Nikolay Lyzlov: “Architecture is a frozen history, an imprint of someone's life”

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Nikolay Lyzlov , the head of the AML architectural studio that has existed since 1992, is building our city. The architect was doing this even at a time when colleagues specialized exclusively in interiors. After graduating from the Moscow Architectural Institute, he worked in Giproteatr, Mosproekt-1, designed houses in the current Eastern District of Moscow, and the area continues to grow with the buildings of the AML bureau.

Lyzlov's architecture is rational and emphatically laconic. She does not shock the audience, does not explode the context. The modernist Lyzlov can even be reproached for keeping aloof from architectural fashion. However, he prefers silence.

In a blitz interview, Nikolai Lyzlov and I discussed recent and current projects, our attitude to the city and our own history, and our dream house.

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What are you doing for the city now?

It turned out that recently we have been running several projects in a row related to reconstruction and adaptation. First of all, work on the future Museum town of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. An amazing thing happened to the estate of the Golitsyn-Vyazemsky-Dolgorukovs, where the Gallery of Art of the Old Masters will open. Before the building began to be dismantled, they thought it was an 18th century building with side wings of the Soviet neoclassicism. But it turned out that Golitsyn did not demolish the 17th century chambers that were at the base. The restorers' eyes instantly lit up: now we will do everything for the 17th century. But then our respected experts told them in time: “If you start to recreate the seventeenth century, then simply destroy the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth. Then it will be the twenty-first century, inlaid with the seventeenth ”. It was decided that the new would be new and the old would remain as it was, and the western façade was left unplastered. Authenticity is important.

nlylzov5 < p class = "wp-caption-text"> Administrative complex on Strastnoy Boulevard, Moscow
2006
AML Architectural Workshop

And what will the Stulovs' House look like, where, after the reconstruction, the Pushkin Museum's scientific library will be located?

The building of 1914, built by the architect Dubovsky, is, of course, distinguished by the best preservation and stylistic unity. A house with accumulated living potential and quality that must be appreciated. I would not even install an air conditioner in it. I would just like to put everything in order, leaving the oak stairs and window frames, which would be sealed with paper tape in the cold, and just let people in with new gadgets there. A similar story with our reconstruction of an apartment in a constructivist building.

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Apartment in a constructivist building in Basmanny Tupik, Moscow
2015
photo: Alexey Naroditsky
AML Architectural Workshop

I heard that young decorators are now taking excursions to the interior of this apartment.

It was an interesting, almost scientific work. The author of the house RZHSKT “Obrabstroy” in Basmanny deadlock is Vladimir Kildishev, from the Silver Age, who was already an elderly man in Soviet times. In 1929, he practically built a commune house.

We agreed with the customers who bought apartments in this building that we would keep the spirit. All the time I remembered Platonov: “The kerosene stove makes stuffiness and fires, but we need physical education!” We used everything that was already there: sanitation, air. They treated carpentry with reverence, did not make glass blocks, restored the “native” double doors and window frames.

nlylzov6 < p class = "wp-caption-text"> Shop on Bolshaya Semenovskaya Street, Moscow
2000
AML Architectural Workshop

What to say about frames when entire constructivist buildings are being demolished? The Taganskaya automatic telephone exchange on Pokrovsky Boulevard cannot be returned.

The PBX story upset me very much. A monstrous indiscretion, it's like throwing away an expensive thing and putting cheap stuff in return. Real lofts, versatile apartments could be designed in this house. Architecture is a frozen history, an imprint, a cast of someone's life, like a trace of extinct trilobites. For those who, for example, do not read in ancient Greek, antiquity is, first of all, architecture. And there were civilizations that did not leave behind any literary monuments, only architecture. We do not know much about the life of our parents, we can hardly imagine the way of life of grandparents, great-grandfathers, and even more so. And here a well-established texture has been preserved, like the handle of a peasant shovel, polished by many lives. It requires a very careful attitude towards itself.

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Garage parking on 9th Parkovaya St., Moscow
2004
AML Architectural Workshop

What would be the house that you would build for yourself?

I want to combine the ideas of Ginzburg and Corbusier, the Narkomfin building with the Marseilles residential unit. Such a layout will be in an apartment building that we designed and where the windows overlook the Yauza.

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Apartment in a constructivist building in Basmanny dead end
2015
photo: Alexey Naroditsky
AML architectural workshop

But you all about work. And I asked about the house in which you would like to live yourself.

I thought a lot about the village way of life. The first thing that comes to mind is a house in the village of Trigorskoye, a bit reminiscent of a long one-story barn, where wood breathes, where Empire furniture, paintings, wonderful fabric screens by the fireplace. It all seems like a perfect home to me. However, I also like the suite of rooms in the Pushkin house in Mikhailovsky.

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