This was Glorious Future, Vol.15

typed for your pleasure on 15 August 2005, at 1.21 pm

Sdtrk: something stirring and Communist

I’m sure you all recall that post I did months ago concerning the monstrous Ryugyong Hotel over in South Korea, right? Thanx to a tip from a mate of mine, I bring you the Soviet equivalent, aptly named ‘House of the Soviets‘. Going by the size of this place, the Soviets must be giants.

The House of the Soviets, begun in 1972, was never completed. The massive hulk now looms over the town like something out of a postapocalyptic movie, surrounded by decaying staircases and a plaza of four-foot high grass. Residents refer to it simply as “the Monster.” [..] At present there are no plans to do anything with it at all. “The authorities have decided it will be cheaper to let it decay on its own than to tear it down,” explained Olga Danilova, who shows tourists around. Only vagrants and drug addicts make use of the facility.
taken from this site

The story behind the House of the Soviets, or Dom Sovietov, isn’t exactly cheerful. During 1945, the German city Königsberg was awarded to the Soviet Union by the Allies. The USSR saw the city’s German heritage as a supposedly dangerous symbol of fascism, and they decided to pretty much level the town, and build a glorious new Socialist one called Kaliningrad in its place. In 1968, despite protests, one of the many buildings destroyed was Königsberg Castle, and in its place Dom Sovietov was erected, which was to be the central building of Kaliningrad.
Unfortunately, the construction teams really didn’t do their homework, as the 13th century Königsberg Castle had a network of tunnels beneath it. Consequently, Dom Sovietov is — you guessed it — structurally unsound, empty, and collapsing a little bit each day.

A lot of people have derided House of the Soviets due to its.. giant ugly brickness, but I think that’s why I like it. It reminds me a wee bit of Trellick Tower, and that whole heavy-handed pseudo-futuristic New Brutalism wave that quite a few designers were riding during the Sixties. But for Soviet Russia, it wasn’t New Brutalism, it was just plain ol’ Brutalism, cos Dom Sovietov is a fairly good example of how a lot of Soviet-era buildings look. I am Building, comrade, it says, I will stand firm against threat of Capitalist oppression. I am sturdy and thick, like good Communist woman. Or something.

On a positive note, archaeological teams are attempting to unearth and preserve what remains of Königsberg Castle. Hopefully Russia won’t make the same mistake twice, and they’ll choose to preserve House of the Soviets as well

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.39 on August 1st, 2009

This was the Future, Vol.17 on October 18th, 2005

8 have spoken to “This was Glorious Future, Vol.15”

  1. Jeff "Wolfgang" Lilly writes:


  2. Davecat writes:


  3. Jeff "Wolfgang" Lilly writes:

    Nyet, comrade… This thing is an assault on the eyes, sensibilities, and soul. It is an all-out blitzkrieg on natural form and organic lines. It is a giant brick, with a lot of giant bricks around it, on a pile of giant bricks, on a giant slab. Ouch. My soul.
    It is impressive, in the way a giant, rusty bulldozer rolling toward one’s prone and helpless form is… “My! That’s huge! Wo…(squish)” You can be impressed, but then it eats you for lunch.

  4. Davecat writes:

    Hey, I never said it was graceful, I just said I liked it cos of its confidence that it’s a Building with a capital ‘B’. If it were assembled with grey concrete as opposed to — what’s that colour anyway, putty? — it would be a perfect Orwellian nightmare. Do swedanje, tovarich!

  5. Jeff "Wolfgang" Lilly writes:

    Gray concrete, with some rusting rebar sticking out of the sides for no particular reason… with exposed piping held on by non-galvanized fasteners… and make it a rough concrete, that catches dirt and mildew and holds it… yeah! Oh, wait… I’ve just described 80% of modern Japanese architecture… I see they must have looked east instead of west when planning their cities in the 1960s…

  6. SafeTinspector writes:

    If I had a tremendous population of trained rats a-la-“Ben,” I would choose this edifice as my secret headquarters from which to plot my world conquest.

    Truly, this building would be the match of any legion of doom building!

  7. Jeff "Wolfgang" Lilly writes:

    Get some eerie green strobe lights for the interior… ACE!

  8. Davecat writes:

    Green strobe lights — I’m down with that. 🙂

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