|Birth Day:||August 3, 1890|
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He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1904, where he would remain for 12 years through General Education, Arts, and Architecture. He was mentored in architecture by Professor Ivan Zholtovsky.
Konstantin met his "golden day in life" ("это был золотой день в моей жизни") through a milk delivery woman, who happened to serve the family of Vladimir Chaplin, a wealthy engineer. She recommended Konstantin's drawings to Chaplin, who was so impressed that he hired the teenager to his firm and paid for his art studies. Chaplin overestimated Melnikov's basic education, and Konstantin failed his grammar test at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1904. One year later, he passed the admissions that selected a class of 11 out of 270 applicants. Melnikov studied at the School for 12 years, first completing General Education (1910), then graduating in Arts (1914) and Architecture (1917). Despite Chaplin's calls to concentrate on architecture, Melnikov leaned to painting; by the time he joined the Architecture classes, he already was a well-recognized portrait painter. Later, he recalled Konstantin Korovin, Sergey Malyutin and Abram Arkhipov as his mentors in art; as for architecture, he gave his regards only to Ivan Zholtovsky, his professor in 1917–1918.
Melnikov married Anna Yablokova in 1912; they had two children, born in 1913 and 1915.
During World War I and the first years after Russian Revolution of 1917, Melnikov worked within the Neoclassical tradition. Before the Revolution, he was involved in AMO Truck Plant project. In 1918–1920, he was employed by the New Moscow planning workshop headed by Zholtovsky and Alexey Shchusev, designing Khodynka and Butyrsky District sectors of the city. Meanwhile, the Russian educational system collapsed; the new art college, VKhUTEMAS, was formed in 1920. Its architectural faculty was split between three factions: An Academic Workshop (Ivan Zholtovsky), left-wing United Workshops (Nikolai Ladovsky), and a joint workshop of Melnikov and Ilya Golosov, known as New Academy and Workshop No.2. Melnikov and Golosov resisted both the academic and left-wing camps; in 1924, when the management merged New Academy with Academic Workshop, Melnikov quit VKhUTEMAS. In 1923–1924, Melnikov temporarily associated himself with the ASNOVA and LEF artistic groups, however, he was not involved in public disputes and made no public statements. In particular, he clearly distanced himself from the Constructivist group, led by Moisei Ginzburg and Alexander Vesnin.
In 1925 Melnikov designed and built the Soviet pavilion at the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The wooden pavilion, employing a combination of single-sloped roofs of different sizes, was regarded as being one of the most progressive buildings at the fair. Unlike other Paris pavilions, it was completed in less than a month, employing not more than 10 workers.
Nationwide construction of new, dedicated buildings for workers' clubs (combining propaganda, educational and community center functions) was launched in 1926 and peaked in 1927, when trade unions commissioned 30 clubs in Moscow region (10 in the city of Moscow). Melnikov won five of these ten projects (his sixth club is located in Likino-Dulyovo). Absence of public contests for these buildings was favorable to Melnikov, who was promoted by enthusiastic trade union commissioners, regardless of design complexity or political and artistic affiliations. He had a chance to build practically exactly as planned, with very little changes by the client (notably, omission of swimming pools).
The "golden season" of 1927 continued with a chain of trade union commissions for workers' clubs. "Beginning in 1927, my influence developed into a monopoly takeover... that's how love will treat you if she really loves you" ("Начиная с 1927, мой авторитет вырос в монопольный захват... вот так поступит любовь и с Вами, если она Вас полюбит").
Melnikov preferred to work at home, and always wanted a spacious residence that could house his family, architectural and painting workshops. As the Russian idiom says, he designed the house starting "from the hearth"; existing white oven in his living room dates back to his 1920 drawings. Floorplan evolved from a plain square to a circle and an egg shape, without much attention to exterior finishes. Melnikov developed the concept of intersecting cylinders in 1925-1926 for his Zuev Workers' Club draft (he lost the contest to Ilya Golosov). Twin cylinder floorplan was approved by the city in June, 1927 and was revised during construction.
In 1929, Melnikov proposed the same system of intersecting cyliitecture – is a honeycomb lattice shell made of bricks with hexahedral cells. The similar lattice shells out of metal were patented and built by Vladimir Shukhov in 1896. Melnikov built his house in 1927–1929, and by that time in Russia there had been already built about 200 Shukhov's steel lattice shells as the overhead covers of buildings, hyperboloid water and other towers, including the famous 160 meter radio tower in Moscow (1922). Since Melnikov and Shukhov were well acquainted with each other and made joint projects (Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, Novo-Ryazanskaya Street Garage), it is not surprising that the Melnikov's house in Krivoarbatsky pereulok was built in the form of an original lattice shell. The overhead covers of the own Мelnikov's house are the honeycomb lattice shells made of wooden boards placed edgewise.
In the 1960s Melnikov enjoyed a brief revival of interest in his architecture. His 75th birthday (1965) was officially celebrated by the House of Architects in Moscow; in 1967 and 1972 he was awarded the honorary titles of Doctor of Architecture and Meritorious Architect.
Melnikov died at the age of 84 and was interred in the Vvedenskoye Cemetery in the Lefortovo District of Moscow. His son, Viktor, also a painter, lived and worked at the Arbat house, and fought to have it preserved as a museum until his death in February 2006. The house contains a significant portion of Konstantin S. Melnikov's archive.
Konstantin was the fourth child born to road maintenance foreman Stepan Illarionovich Melnikov. Konstantin married Anna Yablovkova in 1912 and had two children.
Currently, Konstantin Melnikov is 132 years, 1 months and 28 days old. Konstantin Melnikov will celebrate 133rd birthday on a Thursday 3rd of August 2023. Below we countdown to Konstantin Melnikov upcoming birthday.