Palace of Soviets in Moscow: the project.
Who knows, maybe the whole история would our country go the other way if this building were completed and functioned to this day? What could be this building, obliged to emphasize the scale and grandeur of the achievements of the Soviet Union, and the important role of the management administration of the USSR? Let us, for a short time, plunge into the world of ideas, where it quietly exists along with the lost wonders of the world, not built ships and monuments; with heroes of novels and fantastic worlds; with unconfirmed theories ... Just imagine what this fantastic Palace of Soviets could be.
Let's start with the fact that the building was designed in such a way that various departments (such as the State Archives and the Presidium of the Supreme Council) could simultaneously work there. The first step towards the development of the idea of such a construction was the competition of projects in 31. It came 270 applications from creative teams, and personal applications and even more: 160 works of professional architects, 100 civilian works. In addition, 24 applications came from foreigners. Such a magnitude was this event. However, the winners were determined only at the end of the second stage of the competition, in the 33 year.
The project was taken by Iofan B.M. (however, it is easy to guess how much the idea of the architect was changed), and Gelfreich V. and Shchuko V. should have helped him. But they, of course, were far from the only ones whose ideas influenced this project.
The idea of decorating the roof with a statue of Lenin, for example, belonged to the Italian A. Brasini. As a result, the concept of the palace, created by Iofan, completely turned upside down: a huge statue began to look central to this plan. As if not a sculpture decorates a palace, but a palace is only a pedestal for it. Later, the architect Le Corbusier appealed to Stalin with a request to abandon the construction of the palace according to such a plan, justifying this by saying that such a building is a "declining spirit", "an absurd thing." But the leader, of course, did not deviate from the intended plan.
Despite the fact that 42 was appointed the graduation year, the work could not start earlier than the 31 year. There was simply no suitable place for such a huge building. But in 31, when the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was blown up, there was an empty seat. It was then that, after clearing the site of the explosion, and began digging a huge pit.
The construction of the palace itself is worth a closer look. Many of the existing buildings would envy such a plan. This palace was not just a large building with a pompous design, it could become the cultural and administrative center of all of Moscow! It is worth noting that such an idea was very risky in terms of security. Who puts all the eggs in one basket?
The land also did not help in the construction of the palace, namely, its whimsical mixed composition at the construction site and groundwater such that they were able to destroy concrete over time. So the requirements for the technical project were very high. To combat the influence of groundwater decided using bituminization. This process consists in drilling around the future foundation of a multitude of wells through which bitumen is pumped into limestone at high temperatures up to two hundred degrees under high pressure. Thus, the water blocked access to the foundation.
The foundation had to withstand a load of over 500 thousand tons. Strength was achieved due to the large depth. Thus, most of the load was transferred to the ground. The foundation was composed of two concrete rings with a diameter of 140 and 160 meters, a height of 20,5 and a thickness of 3,5 meters, and the foundation of the central part of the building alone required 100 thousand cubic meters of concrete. In total, two thousand foundations with a total volume of 250 thousand cubic meters of concrete had to be built for a common basement floor!
Concreting the foundation.
The metal frame of the building was also not easy to manufacture, because it was necessary to inscribe in it the dome of a large hall, 130 meters in diameter and 100,6 meters in height. A support for this huge dome were to be 64 columns, evenly distributed in diameter in pairs. Naturally, the metal frame had to pass through them. I suppose it was not easy to build something similar on a reduced scale, but on a scale of one to one it was fantastic at all. After all, the weight of the metal frame of the Palace of Soviets on the project was supposed to be approximately 200 thousand tons! One hundred thousand tons of this frame should have been made of special steel, which was even given a special name - “Steel of the Palace of Soviets”. VTS came out at 15% more expensive than an equal amount of ordinary construction steel, but it was much stronger and less resistant to corrosion, which was undoubtedly worth it.
The design of the Palace of the Soviets.
The skeleton of the palace came out four times heavier than the skeleton of the Empire State Building. What the newspapers soon wrote about, wanting to be everywhere. Due to the complexity and magnitude of the design, it would have to be assembled into four approaches, not counting intermediate checks. The walls of the palace had to be assembled from hollow ceramic blocks due to the fact that they weighed much less than the same brick and at the same time had a positive effect on noise and heat insulation. The thickness of the walls everywhere was to be the same - 0,3 meter.
In the building of the Palace of Soviets they were going to accommodate: the State Archives, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the museum of world art, the library, the halls of both Chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the halls of the Civil War and the Building of Socialism. Near the palace there had to be a parking with a capacity of five thousand cars, so the appearance of the city would have to be significantly changed.
The grand hall of the palace was supposed to look like an amphitheater with a circular arena on 20 thousands of seats. Area - 12 thousand square meters. meters, and the volume - 970 thousand cubic meters. Consequently, its volume should have been about the same as that of all the auditoriums, theaters and cinema of Moscow (of that time, of course) combined.
According to the project in the Great Hall were designated places for the press, diplomats, the presidium and specially invited guests. A round arena during meetings, round tables and other important events, if necessary, could be taken as a partner, and during entertainment performances (circus or theater) or during sports performances, it should have been freed from the chairs. For convenience, the ground floor could be easily lowered into the hold specially provided under it. In addition, there were planned antentals, smoking rooms, lobbies. We can say that everything was calculated down to the smallest detail.
The area of the Small Hall according to the plan was approximately equal to 3500 square. meters and had at the same time to accommodate more than five thousand people. Thus, this hall could become for those times the largest theatrical platform in the whole of Europe. The area of the Small Hall is more than a thousand square meters. meters Next to this hall it was planned to place four audiences, with a total capacity of 1400 seats, and yes even a library with reading rooms and classrooms. Here, in fact, the Palace!
Without powerful ventilation in a building where so many people were supposed to fit, it would be impossible to breathe, so it was designed on average for 1000 performance in thousands of cubic meters of air per hour. Under the dome, all the heated and polluted air had to be collected, from where it should be drawn out by powerful fans. The designers also took a close look at the air conditioning system: the regulation of temperature and humidity should have been flawless.
On the ground floor it was supposed to arrange technical premises: on the regulation of heating, ventilation, water supply and electrical supply, as well as medical services and the like. The holds of the arena halls were also located here.
However, the designers paid special attention to the aspect of movement inside the palace, because there could be up to 30 thousands of people in it, and it was important to eliminate the crowding on the stairs, panic and accidents during emergencies. In addition, the volume of the building is enormous, and with a shortage of elevators and transitions to get to the right place, people would have to make a big detour. So, not counting the lifts for technical and household needs, inside the building were to install 62 escalators and 99 elevators. So, according to the planners' calculations, the evacuation of the filled palace could have been accomplished in 10 minutes.
The exterior decoration of the Palace of Soviets, meanwhile, was planned in accordance with the idea of a “Palace - a pedestal for the monument to Lenin”. The metal that was supposed to be used in the decoration of the facade was also supposed to be used in sculpting the statue, thanks to which the Palace of Soviets and the sculpture on it would be perceived holistically and indivisibly, even though the statue looks somewhat alien. According to the plan, the height of the statue of Lenin reached 100 meters, so for the history of architecture a palace with such a “roof” would be simply unique.
The total height of the Palace of Soviets, from ground level to its highest point on the head of the statue of VI. Lenin (who, by the way, was entrusted to Merkulov), according to the plan, was 420 meters. And this is 13 meters above the Empire State Building, the tallest building of those years!
It seemed that nothing was impossible for the USSR. Indeed, in the 1937 year, when the construction of this monumental building began, everything was subordinated to the iron hand of the authorities. Before the war, they even managed to build it up to the height of the tenth floor of a residential building. However, due to the costs associated with the beginning of the Second World War, construction was canceled, and all the metal trim and frame of the building had to be dismantled and given away as materials for the construction of strategically important bridges. After the war, the building was gathered to finish building, but then the race for the creation of the atomic bomb began, then Stalin died, then ...
So the project remained only on paper, in memories and humorous references in films. Later, the Palace of Soviets was often criticized for its disproportion with other historical buildings of Moscow, incompatibility with the surrounding urban architecture, for “super-monumentality of forms” ... Yes, the palace’s exterior design was discouraging, but it could still become a monument to its era embodying its mores and scope.
Pool on the site of the Palace of the Soviets.
The foundation of the palace was soon modified to an outdoor pool, which worked for many years, delighting Muscovites. And later, in its place, they nevertheless restored the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Yes, the temple on the urban landscape looks much more familiar, and it's hard to argue with that.
Well, what would have happened if the Palace of Soviets had been built after all? Most likely, the USSR collapsed even earlier because of the exorbitant costs of maintaining this fancy building. But you must admit, it would be curious to visit him, even after the fall of socialism, because without a doubt it would have been made accessible for excursions in any case. It seems to me that the Palace of Soviets could attract so many tourists that it would eventually work out the costs of its construction. Let it now soar only in the world of ideas, together with an ideal society, maybe in today's Russia someday, looking back at the past, will be able to create something equally grandiose, but more viable.