Babanin’s apartment house (Klimentovski pereulok 6), constructed 1912 by the
architect Ernst-Richard Niernsee, a masterpiece of Moscow Eclecticism, combines
Classical elements with the aura of Art Nouveau. The house is officially recognized as
an architectural monument (object of the cultural heritage); it has been an integral part
of the architectural landscape of the historic Zamoskvorechie area. The destiny of this
building is typical of those lucky remnants of old Moscow that escaped demolition or
reconstruction. More and more shops and offices are placed in the basements and
ground floor, while entrances are sometimes broken through the main brick wall.
According to the Law, all non-residential rooms and premises in a house, including
basements, are in condominium of apartment owners. Placement of shops and offices
occurs without their consent (which is a violation of the Paragraph 4 Article 36 of the
Housing Code of Russian Federation), and no recompense is paid to them. Moreover,
in spite of the No-Entry signs, the space in front of the house is often filled by
commuters’ cars coming to the city center, so that inhabitants sometimes find no place
for parking. For that reason, garbage removal occurs at nighttime, which is
accompanied by considerable noise. The parking is additionally complicated during
Muslim holidays, when a nearby street adjacent to a mosque is closed for the traffic.
Newcomers, many of them not Muscovites, purchase one apartment after another,
demolish historic interiors, and perform major repairs often with a re-layout. As a
result, neighbor apartments, sewerage and other communications are damaged.
Compensation mechanisms function with great difficulties in such cases, or do not
function at all.
Fig. 1 (above), 2 (below). External facade. Replaced window frames indicate that a
major repair have been performed in the apartment, mostly with a re-layout. Adjacent
houses were demolished and replaced by pseudo-traditional imitations.
Fig. 3-6. An apartment with a relatively well-preserved original interior.
Fig. 3. A crack on the wall is visible, which appeared as a result of the major repair in
the apartment upstairs.
Fig. 7. Complete re-layout of an apartment for an office. Demolishing the interior, the
workers did not cover the lavatory pan. Unprofessional working at replacing lavatory
pans can result in waste water conduit obstruction, for example, by pieces of broken
flooring tiles.
Fig. 8. Parking in front of the entrance. The No Entry sign is visible.
Fig. 9. Noise in front of the entrance: day and night.
Fig. 10. Plan of a separate entrance broken through the wall of the architectural