Tricky revenge or architect’s plan?

Tricky revenge or architect’s plan?

June 30, 2020

Beautiful legends give new details to the familiar look. The legends can be sad or romantic.

And there are piquant ones. Like the history of the house number 3 on Leninsky Prospekt.

If you walk along the main street of Norilsk now and look into the house arch at Leninsky, 3, the school number 1 will appear in his yard. Holding on to this place, one can try to imagine what kind of buildings composition the chief architect of the city Vitold Nepokoichitsky, a native of St. Petersburg, saw in this area.

His wife, a well-known architect Lidia Minenko, came to live and work with him. The tandem of the two professionals was famous in the Soviet Union.
Vitold Nepokoichitsky designed monumental and unique buildings on permafrost, giving many of them the architectural features of his hometown on the Neva river. So, the first street of Norilsk was Sevastopolskaya. Leninsky Prospekt was actively expanding, in 1949 there was still no modern development.

The school number 1 is a work of art itself
The house on Leninsky Prospect 3
The first Norilsk school could have been more visible from Sevastopolskaya Street than through the small arch

The school number 1 – a work of art itself – still delights the Norilsk people with steps and columns, massive concrete flowerpots and other elements of the Empire style. It is believed that Vitold planned to expand the composition, create an architectural ensemble connecting Sevastopolskaya street with the school.

At that time, there were two residential buildings in front of the school. The space between them should have been designed in accordance with the creative plan of the chief architect, but Vitold Nepokoichitsky went on a business trip.

“Because of his profession, he often traveled outside Norilsk,” said Ekaterina Kaverina, a guide and researcher of Taimyr. “They say that while Vitold was on the business trip, Lydia Minenko learned about her husband’s infidelity. In revenge, she launched a building project that partitioned the space between the two houses: the plan of the architectural ensemble of Nepokoichitsky was destroyed, the new building became part of house number 3 on Leninsky Prospekt. I don’t believe the “bad” versions, but I like the idea of such a subtle revenge that could have come to the architect’s wife’s mind”.

According to Ekaterina, returning to Norilsk, Vitold explained the appearance of the additional part of the house by the fact that the yard was heavily covered with snow and had to be fenced off from the main street.

Today, 3 Leninsky prospect, is a well-known and prestigious house. School No. 1 (last year it celebrated its 70th anniversary) is still the most remarkable building in the city, and only the arch separates it from the main avenue.

Read in Truths and myths: why were there bees in the northern greenhouses, whether Vysotsky visited Norilsk or not and what is hidden under the Arena-Norilsk columns.

Text: Julia Gubeladze Photo: Nikolay Schipko

June 30, 2020

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