Architecture in deconstruction | Alberto Ruiz

Building Narkomfinn in the Novinsky boulevard 25 (korpus B), Moscow, Russia (Ex-Soviet Union)
Font front 1930

Years ago I had the opportunity to visit the enclosure of what had been the universal exhibition of Seville of that glorious 1992 that seemed that it was going to put Spain in the place that was deserved (probably, I dress the seen, yes that did it). That visit was organized by a teacher of the School of Architecture of Madrid, author of one of the pavilions. A few years had happened from the closing of so great event and the enclosure it was practically left, with the exception of three or four pavilions that already in that moment had been re-turned into corporate headquarters and office blocks.

That teacher took us with air grieved to seeing his pavilion, which defined us as “architecture in deconstruction”. Accustomed to studying up to the satiety (or probably not so much) the constructive process of a building, and his period of use, was turning out to be shoking, and some kind of desesperanzador, to contemplate that heap of bricks without windows, with the average demolished ceiling and aspect of having suffered a gale. Only a few years had happened without use or maintenance.

This comes to account of the condition that there present some of these emblematic buildings “of those who go out in the books” and that we finish for forgetting, since to adorable but slightly heavy granddads and that, one day, we discover decrepit or directly deceased. We see his photos in black and white, admire his aspect, neat and precise – “already things are not done as them of before” – and sometimes, even we are surprised of it modern that they proved for his time. And it gives some brave one to for tracing his history and his current condition. And some surprises are disheartening. Let’s see an example:

The Narkomfin building was constructed in Moscow, between 1928 and 1932, as prototype of the new collectivist Russian housing, for the association of contemporary architects (OSA Group), directed by Moisei Ginzburg this building supposed, in his moment, an authentic laboratory of residential solutions for the new type of collectivity that was promoting the Soviet condition. Very removed from the impersonal and dehumanizing image associated with this type of projects, in the Narkomfin there developed a conscientious study of the typologys of housings adapted to the familiar composition and of the distribution of the common services, like social cooperative.

Building Narkomfinn in the Novinsky boulevard 25 (korpus B), Moscow, Russia (Ex-Soviet Union)
Later front 1930

The distribution of the housings, in section contrapeada, was allowing to optimize the surface dedicated to the corridor of traffic, which alone appears every three levels, and to provide to all the housings of light, conference and ventilations.

Departments Type F
Departments Type K
Section floors

The implicit references in the unit of room of marsella, are evident. During these years, Le Corbusier spent long seasons in the U.R.S.S. being employed at the order of the centrosoyuz and the contest of the palace of the soviets, so it is not disheveled to imagine that the mutual influence between both was important. In any case, this influence left two pieces of great architectural value to which the time has treated with unequal fortune.

Current State of the building Narkomfin | Source:

With regard to the current condition of conservation of the building, this documentary of the BBC is interesting.

Alberto Ruiz. Architect, teacher and investigator
Madrid. Octobere 2012

Es Doctor Arquitecto por la ETSAM, compaginando su actividad profesional con la docencia y la investigación en la URJC. Los artículos son un reflejo de la inquietud, reflexión y pensamiento en torno a mi pasión: la arquitectura.

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