The Moscow metro is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Some of his stations are masterpieces of the monumental and solemn Stalinist Empire style, while others are laconic and rational. "Kuznetsky Most" with its marble arches, "Medeleevskaya" with a crystal lattice of lamps, "Medvedkovo" with the impeccable geometry of the track walls and sixteen more stations - the brainchild of the most famous woman architect of the USSR, the "storm of foremen" Nina Aleksandrovna Aleshina …
Nina Alyoshina (née Uspenskaya) was born in 1924, in Moscow, graduated from the legendary Moscow Architectural Institute - MArchI. Her romance with the metro began at the Novoslobodskaya station, for which Nina Aleksandrovna was developing a finishing project. Her classmate Nikolai Ivanovich Alyoshin also worked there - he, together with the Soviet artist Pavel Korin, prepared sketches for the famous stained glass windows. So I introduced them to the Moscow Architectural Institute, but got married by Novoslobodskaya …
Alyoshin created the first independent projects of metro stations in difficult conditions of general economy. This is how simple but elegant solutions appeared - ornamental compositions on the walls in the spirit of Ryazan embroidery, innovative approaches to lighting (non-trivial lamps and light guides), rustered tiles … at the stations Oktyabrskoe Pole and Shchukinskaya. Nina Alyoshina was able to bring to life a total of nineteen of her projects for Moscow metro stations. Nine of them were co-authored with another well-known Moscow Architectural Institute graduate, Natalia Konstantinovna Samoilova. Their joint project of the Kuznetsky Most station, opened in 1975, was awarded the Prize of the USSR Council of Ministers.
Not all of Aleshina's projects met with critical approval - for example, the reconstruction of the central hall of the Dzerzhinskaya station and the transfer to the Kuznetsky Most station. Despite the fact that Alyoshina tried to preserve the original appearance of the station with finishing according to the project of the architect N.A. Ladovsky (and she succeeded fragmentarily), the geological, technological, ergonomic features of the station required a fundamentally different solution. However, many people did not like the change in the original, historical appearance of the station. But in any of her projects, Alyoshina was guided primarily by the convenience for passengers, the rationality of engineering solutions, and the manufacturability of structures.
However, the aesthetic side of the work was extremely important for Nina Alexandrovna. She widely used metal finishing, used laconic but symbolic details. In the seventies, when increased funding allowed architects to work bolder and more original, Alyoshina offered the metro a variety of original decorative solutions. At the Oktyabrskoe Pole station, the columns were faced with aluminum, at the Medvedkovo station, a geometric ornament was made of anodized aluminum on the track walls. But Alyosha's lamps were especially successful.At the Mendeleevskaya station, they resemble a crystal lattice, at the Marxistskaya station - a spiral, symbolizing the principle of the development of society in a spiral. The glass for these chandeliers was made by an enterprise that produces optics for the military industry. At the same station, the columns and walls are clad in pink marble of an unusual shade.
Aleshina personally went to a quarry in the Irkutsk region, where this kind of marble was mined, and marked out stone blocks with a particularly pure and even color with her own hands. And to decorate the walls of the Chkalovskaya station, Alyoshinoy needed even rarer marble - Nerodram. And she went after him to a mine in northern Greece to select the best material …
In general, Nina Alexandrovna's perfectionism was known to all metro workers. She herself said: "The architect must cooperate with the performer." However, her style of supervision was particularly strict. At the station, where construction and finishing according to her projects were carried out, she came every day - which terrified the foremen and builders. If something did not correspond to the project, Alyoshina could, in her own words, break and destroy everything until the cement mortar froze. But that is why the results of the work were simply impeccable. The appearance of the stations designed by her retained purity and lightness, did not oppress with an abundance of details and colors. "As if something is missing" - this is how Alyoshin characterized her creative method. As if something is missing - however, there is neither a desire to add something, nor a need to change something.
In 1981, Alyoshina actually headed the architectural department of the Metrogiprotrans Institute and at about the same period became the chief architect of the institute. She had to be torn between leadership responsibilities and her own creative projects. And in the same years, when the name of Alyosha sounded throughout the country, and literally one word of her could decide the fate of any new project, first her daughter, artist Tatyana Alyoshina, and then her husband passed away … Despite the losses, despite the monstrous load, she continued to work - and devoted her whole life to the Moscow Metro, literally, up to the last second. In the 2000s, having already completed her creative career, she achieved the award of the status of architectural monuments to seventeen metro stations.
Nina Aleksandrovna Alyoshina was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor and the Medal For Labor Valor for her creative work, and received the title of Honored Architect of the RSFSR. She passed away in 2012 and was buried next to her loved ones. And under its spiral lamps, past pink columns and patterned ventilation grids, thousands of people rush to work and study every day, only in passing noticing - or even not noticing at all - the beauty in which "something is missing."
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