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2004|ARMA reconsrtuction

3D visualisation

Near Kursky railway station, there are buildings of a former gas plant, a large area with red brick buildings from the 19th century.

The history of the plant dates back to 1861 when a proposal was made to the Moscow Governor-General for the installation of street gas lighting in the city. The competition for construction was won by the firm of Dutch entrepreneur A. Bouquet and English engineer N. Goldsmith, called "City of Moscow gas company limited." A contract was signed for the construction of a plant for the dry distillation of coal, laying of pipes, and installation of lamps, according to which the Bouquet and Goldsmith firm was given exclusive rights to "illuminate the city with gas through underground pipes" for 30 years (later extended until 1905). Coal for gas production was imported from Great Britain. By 1868, the firm had built a gas plant in Susalny Lane (named after the gold foil factory), near the Kursky railway station.

On December 27th, the ceremonial opening of the "gasification" of Moscow took place: at five o'clock in the evening, the city head, Prince A. Shcherbatov, lit the first gas lamp near the Archangel Cathedral in the Kremlin. Three years later, there were already over three thousand gas lamps burning in Moscow, but the English company suffered significant losses because no one rushed to connect to the gas network. This was due to the conservatism of the Muscovites and competition from kerosene traders. Even increasing the rent to 40 rubles per lamp did not help, and in 1888 the factory passed into the ownership of the "French Gas Lighting Society".

By 1905, there were almost 9000 gas lamps in Moscow, and the gas pipes from the factory near the Kursk railway station stretched for more than 300 kilometers. By this time, the concession had expired, and the factory had passed to the city. Its capacities were almost exhausted by this moment, and at the end of the 19th century, the city streets began to be equipped with electric lamps. In 1909, a resolution was issued on the reconstruction and development of gas networks, for which four million rubles were allocated from the city budget. In 1914, the gas plant was rebuilt, but the city needed its products less and less each year. The last gas lamps disappeared from the streets of Moscow in the early 1930s.

In Soviet times, the factory was re-profiled to produce equipment for water supply and was named "Arma." In the late 1990s, like many Moscow enterprises, it practically ceased production, and the factory premises were rented out to numerous commercial firms. In the West, examples such as Montmartre, Soho, and Chelsea are well-known. In Moscow, the north-eastern axis or Yauza direction along the line of Maroseyka - Pokrovka - Basmannaya has traditionally been considered a similar area. Currently, workshops, galleries, design studios, magazine editorial offices, and music rehearsal bases are concentrated on the territory of the Gazgolder plant. They are gradually displacing commercial enterprises and warehouses. It is assumed that soon the buildings of the factory, built in the 19th century and creating an unforgettable natural atmosphere, will be fully occupied by artists, musicians, designers, architects, and other creative people, and there are all prerequisites for the emergence of a Moscow "Soho."

Architects and designers of the Creative Association "Gazgolder" have created a plan for the reconstruction of the factory's territory, leaving all historical buildings intact but proposing to free the structures from the layers of Soviet "industrial aesthetics," that is, from excess wires, pipes, and ruins; to give all the lines their pristine appearance and create a unique cultural space that did not exist before.

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