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Likhachev Palace of Culture

Moscow, Russia
Likhachev Palace of Culture (c) Denis Esakov, 2015
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Likhachev Palace of Culture (c) Denis Esakov, 2015

In 1930, a competition was held for the Proletarsky District Palace of Culture, to be built on the site of the demolished Simonov Monastery. After the competition ended with no clear winner, the task was awarded to the Vesnin brothers, who had not taken part in the competition. The architecture that was finally approved can be seen as one of the last, and most voluminous examples of a Constructivist workers’ club.

The Vesnins’ original proposal, influenced by Le Corbusier’s ideas of “flowing spaces”, comprised two buildings – a complex T-shaped public services building with a 1,000 seat theatre hall, large dancing space, a library for 200,000 volumes and winter gardens, and a detached 4,000 seat main theatre. Only the latter did not materialize. The smaller hall was inaugurated in 1933, construction of the public services building dragged until 1937. Unlike other constructivist buildings of the period, “enhanced” by Stalinist façades, the Palace of Culture was completed in precise agreement with the 1930 drafts. After World War II its exterior was, indeed, altered but all the Stalinist additions were stripped in the 1970s. Throughout most of its history, the Likhachev Palace of Culture was operated by the automotive factory ZIL, which is located nearby. Today the building houses the Avtosavod Club.

4/1 Vostochnaya ulitsa