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    imageMagical Urbanism, a website about urbanization, design and social change, is maintained by Mike Ernst. I'm an urban planner and designer based in New York City. I graduated from the Masters of City Planning program at UC Berkeley.

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    The Unbuilt Architecture of the Soviet Union

    The unbuilt architecture of Moscow

    An array of unbuilt buildings that were to dot the Soviet landscape. Most show the absurdities of high modernism, beautiful on paper but impracticable for people. Above, the Palace of Soviets.

    The competition for the Palace of Soviets in Moscow was one of the most extensive and impressive of this century. The idea of constructing a building which could be a symbol of the “imminent triumph of communism” in the capital of the world’s first state of workers and peasants was mooted in the 1920s. The chosen location was the site of the demolished Church of Christ the Saviour.

    Here, the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry:

    The unbuilt architecture of Moscow

    The Aeroflot Building:

    The unbuilt architecture of Moscow

    The Heroes’ Arch, a monument to the heroic defenders of Moscow:

    The unbuilt architecture of Moscow


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    3 responses to “The Unbuilt Architecture of the Soviet Union”

    1. nugget says:

      Have you ever checked out photos of the House of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania? It’s the largest in Europe (3rd largest in the world), and sort of epitomizes the Soviet/Communist supersized architecture style:

      I’ve read that there were plans afoot to build an even bigger building somewhere in Bucharest, but Ceausescu was overthrown before he got around to it. Yikes. I really wanted to make it to Bucharest to check out the Palace, but ran out of time. Ah well. Next time!

    2. Mike says:

      Cool building. It really does look like these illustrations.

      Thanks for the link, Nugget.

    3. trysca says:

      This is the same sort of thing in Warsaw- the poles hate it but its the most dramatic structure in the city from that era:

      but i understand that 7 similar towers the ‘seven sisters’ were built in Moscow