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Laundry Building, the Narkomfin Residential Compound

25-27/1, Novinsky Boulevard
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The experimental compound represented the implemented idea of a fundamentally new type of residence with a utility unit that was to promote a new life style. According to the architects' design, the service building housed the first mechanical laundry in Moscow.
  • Laundry Building, the Narkomfin Residential Compound
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The newly identified cultural heritage site "The Laundry Building of the Narkomfin Residential Compound, 1932, architects M.Y. Ginzburg, I.F. Milinis" is a part of the cultural heritage site titled "The Ensemble of the Narkomfin Experimental Residential Building with Amenity Buildings, 1928–1932, architects M.Y. Ginzburg, I.F. Milinis, engineer S.L. Prokhorov". The compound came as a result of a social and architectural experiment at creating a new life style for the Soviet urban residents.

The Laundry — a two storey rectangular building with a staircase at its end wall — is separated by a park from the Narkomfin House. The Laundry represented the implemented idea of communal life where all residents' household needs would be mechanized.

The building's facade was also innovative. The first floor overhung the ground floor in its eastern part, forming a “canopy” above the entrance. The southern part of the first floor rested not on the ground floor (there wasn’t one) but upon rectangular metal pillars. Under the original design, there should have been a boiler in the basement, a laundry and drying room on the ground floor, and living quarters with a bathroom for the laundry personnel on the first floor. The floors were connected with an exterior single flight stairs under a concrete canopy at the southern side.
The building had a reinforced concrete frame. Its walls were made of slag blocks and partly of bricks. Both exterior and interior walls were plastered and painted. The roof was single pitch seamed. Opened in 1932, the Laundry became the first mechanical laundry in Moscow. However, the building served its original purpose for several years only; soon it was given to the utility services.
Throughout the 20th century, the building underwent numerous reconstructions that distorted the design by M.Y. Ginzburg and I.F. Milinis. The interior stairs connecting the basement to the ground floor disappeared; the once exterior stairs and the open veranda at the southern side were mured up, the mass and layout composition of the building was altered. The semi basement part of the building also underwent reconstructions in the 1980-1990s. By the end of the 20th century, the building was abandoned; it was neither used nor heated which led to some structures' being in disrepair and some elements missing.

The Laundry Building restoration began in 2018 and was performed simultaneously with the Narkomfin House itself. The restoration project design foresaw complete recovering of the building structures' functionality, its original spatial and layout composition, exterior design as of the time of construction, framing and glazing door and window openings. The project was implemented with the highest degree of authenticity through authentic technologies used by restorers. Certain elements of interiors were recreated including a light window. Also, a fragment of a panel of reed used for wall insulation is now on display. The color scheme of the freshly plastered facades complies with the original 1928–1932 design.

Konstantin Mikhailov

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