Wooden building at Puskina Street No. 4,
land plot No. 41/108.

Wooden residential building at Puskina Street No. 4.


Koka ēkas fragmentu Puškina ielā Nr. 4 demontēja un pārvietoja uz ēku Krāsotāju ielā Nr. 12, 2012/2013. gados, kas tagad kalpo kā vēsturiskais eksponāts un kā Koka ēku renovācijas centra „KOKA RĪGA” mācības līdzeklis un koka arhitektūras savdabīgais „altāris”. Rekonstrukciju veica Rīgas celtniecības koledžas Restaurācijas nodaļas studenti.

Krāsotāju ielā Nr. 12.
Izstāžu un konferenču zāle.
Ēkas Puškina ielā Nr. 4., rekonstruēts fasādes fragments.
2013. gads.

Puskina Street

Puskina Street was developed in 1812 and ran between Krasta Street and Dzirnavu Street (called Liela Rupnieku Street in 1812). The street's initial name was Liela Jezusbaznicas iela (Grosse Jesuskirchenstrasse); it was renamed to Smolenskas Street in 1885, to Puskina Street in 1923, but in 1942/1944 it was renamed as Smolenskas Street again.
In 1923, in exchange for the name of Puskina (now Kronvalda) Boulevard, the street was named after the Russian poet A.S.Pushkin. The name survived a number of attacks from nationalist political groups in Riga City Council and nationwide both in 1923 and 1934.
Puskina Street is associated with the celebrations of Orthodox Christians because every year in January at Christmas according to the Old Calendar the street was used for the procession to the banks of river Daugava where the ceremony of water baptism took place at the boat pier by cutting an ice hole in the shape of a cross.
The vicinity of Puskina Street was known for many criminal activities that took place there: robberies, armed attacks, murders and illegal liquor sales — activities characteristic to market and harbour areas; for instance, an armed robber ran into the backyard of property at Puskina Street No. 4 in 1932, but fled the scene without being caught, etc.

Historical development of the block

Plan of the Jezusbaznicas area.

The area around the Riga Church of Jesus (Jezusbaznica) used to be one of the most developed territories in Riga; the church and its square form the central axis of the block, while the regular street network was adapted to Elizabetes (now Turgeneva) Street and the lines of the defense zone, such as Riepnieku (now Dzirnavu) Street against the Rodenburga ditch.

Plan of the block.

Plan of the block.

Land plot No. 41/108, currently at Puskina Street No. 4, was not yet developed in 1813, however, it had acquired the existing boundaries; it is assumed that the property belonged to a single owner with a land plot situated at the current Puskina Street No. 6 which was already developed at that time. This is also confirmed by the single configuration of the borders of the land plots. 1813. In 1813, the block is surrounded by Liela Jezusbaznicas (now Puskina) Street, Mucenieku (now Maskavas) Street, Maza Jezusbaznicas (now Jezusbaznicas) Street and the bank of river Daugava (Lastadija). In the plan from 1803, the block is connected with a block situated in the direction of the city centre. In 1813, eight buildings were built on the block. Since 1813, the layout of land plots on the block has remained unchanged.

Start of the block demolition works at Maskavas Street No. 26.

In 2011, only two wooden buildings remained on the block located at: Puskina Street No. 2 (land plot No. 41/105), built in 1813 as a single-storey dwelling house, rebuilt in 1902 as a two-storey building based on the design by architect Konstantins Peksens, introducing a different cladding of the wooden facade, and Puskina Street No. 4 (land plot No. 41/108), built around 1830, demolished in 2012. All other houses as well as six stone buildings were demolished between 1984 and 1992.

Buildings on the land plot No. 41/108
at Puskina Street No. 4.

Site plan of land plots No. 41/108, 109, 110.

Layout of the land plot No. 41/108.

Judging by various factors, the wooden building at Puskina Street No. 4 was built after the abolition of the Riga fortress status to the area in 1830 that restricted development along Maskavas Street allowing the construction of solely single-storey buildings in order not to hinder the lines of ranging fire of fortress guns, but the side streets were not allowed to have curves and the intersections had to form a right angle. Initially, the exterior of the building was not cladded with planks, and in essence it was a log building with exposed adzed log walls, painted in light blue and birch bark used as waterproofing material and moss as the heat insulation between logs. Subsequently, the building was cladded; some decorative elements of later claddings evidence changes to the facade made during the metallurgical development during the reign of Nicholas I (1796–1855), for instance, some parts that previously were cut of wood (such as the capitels of pilasters of the building at Maskavas Street No. 89) were made of zinc-tin alloy (Scpiauter). The exact decorative element was also used in stone buildings built around 1870/1880. The building was designed as a typical detached house situated in the prestigious district of Liela Jezusbaznica, as apparent from the lack of street entrance, as well as shutters on the relatively high ground floor windows; entrance through side gates provided protection for the house. It is possible that the building was also used as an office for handling trade purchase contracts in Daugava harbour.

Wooden pilaster capitel at Maskavas Street No. 89.

The file of the land plot No. 41/108 held by Riga Construction Board does not contain any documents concerning the wooden building and stables along the street; the first entry dates from March 7, 1880 when a two-storey stone warehouse designed by architect Hugo Villa is built deep in the backyard; at that time there are three wooden buildings on the plot. On October 7, 1897, architect Edmunds fon Trompovskis came up with a design for the reconstruction of the warehouse intending to turn it into a three-storey stone residential building, however, the project was not implemented.

Warehouse at Puskina Street No. 4, built in 1880.

The one-and-a-half-storey dwelling house was supposed to be demolished in 1910 to free up space for a five-storey tenement house designed by architect V. Stolls on November 23, 1910; however, the project was not implemented.

Design of the 5-storey tenement house that never materialised
Architect V. Stolls

The single-storey wooden auxiliary building situated along the street was demolished in 1921; the other wooden single-storey auxiliary building (stable) in the backyard was demolished in 1925, and a single-storey stone shed was built in its place, designed by engineer O. Stange whose design was approved on August 15, 1925. Until 2012, no other changes to the buildings of the land plot were made.

Joints of a loghouse crafted using an axe.

Moss used as heat insulation between logs.

Birch bark used for waterproofing between the foundations and logs.

A fragment of facade, an exposed log house;
we can see the original paint of the facade:
varnish and a light blue oil paint, and a plank cladding
of the facade installed at some later point in time.

Window frame with shutters and zinc alloy decoration sourced
from Puskina Street No. 4
and installed into the building at Krasotaju Street No. 12.

The process of restoration.

Krasotaju Street No. 12,
opening ceremony of "Koka Riga" centre on May 21.

Wooden one-and-a-half-storey residential building (log house cladded with planks) with a mezzanine, situated on the street side of the plot, built circa 1830 based on a design by a professional architect with a template facade in classical style as apparent from the following details: balanced volume of the building, proper proportions, mezzanine with a classic pediment confined by pilasters, Scpiauter (zinc-tin alloy) acanthus leaf details above the centre of the window frames on the ground floor and first foor that split the decorative edge of the windows, and the classic plane below the window frame with a small zinc rosette in the centre; the top profiled lath of the edge is broken.
The trim of the ground floor window frames contain small zinc rosettes which, however, are associated with a later construction period (1879–1880) when various metals were used for decoration replacing woodcarvings, as well as casement window fittings of a simpliefied form; zinc roses are found also in the centre of the corner pilaster capitels and the base.

The last winter of the house at Puskina Street No. 12.
December 21, 2011

Trim around window frame of the first floor.

Trim around window frame of the ground floor.

Shutter hinges and forged pieces of the ground floor windows.

Frieze decoration of the ground floor window.

Decorative window in the mezzanine pediment with a small ornamental star in the centre, executed with high precision, is the statement of the maker's craftsmanship. During a thorough inspection forged nails were found that have not been found in the plank cladding. For the cladding, factory-manufactured nails were used.

Decorative window in the mezzanine pediment.

Buildings designed at the time when the fortress status was in force had restrictions on the height of the foundations. The allowed height was mere 30 cm, based on the precaution that the foundations could not be used as defense elements should the suburb burn down. The foundations of the building at Puskina Street No. 4 together with the elevated street level was at least 80 cm high.

Metal decoration with acanthus leaves above the ground floor windows.

Metal decoration with acanthus leaves above the first floor windows.

Rosette on the pilaster base.

Rosette on the pilaster capitel.

Forged window security bar

Stone on the corner of the building for adjusting coach wheels

The value of the building is beyond price. In my professional life, I have never came accross an identical house, except for a similar building situated at Bruninieku Street No. 18, built circa 1820 and afterwards reconstructed and recladded in ..... The building has a richer facade trim using many cast metal parts.

Wooden building at Bruninieku Street No. 18, reconstructed in .... .

Ornamental iron rosette at Bruninieku Street No. 18

Trading companies

Advertisment by Ichok Leib Shapiro's trading company

Owners of the land plot