Palace of the Soviets

The Palace of the Soviets (Russian: Дворец Советов, Dvorets Sovetov) was a project to construct a political convention center in Moscow on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The main function of the palace was to house sessions of the Supreme Soviet in its 130-metre (430 ft) wide and 100-metre (330 ft) tall grand hall seating over 20,000 people. If built, the 416-metre (1,365 ft) tall palace would have become the world's tallest structure, with an internal volume surpassing the combined volumes of the six tallest American skyscrapers.[10]

Palace of the Soviets
Дворец Советов
The definitive 1937 design on a postage stamp. Early design specifications required that the Palace should serve as a gigantic triumphal arch for the masses of demonstrants marching through the arena of the grand hall. By 1937 this requirement was dropped.
General information
StatusNever built
TypeAdminitstrative and convention center
Architectural styleArt Deco, neoclassicism, Stalinist architecture
LocationMoscow, site of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Coordinates55°44′40″N 37°36′20″E
Groundbreaking1933[1]
Construction stopped1941[2][3]
Height416 m (1,365 ft) (1937 variant)[4][5]
Dimensions
Diameter130 m (430 ft) (grand hall, internal)
160 m (520 ft) (central core, external)[6][7]
Weight1.5 million metric tons[8]
Technical details
Lifts/elevators187[9]
Design and construction
ArchitectBoris Iofan, Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Helfreich

Boris Iofan won a series of four architectural competitions held in 1931–1933 marking the beginning of a sharp turn of Soviet architecture from 1920s modernism to the monumental historicism of Stalinist architecture. The individuals behind these events and their motives remain a matter of conjecture and debate. Recent research supports the hypothesis that Iofan had been the chosen architect from the very start and manipulated the competitions to his own benefit.

The definitive design by Iofan, Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Helfreich was conceived in 1933–1934 and took its final shape in 1937. The staggered stack of ribbed cylinders crowned with a 100-metre (330 ft) statue of Vladimir Lenin blended Art Deco and neoclassical influences with contemporary American skyscraper technology. Work on the site commenced in 1933; the foundation was completed in January 1939. The German invasion in June 1941 ended the project. Engineers and workers were diverted to defense projects or pressed in the army; the installed structural steel was disassembled in 1942 for fortifications and bridges.

After World War II, Joseph Stalin lost interest in the palace. Iofan produced several revised, scaled-down designs but failed to reanimate the project. The alternative Palace of the Soviets in Sparrow Hills, which was proposed after Stalin's death, did not proceed beyond the architectural competition stage.


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