Rus Articles Journal

Unknown Moscow. What had to become the Palace of Councils?

It is representable for a second what in the thirties the 20th century history of Moscow went a little in a different way? Let`s roll.

…. the center of Moscow, we go from the street Prechistenka Moscow aside - the rivers.

Before us the concrete area, absolutely improbable sizes is spread: here it is possible to put, at desire, the plane. And it is free. The space is not occupied by anything, city streets and houses it is not visible even in the distance. Cars - several thousands, not less - seem on the parking of this area a certain homogeneous mass. Figures of people are lost in such scales; from the region of the square to a grandiose monument in its center to go, to put it mildly, solidly.

The construction is really grandiose. It is known for all and to everyone the great project of the Soviet architecture, the enormous Palace of Councils of the USSR more than four hundred meters high with a hundred-meter statue of Lenin on a roof. The huge applicant for a rank of the eighth wonder of the world hanging over Zamoskvorechye and the center. The Cologne cathedral put near the Palace of Councils would seem the dwarf. The Eiffel Tower would not reach even the platform on which there is Lenin`s statue. Ostankino - at all not the competitor - though above, but fine concedes on impressiveness … it can and be not noticed near the huge building.

Familiar with history of Moscow will probably remember that here the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour once towered. And around it there was a set of streets, first of all, Volhonka and its lanes …

… will return to reality.

There is no terrible palace on the place of streets of old Moscow. The restored HHS - on the place. Across Volhonka there go cars and people go.

And the project really was …

Everything began

at the beginning of 20 - x years when there was an idea. According to Lunacharsky, Moscow as to “the red center of the world“, the symbol, “the visible architectural center“ was necessary. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was blown up in 1931 - on its place and was planned to put that visible center. Old Moscow saw from everywhere the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, New Moscow had to admire something much more grandiose, and, by itself, ideologically correct …

Despite abundance of competitive works, the final decision was not made by the commission: any of projects completely did not meet requirements, neither technically, nor externally.

Design was continued already more seriously in 1932 - 1933. And on May 10, 1933 Council of construction of the Palace of Councils decided:

“... 1. To approve the project of comrade of IOFANA of B. M. in a basis of the project of the Palace of Councils.

2. To finish the top part of the Palace of Councils a powerful sculpture of 50 of Lenin - 75 meters the Palace of Councils represented a type of a pedestal for Lenin`s figure. …“


as a result to the aid of Boris Iofan architects V. Gelfreykh and V. Shchuko were involved i. In 1939 the group of architects finished planning, and the embodiment of this grandiose idea in life began. It was necessary to finish all in five years. Of course, the Soviet construction, as usual, was started in huge scales in scanty terms.

And it began.

The project was truly grandiose. “Height of a construction had to make 420 meters (with V. I. Lenin`s statue), estimated volume equaled to seven and a half million cubic meters“, tell us reference books. Note are three times the volume of pyramid of Cheops. Experience pathetics of the moment …

the Big hall - one million cubic meters the volume, height of 100 meters and diameter 160 - had to accomodate more than 20 thousand people. It is comparable with a capacity of small stadium. It intended for Sessions of the Supreme Council, and also for various meetings. Actually, Muscovites who remember the pool “Moscow“ - the pool can really imagine its volume and there was a base of the hall. According to a legend, such function for a support of the Big hall to builders was prompted... the rains which quite often were filling in a concrete ring with water.

The Small Hall had to contain “only“ 6 thousand is to present scale, as in the Palace of Congresses (State Kremlin Palace).

Also the metro station, of the same name relied the palace. It is present station “Kropotkinskaya“. Unconventionally wide ladders “Libraries to them. Lenin“ were urged to bring citizens to the area on the place of the temple too.

Near the building it was decided to build the huge square and the parking at 5 thousand cars. It is natural as DS in the center of Moscow settled down (we will emphasize, in historic center), under this business it was required to clear the territory. The museum of Fine Arts is decided to be removed on 100 meters, Volhonka and adjacent lanes in general did not fit into a landscape, and therefore were sentenced to comparison with the earth.

The imagination even of the most indifferent reader will draw approximate volumes of construction materials which were required for this construction …

to the Sculptor Sergey Merkurov entrusted to build a huge statue of Lenin for the Palace of Councils. The sculpture was assumed 100 - meter (The Statue of Liberty - 93 meters) 6 tons of weight - Jesus Christ`s sculpture in Rio - - Zhaneyro, likely, all know, and so, its weight - less than two tons. On paper all this looked very effectively, however confidence that technically we realize the project at anybody was not. There was also an assumption that overcast over Moscow will not allow to consider a figure completely about 200 days in a year, leaving seen only statue legs. However, it confused nobody, the project was approved.

Appearance of a construction (the building in the standard sense there is a wish to call it, for some reason, not really) had to blow the mind. However it is easy to imagine, as if it looked - the solid sizes a monument with a statue at top, in the middle of the huge area, and all this in the context of the center of Moscow of the fortieth years - communication with an environment was absent as a class. The built DS would suppress huge size, unrecognizably changing a panorama of Moscow.

Problemno would be to contain and support technical equipment of the Palace. Its rooms - rich and huge - would be inconvenient to be used, it will understand any a little - malsk the competent engineer. “ … Placement of rooms in tiers of huge pyramidal volume would complicate their loading, communication and evacuation, the equipment and lighting. Exaggeration of volume of the building would cause unjustified expenses of work and materials at its construction and would increase operation cost...“

The project as we see now, was not realized. Most of researchers agree in opinion that fortunately - as most likely realization would lead it to irreparable distortions in the image of the capital and - why is not present? - outlook of its inhabitants.

… Building was rather actively conducted in the first half of 1930 - x years, however then slowed down. In Moscow other objects in large quantities, much more necessary to the city were under construction. In breed under the base of DS there was a quicksand that created difficulties of geological character. Eventually, the Great Patriotic War began, metal designs of the Palace of Councils were sorted during war: the country was in great need in materials.

After a victory did not begin to continue - all available resources for restoration were required for the country, besides, it was possible to prove greatness of the communistic power after defeat of Fascist Germany already and without exceptional buildings … Despite it, at Council of ministers of the USSR some more years existed management of construction of the Palace of Councils. Then it trained for a new profession on construction of other multystoried buildings, the benefit, saved up experience on design big.