January 19, 2024

Oleg Arkhipov, Дом украшен большой сферой / House decorated with a large sphere

this image from regional journal Sobaka

In the Russian village of Vysokoklyuchevoyten, located south of St Petersburg, there has been a house with all kinds of decorations, especially a large sphere on the roof.

Life and works

This singular architecture was created by Oleg Petrovich Arkhipov (1939-2010), who worked all his life in St Petersburg as a machine maintenance engineer.

He was in his early twenties when Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961 made the first space flight around the world, and young Arkhipov was deeply impressed by the dawn of the space age. He collected all kinds of stamps and postcards related to space. 

this image and the next two (2021) by 
Oleg Everzov in his article about the site

When in the early 1970s he inherited from his father a wooden house in the village of Vysokoklyuchevoyten, he came up with the idea of adding an an extension that would express space travel as a new, very special happening in world history.

The idea did not let him go and in the mid-1970s he indeed started working on a construction project on which he would work for more than twenty years. Arkhipov and his wife Nina Vasilievna went to live in the wooden house that he had inherited from his father.

The structure he had in mind was a creation in which he wanted to express in his own way what kind of images space travel generated in his world of thought. It should be a house with a sphere on the roof surrounded by a large circular ribbon. 

As the very first image shows, Arkhipov indeed succeeded in producing such a representation. 

One can say that the upper part of the resulting creation evokes associations with the world as a globe as it exists in space, or also something like a capsule with which space is explored. The load-bearing substructure is made of reinforced concrete, where the design of the extensive windows, made of brick and bottle bases, is particularly striking.

He also constructed a landing site for spaceships on the area around the art environment. However, the aliens did not come.

Arkhipov, who had no training in construction or architecture, had to pay the costs of purchasing building materials from his salary and this was only possible with a small amount each time. This made it a long-term project.

His wife had no problem with her husband being so busy with his construction work, but in his family Arkhipov's efforts were seen as a waste of time and energy.

Disaster struck shortly after the construction was completed in the mid-1990s. 

A fire completely destroyed the wooden house and also damaged parts of the house with the sphere. 

Rebuilding the wooden house was considered, but in the end Arkhipov and his wife decided that it would cost too much. They found temporary shelter in a rented house and then bought their own home.

The house with the orb was left unattended and no one in the family felt like renovating the abandoned property. 

Arkhipov and his wife both died in 2010. Their son and daughter did not accept their father's inheritance and the house's decline continued.

Ten years later, in 2020, the ball fell off the roof. No aliens landing, nor happy ending .....

* Article on the website Sobaka
* Article on the website Fiesta
Article (June 2021) by Oleg Everzov on website Dzen

Oleg Arkhipov House decorated with a large sphere

Pushkinskaya Street

Vysokoklyuchevoy,  region Leningrad, Russia

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