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Russian State Library

Moscow, Russia
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Construction of the first stage, designed by Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh in 1927-1929, was authorized in 1929 and commenced in 1930.

Initial draft comprised a complex network of lowrise buildings facing Mokhovaya Street and a π-shaped highrise tower of the main depository in the back of block.

As-built structure disposed with the complexity of the original proposal; the depository, completed in 1941, is a plain 19-floor elongated slab. Among many artists involved in decorating the Library, Shchuko is personally credited for the design of the sculptural frieze facing Mokhovaya and Vozdvizhenka streets. Modern authors consider the Library, along with Mayakovskaya, to be Moscow's nearest approximations of Art Deco style and compare it to the 1937 Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

In the process, the building acquired the modernized neoclassicism exterior features of the Palace of Soviets (co-designed by Shchuko and Gelfreikh), departing from the stern modernism of the 1927 drafts. The last component of Shchuko's plan, a 250-seat reading hall, was opened in 1945; further additions continued until 1960. In 1968 the building reached its capacity, and the library launched construction of a new depository in Khimki, earmarked for storing newspapers, scientific works and low-demand books from the main storage areas. The first stage of Khimki library was complete in 1975.

In 1925 the complex was renamed the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR, and remained so until 1992 when it was given its present name.