The Bureau House

This building is often called ‘a pearl of Elizabethan Baroque’ and, as any other gem, it has its own legends, mysteries and secrets.

The history began in 1764 when a land plot at Pokrovka was bought by the Count Matvey Apraksin who was descendent from an ancient and noble family that gave Russia many outstanding personalities. He decided to build a house at this place and the house still stands there. Thus, a pearl of architecture emerged in Moscow, the rarest example of a civil building of Elizabethan Baroque. No one could be left untouched by the stucco, the Corinthian pillars and the rich décor. The building was immediately called ‘the Moscow Winter Palace’. Later, due to its fancy architecture and shape, the building got another name – ‘the Bureau-House’.

The house was built in accordance with the Law adopted under Peter I who ordered to construct buildings along the ‘red line’ of the street and to face them towards Pokrovka. For unknown reasons the Apraksins left the Pokrovka house in 1772 and it was acquired by the Duke Dmitry Trubetskoy. Many famous Russian writers and artists were to a certain extent connected with the house. Alexander Pushkin had known this building since his childhood. Fyodor Tutchev visited Trubetskoys’ house when he was a little boy. Michael Pogodin, who would later become a famous historian, taught Trubetskoy’s daughters there. The Pokrovka house also relatedto Lev Tosltoy’s fate.

The house was sold to the Moscow University in 1861 and the 4th all-boys high-school was opened there. It was a classic top-rank high school where two foreign languages were taught (Latin and Greek) and its graduates were entitled to be accepted to the Moscow University. The school was famous for its outstanding teaching staff. Many eminent persons graduated from it including Nikolay Zhukovsky, the “father of Russian aviation” and the Academician Alexey Shahmatov. It was this particular school where Konstantin Stanislavsky met Savva Morozov, the future patron of the Stanislavsky’s theater.

The school was closed after the Revolution of 1917 and the house was used as a communal apartments building
The occupants of the communal apartments were finally displaced in the 1960s because the building received a new owner, the All-Union Geophysics Scientific Research Institute. Then the first restoration of the architectural monument was performed: its facades were returned their original look of the 18th century; the interiors began to be reconstructed.
And this amazing house, which long ago received an ironic nickname, ‘the bureau’, had again started to be perceived as a genuine jewel of Elizabethan Baroque. Tour to Moscow