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The ideas of modern movement and its realisation in architecture of 1920-1930 in Novosibirsk.

Matveeva L. L.


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The emergence of the architecture of a new type in the 1920s became an international phenomenon. New type buildings construction seized the cities not only in the Western Europe, the USA, but also in a far Siberia in the USSR. Such a powerful and total movement of new ideas in architecture was not by chance, it was prepared by the whole previous European history of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Natural scientific approach and rationalism created by a New time epoch became the basis of engineering attitude to the world, belief in an unlimited progress and reconstruction of life on reasonable foundations.

Not belittling all the "Modern Movement" achievements in the West it is possible to suppose that powerful passages in the theoretical groundings of the style and its purest expression were realised in the 1920-s in the post-revolutionary USSR, as it is here that the political realisation of the State became the logical continuation of the ideas and principals of the rational engineering attitude to reality. Rationalistic disposition of architects like children of "engineering" epoch strengthened in the USSR by the State ideology of reality reconstruction and building a "New world" became the very soil on which new formative ideas grew rapidly. Rationality and following the method becoming professional values found their implementation both in the development of purely formal, visual, compositional methods and attempts to express in the buildings architecture the functional and technological processes, and in the social experiments on the reconstruction of life on collective foundations.

Short in time but powerful in its implemented results, the period of the "Modern Movement" ideas expansion has its continuation in the new city of Novosibirsk coming into being in 1893 on the new Trans-Siberian railway from the settlement of the builders of the railway bridge across the Ob river and only in 1904 receiving the city status. The new architecture invaded particularly in the time when its metropolitan functions as a centre of a newly created in 1925 Siberian Region, uniting 5 former provinces of the pre-revolutionary Russia began to form.

All this caused the unique concentration of "Modern Movement" architecture objects on the territory of the historical centre of Novosibirsk, despite the fact that already in 1930s the search and experiments were stopped by the official leadership of the country. The government strove to take under a total control not only the economic and social, but also cultural sphere, including art and architecture. Proclaimed by the authorities the superiority of the socialist way of development, strict ideological opposing it to the Western culture, introduction of a professional censorship and an official sanctioning of the simplified classic examples reproduction has led to the isolation of the Soviet, and at the same time the Novosibirsk architecture, from the world process. But it is this concurrence of circumstances, galloping speed and at the same time the force of flow of the "Modern Movement" seizing Novosibirsk, that caused the uniqueness of the city architecture appearance.

Purely constructivism principles and methods of the new architecture showed themselves on the Siberian soil much later than in the Western Europe, Moscow and Leningrad. But their introduction has been prepared in 1926-1927 by the works of the local architecture school leader A.D.Kryachkov in the neo-classicism and rationalist modern styles. These directions in architecture suggesting the forming of "a rational beauty" on the basis of certain rules and regulations already in its essence were based on the rational attitude to reality. Buildings of the State institutions of Siberia (Siberian Podvorye), Sibrevkom, Textilsyndicate and Sibkraisoyuz constructed in this period by A.D.Kryachkov as a talented provincial reply, as an answer to the mastering of the new for that period of time frame ferro-concrete constructions remained in the Novosibirsk architecture as the "approaches" to the constructivism forms.

At the same time, the ideas of the "Modern Movement" in the conditions of the new Siberian centre have been transformed and implemented in different forms. Newly formed metropolitan functions of Novosibirsk created conditions to implement here the functional approach ideas. The most expressive examples are the "Business House",1 the "Goselectrosyndicate" building (1928-1929), "Prombank",2 Railway Department (1930), Gosbank,3 Kraiispolkom,4 the Building of the Western-Siberian Railway Department.5 New kinds of public and cultural activities coming into being under post-revolutionary conditions implemented themselves in the Club buildings of the new type. To these we may refer the Palace of Labour,6 the Club of Sovtorgslouzhaschikh, one of the first workers` clubs,7 the Club of the soap factory (1932), the Building of the "Dynamo" Sports Club,8 the Building of the first in Novosibirsk Aeroclub (1934).

Other directions of the "Modern Movement" implemented in Novosibirsk and connected with the post-revolutionary reconstruction of life are the attempts to arrange life on the common foundations, as well as the solution of the housing problem, figuratively speaking, as the production process continuation in one more shop – residential. Built in the 1930s the commune-house representing two 4-story buildings, connected on the first floor by the passages with a 2-story service block are believed to belong to the first direction. To the second one – numerous complexes and separate residential buildings: 4-story building of ZHAKT "Pyatiletka" (1930s), the complex of the "Dynamo" Association, including the "Sibir" Hotel and the residential building,9 residential complex of "Kousbassugol" Co-operative, consisting of six 4-5-story buildings and a 3-story school,10 the complex of residential buildings of "Petchatnik" Co-operative – three 4-5-story buildings,11 residential 100-apartment complex in the vicinity of the Railway Terminal, including four 4-story residential buildings.12

Of a great interest is the stylistic search of the pure forms, visual and compositional methods. In this direction much has been done for Novosibirsk by the Muscovites, making the designs in 1925-1927.13 A noticeable trace in the search of the new architecture forms was left by the creative team under the leadership of Boris Gordeev, invited to work in Novosibirsk; S.P.Tourgenev, N.V.Nikitin, D.M.Ageev, B.A.Bitkin were the members of the team. In Novosibirsk they built more than 20 objects in a constructivism style, including residential complexes of Kraisnabsbit (House with the Clock), "Dynamo" Association, "Kousbassugol" Co-operative, "Politkatorzhanin" Society, 100-apartment complex in the vicinity of the Railway Terminal, House-centre of MIA, residential building of "Soyuzzoloto" Co-operative and "Dynamo" Sport Complex.

Being able to find his place in the new direction, in 1930 A.D.Kryachkov makes the design and constructs the building of the State Bank on the Central Square, this building becoming the peak of his personal creative activity and one of the best buildings in the city. Together with B.A.Gordeev, S.P.Tourgenev and N.V.Nikitin, A.D.Kryachkov also makes the design and constructs the monumental building of Kraiispolkom, which is now believed to be a beautiful specimen of the constructivism architecture.

At present, in Novosibirsk there is a great number of buildings which were designed in the constructivism style, but in the process of construction, starting from the second half of 1930s got another stylistic appearance. The most significant of them is the Opera and Ballet House14 and the Railway Terminal "Novosibirsk-Glavnyi" – one of the largest railway terminals in the country.15

A short, but fruitful period of development of the Novosibirsk architecture formed a powerful layer of the city environment greatly determining the image and appearance of the Novosibirsk centre today. By now, more than 80 "Modern Movement" objects have been revealed and registered in the State monuments protection bodies, these objects requiring a thorough study and preservation as a noticeable part of the world architecture heritage.


  1. "Dom s chasami" (Krasnyj prospekt, 11)
  2. KrajIspolKom (Krasnyj prospekt, 18)
  3. Delovoj dom (Krasnyj prospekt, 25)
  4. Zhilischnyj kombinat "Dinamo" (Krasnyj prospekt, 28, ul. Oktjabr'skaja, 45)
  5. Dom zhiloj kooperativa "KUZBASSUGOL'" (Krasnyj prospekt, 51)
  6. Klub SovTorgSluzhaschih (ul. Lenina, 24)
  7. Dom-kommuna, (ul. Revoljucii, 36)
  8. Dom-kombinat, zhiloj (ul. Serebrennikovskaja, 23)
  9. Poliklinika (ul. Serebrennikovskaja, 42)
  10. GosBank (Krasnyj prospekt, 27)
  11. Upravlenie Zapadno-Sibirskoj zheleznoj dorogi (Vokzal'naja magistral', 14)
  12. Sportivnyj klub "Dinamo" (ul. Kommunisticheskaja, 60)

Top specialist of Scientific-Production Centre
on the Historical and Cultural Heritage Preservation
of the Novosibirsk Regional Administration

  1. ar.D.F.Fridman, 1926-1928
  2. eng.-ar.A.Shvidkovsky, ar.G.P.Golts, 1926-1927
  3. ar. A.D.Kryachkov, 1930
  4. ar. A.D.Kryachkov, S.P.Tourgenev, B.A.Gordeev, 1931-1933
  5. ar. A.N.Shiryaev, Vengerov, 1935
  6. ar.T.Y.Bardt, I.S.Alekseev, eng.S.A.Shestov, 1926
  7. eng.I.A.Bourlakov, 1928
  8. ar.B.A.Gordeev, S.P.Tourgenev, eng.N.V.Nikitin, 1933
  9. ar.B.A.Gordeev, S.P.Tourgenev, eng.N.V.Nikitin, 1930s
  10. ar. B.A.Gordeev, D.M.Ageev, B.A.Bitkin, 1931-1934
  11. ar.V.A.Korshounov, 1928-1930
  12. ar. B.A.Gordeev, S.P.Tourgenev, 1928-1933
  13. engineer-architect A.Shvidkovsky, architect -artist G.P.Golts, architect, professor D.F.Fridman, Gosstroi engineer S.A. Shestov, architect P.Scheckin
  14. ar.A.Z.Grinberg, T.Y.Bardt, A.V.Schoussev, V.S.Birkenberg, B.A.Gordeev; 1931-1945
  15. (ar.N.G.Voloshinov, B.A.Gordeev, B.A.Bitkin, S.P.Tourgenev and others, 1939
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