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7 January 2022, 09:02

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Photo by D. Grishkin. Press Service of the Mayor and the Moscow Government

The third online review of the monuments of Moscow architecture has appeared on the tourist portal Discover Moscow. This time it is dedicated to buildings and structures built in the Stalinist Empire style. They impress with their scale and bold decisions of architects and builders.

As part of the series “Architectural Styles of Moscow”, the tourist portal Discover Moscow tells about some of the most magnificent buildings in the capital – monuments of the Stalinist Empire… This style prevailed from the mid 1930s to the mid 1950s.

The legacy of the so-called era of the grand style still impresses Muscovites and tourists, creating a unique image of the city. Site Visitors discermoskov.comthey will find out who designed the famous Moscow skyscrapers, the Northern River Station and the building of the Central Academic Theater of the Russian Army, as well as at which metro stations you can find features of the Stalinist Empire style. It is worth noting that this trend in architecture is very eclectic and combines elements of the Renaissance, Baroque, Empire style of the Napoleonic era, late classicism, post-constructivism, art deco, as well as neo-gothic.

Admire the skyscrapers and look at VDNKh

First, the portal recommends looking at the most famous seven sisters in Moscow. This is how high-rise buildings are called, among which are the Leningradskaya and Ukraina hotels, the building of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov on Sparrow Hills, houses on Kudrinskaya Square, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment, as well as an administrative and residential building on Krasnye Vorota Square and the Foreign Ministry building on Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square.

Famous architects of their time – Mikhail Posokhin, Boris Iofan, Dmitry Chechulin, were involved in their construction, and the location of the buildings was chosen taking into account the specific characteristics: the skyscrapers had to be clearly visible from different points of the city.

Some projects began to be implemented before the start of the Great Patriotic War, but the construction was completed after its end. In many ways, the aesthetics of skyscrapers determined the new course of positioning of Moscow – the monumental capital of the victorious country.

But, despite the similar silhouettes, each of them turned out to be unique: in the architecture of the Foreign Ministry building, you can see the details of New York neo-Gothic, and the hipped roofs of the skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment refer to Russian architecture and resemble elements of the towers of the Moscow Kremlin.

The next place of acquaintance with the Stalinist Empire style can be the territory of VDNKh. The architectural ensemble of the country’s main exhibition was intended to reflect all the greatness of the Soviet Union. The arch of the main entrance and the pavilions were specially conceived to be so large-scale.

The hallmark of the style is traditionally pavilion No. 1 “Central”: a monumental three-tiered building with a gold star was built in 1954 – for the post-war reopening of the exhibition. The facade of the building is framed by a colonnade, which is decorated with stucco garlands and bas-reliefs of the coats of arms of the Soviet republics, the second tier is distinguished by neoclassical forms, and the building is crowned with a characteristic spire with a five-pointed star.

Another example of this monumental style is the building of the Central Academic Theater of the Russian Army (formerly the departmental theater of the Armed Forces of the USSR). It was built from 1934 to 1940. From above, the building has the shape of a five-pointed star. It is decorated with a colonnade along the perimeter. The author of the project was the architect Karo Halabyan. The interiors of this theater are fully consistent with its appearance. They are just as majestic and monumental: painted frescoes on the ceilings, lush chandeliers in the halls and huge decorative shades in the foyer.

Find the Stalinist Empire style in the metro and at the Northern River Station

The Stalinist Empire style inherited the features of classicism, baroque and art deco. You can find them in the interiors of the platform halls and in the design of ground lobbies at the first metro stations. Thus, the influence of the Baroque and Classicism can be traced in the design of the lobby of Komsomolskaya on the Circle Line (1952) – the station with stucco-decorated arches and magnificent mosaic panels was conceived as the entrance gate of the capital. In the interiors of another iconic station of the Stalinist era – Mayakovskaya (1938) – you can find Art Deco elements: metal frames of the columns and an abundance of smooth lines.

Another impressive architectural monument in the Stalinist Empire style is the Northern River Station. Its ensemble was built from 1933 to 1937. The station building is shaped like a ship with a pipe in the form of a spire. The main building was adjoined by two arched galleries, and the fountains “North” and “South” with sculptures of dolphins and polar bears complemented the look.

The large-scale restoration of the Northern River Station was completed in the fall of 2020. Prior to that, the station was closed for a long time, the building was in disrepair. Now it not only serves passengers during the navigation season, but is also a cultural center where concerts, exhibitions and other events are held.

Discover Moscow, a new travel portal for the city of Moscow, was launched in July 2021. The site contains useful information necessary for a comfortable trip to the capital. Tourists can learn here about useful city services, read about interesting events that take place in Moscow, find information about a variety of attractions, watch online excursions and create a virtual walking route based on their tastes and preferences. All information is presented in three languages: Russian, English and Chinese.

Visitors to discovermoscow.com can also learn about iconic buildings in the style constructivism and modernism in the previous materials of the cycle “Architectural Styles of Moscow”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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