For Soviet-Era Architecture, a White Russian Knight Emerges

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... Two years ago, [Sergey] Gordeev bought a share of the Melnikov House (1927) in Moscow, setting off a panic in the city’s small but tightly knit preservation community. With its cylindrical interlocking forms, a hypnotic blend of Modernist purity and Russian mysticism, the house is considered a landmark of Soviet architecture. Yet it stands on valuable land in the city center.

Preservationists feared that Mr. Gordeev, who made his money in the rough-and-tumble Russian real estate market, might bulldoze the house to make way for the kind of gaudy new development that has become emblematic of the new Russia.

Today, the Melnikov House not only survives but also seems destined to become a museum. And that is mostly, if not all, due to Mr. Gordeev, who has emerged as a white-knight protector of Soviet architecture....

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