The Future of Narkomfin and Russia's Constructivist Legacy: a Conversation with Architect Alexey Ginzburg

the rear facade showing Le Corb's principles: first floor raised on pilotis, free plan facade, flat roof, ribbon windows, free internal plan

the rear facade showing Le Corb's principles: first floor raised on pilotis, free plan facade, flat roof, ribbon windows, free internal plan

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A discussion with the lead architect on the conservation project for the world famous Narkomfin building, the first Constructivist building to be built in the Soviet Union. Ginzburg is the grandson of the original architect of the building, ideologue of Constructivism - Moisei Ginzburg.  Alexey will also talk about the upcoming publication of english translations of his grandfather's books "Rhythm in Architecture" and "Style and Epoch," which are being supported by Ginzburg Design Limited. Alexey Ginzburg recently completed the restoration of the exterior of the Izvestiya building in Moscow, another important monument of Constructivism, and will talk about the wider problems facing buildings of the avant garde in Moscow today. In conversation with Pushkin House Director Clem Cecil.

About Narkomfin
Narkomfin was constructed between 1928 and 1930 as semi-communal housing for the workers of the Soviet Union’s first Commissariat of Finances. It was commissioned by the then Commissar of Finance, Nikolai Milyutin, a trained town planner with radical and experimental ideas. To realise his ideas he turned to leading Constructivist architect Moisei Ginzburg with the project, who worked with young architect Ignati Milinis and structural engineer Sergei Prokhorov. In line with Le Corbusier's five rules, the building stands on pilotis, has a free internal plan unconstrained by load-bearing walls, a free facade that does not necessarily reflect the internal functions or layout, ribbon windows stretching across the entire facade, and a flat roof terrace that provides a garden for the building’s inhabitants. Concrete bricks were made on site and traditional materials were used in experimental ways. Milyutin moved into a penthouse on the roof. 
The building fell out of favour in 1932 and fell into disrepair although it was always lived in. It has recently come into new ownership. 

an apartment pre 'restoration'/ 'remont' photograph by Richard Pare

an apartment pre 'restoration'/ 'remont' photograph by Richard Pare