HSE University hosted its first tour of Pokrovka for HSE alums. The tour group discussed why alumni come to university after graduation, why the university is a ‘place of power’, and how the university succeeded in preserving the complex’s centuries-long history while renovating the buildings.
Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of maintaining relations with alumni and getting them involved.
The HSE Alumni Centre together with first-year students of the Media Communications programme organized the tour, where they talked about how to foster strong relations between graduates and their alma mater. On the tour, the alumni learned how the lifestyles of HSE students and their predecessors, students of the Academy of Commerce, which was housed in the building in the 19th century, are similar.
Now even those who haven’t managed to visit the new HSE complex can take a walk around the Pokrovka atriums. The HSE website now features a 3D tour around the building.
Alexander Samokhin, Producer of the HSE Alumni Centre, led the tour.
‘For almost 27 years, HSE University has been “gaining weight” and expanding all over Moscow. After a years-long reconstruction, the university finally has a big renovated home – a “place of power” with a 24/7 three-story library, dancing classes, co-working areas, coffee bars, and food carts.
However, having a contemporary and convenient university campus doesn’t mean it should be new and built from scratch. Despite the smell of fresh paint in some of the rooms, these walls have a long history. For almost two centuries, they have housed educational institutions. Here, people have studied the Word of God, merchandising, military arts, and today, even neural network technology’.
The graduates looked at the Pokrovka Complex from the historical perspective of Durasov House: from wealthy heirs to members of secret societies, future engineers and military servicemen.
Head Architect on the Restoration of the Durasov House
They then proceeded to the Central Atrium, where a historical photo exhibition is currently on display. They learned that a chemical laboratory was located in what is now the Professors’ Club, and greenhouses and garden beds for nature study classes once occupied the area that is now the atrium.
The group also toured familiar places from their own HSE days, such as classrooms, former HSE dorm rooms, and corridors that used to house charity bake sales in the early 2000s.
Chief Expert for Investment Activity and Project Management at SIBUR
‘I last saw this building before the reconstruction, when the Faculty of Economics moved here. I was here from the first day of its opening. Of course, everything has changed a lot, and I’m impressed. I envy today’s students. You folks are very lucky’.
Methodologist at GeekBrains (Mail.ru Group educational website)
‘I never studied at Pokrovka, but I’d heard a lot about it from peers who studied here. I am happy that this building is part of HSE University again, and in such an incredible way.
I believe that such a culturally rich university should have a building with history. It is great that Pokrovka is becoming a new home for grads, students, and everyone who is part of the HSE family’.
Text: Lena Vardanyan
Photo: Daniil Prokofiev