In the first year of Soviet rule all architects refusing to emigrate (and the new generation) denounced any classical heritage in their work and began to propagate formalism, the most influential of all Revivalist themes. Great plans were drawn for large, technically advanced cities. The most ambitious of all was the Monument to the Third International, planned in 1919 by Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953), а 400-meter spiral, wound around a tilted central axis with rotating glass chambers. Impossible in real life, the Tatlin Tower inspired a generation of Constructivist architects in Russia and abroad. The Shukhov Tower, rising 160 metres (520 ft) above Moscow, was completed in 1922.
According to the initial plans, the hyperboloid tower by Vladimir Shukhov with a height of 350 metres (1,150 ft) had an estimated mass of 2,200 tonnes (2,200,000 kg), while the Eiffel Tower in Paris (with a height of 350 metres (1,150 ft)) weighs 7,300 tonnes (7,300,000 kg). Residents of apartment buildings were sealed, they were hooked by new tenants.
The so-called kommunalka became the most common type of accommodation for the residents of large cities. In each communal apartment, one room belonged to one family, while the bathroom, toilet and kitchen were shared. Such a scheme was widespread until the mid-1950s, and in some cities, there are more communal apartments. At the same time in the 1930s for senior people began to build houses with separate bedroom apartments, where one family was given the whole apartment. An example of such a house is called House on the Embankment (Dom na Naberezhnaya) in Moscow, built in 1927–1931, respectively. An important priority during the post-revolutionary period was the mass reconstruction of cities. In 1918 Alexey Shchusev (1873–1949) and Ivan Zholtovsky founded the Mossovet Architectural Workshop, where the complex planning of Moscow's reconstruction as a new Soviet capital took place. The workshop employed young architects who later emerged as avant-garde leaders.
At the same time architectural education, concentrated in the Vkhutemas, was divided between revivalists and modernists. In 1919, Petrograd saw a similar planning and educational setup, headed by experienced revivalist Ivan Fomin (1872–1936). Other cities followed suit and the results of the work carried out there were to make dramatic changes in traditional Russian city layout. The first large-scale development templates (generally plan) were drawn there. The city was planned as a series of new wide avenues, massive public structures, and the improvement of workers' housing with heat and plumbing. The first apartment building of this period was completed in 1923, followed by a surge of public-housing construction in 1925–1929.
In Petrograd from 1917 to 1919 the first example of the new style was built on the Field of Mars – a monument, "Strugglers of the Revolution", designed by Lev Rudnev (1886–1956). This complex consisted of a series of simple, expressive granite monoliths and became the focal point for further development in Soviet sculptural and memorial architecture. The most famous construction of this time, however, was Lenin's Mausoleum by Alexey Shchusev. Originally it was a temporary wooden structure, topped by a pyramid, with two wings (for entry and exit). In 1930 it was replaced with the present building, built of stone. The combination of dark red and black labradorite enhanced its slender, precise construction. The rapid development of technological processes and materials also influenced constructivist elements in structural design. During the erection of the Volkhov Hydroelectric Station (1918–26, architects O.Munts and V.Pokrovsky), the traditional outline on the window arches is still used (despite concrete being used in construction).
The Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (1927–32), built by a collective of architects headed by Viktor Vesnin (1882–1950), has an innovative design featuring a curved dam with a rhythmic pattern of foundations. Creative unions played a large role in the architectural life of 1920s Russia. One of these was the Association of New Architects (ASNOVA), formed in 1923, which promoted the idea of synthesising architecture and other creative arts to give buildings an almost sculptural feeling. These buildings were to serve as visual points for the orientation of a human in space. Members of ASNOVA also designed Moscow's first skyscrapers, none of which were realised at the time (1923–1926). Another innovation from post-revolutionary Russia was a new type of public building: the Workers' Club and the Palace of Culture. These became a new focus for architects, who used the visual expression of large elements combined with industrial motifs.
The most famous of these was the Zuev Workers' Club (1927–29) in Moscow by Ilya Golosov (1883–1945), whose composition relied on the dynamic contrast of simple shapes, planes, complete walls and glazed surfaces. Symbolic expression in construction was a feature in works designed by Konstantin Melnikov (1890–1974), notably the Rusakov Workers' Club (1927–1929) in Moscow. Visually, the building resembles part of a gear; each of the three cantilevered concrete "teeth" is a balcony of the main auditorium, which could be used individually or combined into a large theatre hall. The sharpness of its composition and the "transition" of internal space (called by Melnikov a "tensed muscle") made it one of the most important examples of Soviet architecture.
POSTWAR SOVIET UNION
Stalinist architecture put a premium on conservative monumentalism. During the 1930s there was rapid urbanisation as a result of Stalin's policies, and there was an international competition to build the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow at that time. After 1945, the focus was on both rebuilding structures destroyed in World War II and erecting new ones: seven high-rise buildings were built at symbolic points in the Moscow area. The construction of Moscow University (1948–1953), by Lev Rudnev and associates, is particularly notable for its use of space. Another example is the Exhibition Centre in Moscow, built for the second All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) in 1954. This featured a series of pavilions, each decorated in representative style.
Other well-known examples are the stations of the Moscow and Saint Petersburg Metros built during the 1940s and 1950s, famous for their extravagant design and vivid decoration. In general, Stalinist architecture changed the appearance of many post-war cities; much survives to this day in central avenues and public buildings. Following Stalin's death in 1953, social and political changes rocked the country; construction priorities and architecture were also affected. In 1955 Nikita Khrushchev, faced with the slow pace of housing construction, called for drastic measures to accelerate the process. This involved developing new mass-production technology and removing "decorative extras" from buildings.
On special plants that were built in every major city had launched production of special concrete blocks ready openings for doors and windows of which were built houses. These prefabricated blocks were brought from the factory ready-made and installed on the steel frame of a house. Houses built in this way were called blockhouses. All projects such houses have become standardized and have been summarized in several series (for example II-32 series), which were built houses. Projects for a buyout built schools, kindergartens and hospitals were also typical.
This put an effective end to Stalinist architecture; however, the transition was slow. Most projects in the planning state or under construction by 1955 were directly affected; the result, at times, was entire areas becoming esthetically asymmetrical. A well-known example occurred in the postwar reconstruction of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in which the planned Kreschatik avenue and its central square (Ploschad Kalinina) were to form a single rich space enclosed by Stalinist construction. As the buildings enclosing the latter were in completion, the architects were forced to alter their plans and the area was left unfinished until the early 1980s. In particular Hotel Ukrayina, which was to crown the square with a look similar to one of Moscow's "Seven Sisters", was left as a solid shape without a top spire or any rich external decoration. Nevertheless, as the buildings became more square and simple they brought with them a new style fueled by the Space Age: functionality.
The State Kremlin Palace is an hommage to an earlier attempt to bridge rapidly changing styles dictated by the state. The Ostankino Tower, by Nikolai Nikitin, symbolizes technological advances and the future. In addition to simpler buildings, the 1960s are remembered for massive housing plans. A typical project was developed using concrete panels to make a simple, five-story house. These Pyatietazhki became the dominant housing construction. Although rapidly built, their quality was poor compared with earlier housing; their monotonous appearance contributed to the grey and dull stereotype characteristic of socialist cities.
As the 1970s began, Leonid Brezhnev allowed architects more freedom; soon, housing of varied design was built. Blocks of flats were taller and more decorated; large mosaics on their sides became a feature. In nearly all cases, these were built not as standalone construction but as part of large estates (French: housing massif) which soon became a central feature of socialist cities. In contrast to the houses built in the 1950s–1960s, which had up to 5 floors, new residential buildings were higher and could have up to nine or more floors, although the house with fewer floors continued to be built.
Each complex includes an extensive area with a yard for walks, a playground with swings, a sandbox for the games and sites for parking vehicles, which are often supplemented by garages for cars, lined up separately from the residential buildings. This principle remains today. Public buildings were built with a variety of themes. Some (like the White House of Russia) made direct connections to earlier 1950s architecture, with a white marble-faced exterior and large bas-reliefs on the wings.
As the Soviet Union fell apart, many of its projects were put on hold and some cancelled altogether. However, for the first time there was no longer any control over what theme a building should have or how high it should be. As a result, with generally improving financial conditions architecture grew at a high rate. For the first time modern methods of skyscraper construction were implemented, this resulted in an ambitious Moscow International Business Center. In other cases, architects returned to successful designs of Stalinist architecture, which resulted in buildings like the Triumph Palace in Moscow. New Classical Architecture is also appearing more consistently throughout modern Russia, with a large complex being proposed for Saint Petersburg.