was originally designed and built in 1927-1929 as 'an experimental cylindrical house' to test out Konstantin Melnikov’s very own concept of mass construction of residential estate. The original layout, elegant spatial arrangement and smart engineering techniques made this masterpiece world famous. By words of Melnikov, the essence of the house is in 'even distribution of weight, light, air and heat'. Being of a unique architectural form, it still looks modern while keeping authentic memorial atmosphere of the 20th century, reflecting the tragic life of this maverick architect.
It consists of two overlapping cylindrical towers, nine meters in diameter each, without any internal load-bearing columns or walls. The wooden ceilings were formed by a rectangular grid of flat planks. In his house Melnikov employed more than sixty 'honeycomb' hexagonal windows providing very special dispersed light. One bedroom was designed for the whole family, partitioned by wall screens.
The will of Viktor Melnikov, the son of the architect Konstantin Melnikov, calls for preservation of the House and creation of the museum of the Melnikovs, father and son, on its premises. The will was executed with the State Melnikovs Museum establishment in 2014 as a branch of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, which now operates the house. ‘Our mission is clear: to open Melnikov’s heritage to the world’, says Pavel Kuznetsov, director of the State Melnikovs Museum.
According to the testament of Viktor Melnikov the State Melnikovs Museum will consist of two parts: permanent exposition and storage of archives at Vozdizhenka, 5/25 (to be opened in 2016) and the Melnikov House itself at Krivoarbatsky, 10. Guided tour will link both parts of the Museum in future.