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Architects Ask Moscow Mayor to Halt Demolition of Heritage Building

Architects, historians and experts on architectural heritage have written to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, requesting that he prevent the demolition of the Taganka telephone exchange building, culture news website reported Thursday.

Located on on Pokrovsky Pereulok in Moscow's Basmanny district, the Taganka telephone exchange building is set to be demolished and replaced with a residential complex, Russian media reported Thursday.

Constructed in 1929, following the designs of St. Petersburg-trained architect Basil Martynovich, the constructivist building housed one of Moscow's first automatic telephone exchanges.

Mosgornaslediye, the city department of cultural heritage, declined to recognize the building as a monument of constructivist architecture in February. Without inclusion on the state register of protected heritage sites, the Taganka telephone exchange is to be torn down and an apartment building built in its place.

The letter — published in full on the website — called the department's ruling “unprofessional” and “biased,” with construction companies' interests placed above the protection of Moscow's architectural heritage.

“This is undoubtedly a monument of architecture, which must be included on the state register,” the letter said. Since the building's facade remains in good condition, the interior can be adapted to new functions, the appeal said.

The open letter was signed by 36 representatives of the architectural community. An online appeal asking Sobyanin to save the building has collected almost 17,000 signatures, reported.

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