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stroitelstvo moskvi 12.31

Stroitelstvo Moskvi (The Building of Moscow) 1931




Historical significance

No. 12, December 1931

A splendid avant-garde cover on a very interesting edition of this architecture magazine.

Complete issue, should be 29 pages but many pages are duplicated by mistake, so it contains 47.

(No wonder there was a paper shortage in the USSR in the early 1930s).

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The editorial comments:

The third year of the five-year plan is over.  Under the leadership of the Leninist Central Committee we achieved massive victories in the past year.  In 1931 the growth of industrial output in comparison with 1930 was 20-21%.  Collectivisation in the countryside reached 62%, occupying 79% of all area sown by peasants.  1931 also saw the liquidation of unemployment, and was a year of noticable improvement in the domestic condition of workers and of a long-term increase in wages (18%).  The national income of the USSR increased by 13% compared to 1930.  And – this was all during the time when the national income in all capitalist countries fell by 10-20%.

‘Let’s turn the first park of culture and rest in the USSR into an exemplary socialist combine of culture and rest.’

Report on the competition to re-design the Central Park (now Gorki Park)

Report on the competition to design the Central Park (now Luzhniki Olympic Complex)

Melnikov plan for Central Park of Culture and Rest

Melnikov plan for Central Park of Culture and Rest

Pages 9 to 17 are taken up with discussion of various designs for the new park layout.

Several architects and studios participate in the projects and propose a variety of interesting and unusual attractions such as a ‘Military Sector‘, an ‘Institute of K. Marx and F. Engels‘, a ‘Field of Mass Action‘, an ‘Alley of Illich‘, a ‘Parking and Road for Tanks‘, a ‘Scientific and Technical Combine‘, a ‘Hall of Factories‘, and even a ‘Landing Strip‘.

The most amusing and subversive suggestion is in the mischievous plan of Konstantin Melnikov, in which he includes a ‘Moving Pavement‘. This goes completely against the point of taking a walk in the park in the first place.

The article discusses 10 separate plans for the park, and then concludes:

……it must be noted that they did not pay much attention to the designing process.  They did not display control over their teams, and as a result, no design offered a satisfactory solution.

It goes on to say that, there were enough good ideas to be picked from all the plans together to allow a final design to be drawn up.  

Not a house – a ‘Living Combine’

This issue is rich in the progressive terminology language of the day.  It sees things in terms of industrialisation and socialisation of the country.


‘Designs for Workers’ Housing must be discussed among the working masses.  Designs for living combines for building in 1932′

The Shock Worker Cinema

The Shock Worker Cinema - Moscow (Iofan)

The Shock Worker Cinema – Moscow (Iofan)

This extraordinary building is situated just over the Bolshoi Kammeni Most from the Kremlin.  Its original design included a giant retractable segmented roof that allowed for open-air film viewing in the summer.  That roof has not worked for many decades.  The cinema formed part of a government development of the area, with the famous House on the Embankment and Estradi Theatre combining with the cinema to produce a self-contained luxury micro-district.  It was all designed by the celebrated architect, B. M. Iofan.  The Shock Worker building is currently undergoing renovation and should be reopening as a centre for modern art and performance.  Below is a view of the area taken in 2014.

House on the Embankment 2014

House on the Embankment 2014

Additional Information

Dimensions 21 x 29 cm