Details

Keywords Change this

Constructivism

Project timeline

1928 – 1932

Type

Residential

Location Change this

Novinskiy bulvar 25
Moscow
Russia

Current state

Original

Architect Change this

__

Article last edited by basman98 on
July 11th, 2013

Narkomfin Building Change this

Moscow, Russia
by Moisei Ginzburg Change this

The building in 2009

1 of 9

Description Change this

The Narkomfin Building is a block of flats in Moscow, designed by Moisei Ginzburg with Ignaty Milinis in 1928, and finished in 1932. Only two of four planned buildings were completed. The building is squeezed between old and new territories of the United States Embassy on 25, Novinsky Boulevard. A fine example of Constructivist architecture and avant-garde interior planning, it is presently in a dilapidated state; most units stand empty.

This apartment block, designed for workers at the Commissariat of Finance (shortened to Narkomfin) was an opportunity for Ginzburg to try out many of the theories advanced by Constructivist groups in the course of the 1920s on architectural form and communal living. The building is made from reinforced concrete and is set in a park. It originally consisted of a long block of apartments raised on pilotis (with a penthouse and roof garden), connected by an enclosed bridge to a smaller, glazed block of collective facilities.

By offering communal facilities such as kitchens, creches and laundry as part of the block, the tenants were encouraged into a more socialist and, by taking women out of their traditional roles, feminist way of life. The structure was thus to act as a 'social condenser' by including within it a library and gymnasium.

On the other hand, architects of 1920s had to face the social reality of an overcrowded city: any single-family apartment unit with more than one room would eventually be converted to a multi-family kommunalka. Apartments could retain the single-family status if, and only if, they were physically small and could not be partitioned to accommodate more than one family. Any single-level apartment could be partitioned. Thus the architects of the avant-garde like Ginzburg and Konstantin Melnikov designed such model units, relying on a vertical separation of bedroom (top level) and combined kitchen and living room (lower level).

Narkomfin currently has 54 units, none of them has a dedicated kitchen but many residents partitioned their apartments to set aside a tiny kitchen. There are five inhabited floors, but only two corridors on second and fourth level (an apartment split between third and second level connects to the second floor corridor, etc.).

Sources

Comments

Posted by Guest | Friday, March 1st, 2013 | 21:02pm
Hello Carol,Yes, the Narkomfin building is worth to be restored. Are you interested in an exhibition we are preparing about this building? This will take place in december 2013.Are you living in Moskou? Please let me know,
best regards, Alice Roegholt
Posted by Guest | Sunday, November 18th, 2012 | 02:42am
A great many historically significant buildings have been or are being renovated in Moscow. I wonder how this icon has been so neglected? Its condition had further deteriorated in 2012, and if steps are not soon taken it may difficult to rescue and preserve this interesting example. Having never been inside it, I wonder if anyone has images of the interior to share?

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