Governor-General's Residence (1814-21). Built by the Merchant M. V. Sibiriakov, the Building Now Serves as Part of Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russia.


This photograph of the former Sibiriakov Mansion in the city of Irkutsk was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. From the time of its first log forts in the 1660s, Irkutsk was destined to be the administrative and commercial center of eastern Siberia. In 1700, Irkutsk became the third Siberian city capable of producing bricks on a large scale. This grand residence, with a Corinthian portico, was built in 1800-04 and is one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in Siberia. Its owner, Ksenofont Sibiriakov, was a merchant who successfully tapped Siberia's riches, above all its fur trade. The architect has not been identified, but the mansion resembles the work of Catherine the Great's distinguished architect, Giacomo Quarenghi. In view of Sibiriakov's close connections with St. Petersburg, the design could well have originated in the imperial capital. After Sibiriakov's death, the mansion became the property of the state, which used it as the residence of the governor-general of Eastern Siberia from 1837 to 1917. Generally known as the "White House," it now serves as the main administrative building of Irkutsk State University.

Last updated: January 11, 2016