“Stalin skyscrapers” – seven (according to the plans eight) high-rise buildings erected in Moscow in 1947-1957. Sometimes “Stalin skyscrapers” are also called buildings designed in a similar style around the same period in some other cities in the USSR and other countries.
These buildings are called “seven sisters” in many foreign guidebooks.
Stalin’s skyscrapers are the pinnacle of the post-war “Soviet Art Deco” in urban architecture; they were supposed to become the surroundings of the never-built Palace of Soviets.
High-rise buildings were erected during the same period in Riga, Warsaw, Bucharest and Kyiv and were stripped-down versions of the Moskva Hotel (now Ukraine): the original project suffered due to the decree on architectural excesses. Due to the decree, the design of the building of the main educational building of the Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute was changed – according to the project of 1952, the building was supposed to be high-rise and crowned with a spire, but in 1957 the construction was stopped, only 7 floors were erected; the originally planned view of the building (with minor situational changes) was implemented only during the reconstruction in 2004.
The original project of the House of Soviets in Voronezh, which L. V. Rudnev made (he was also the designer of the main building of Moscow State University), assumed that the building would be crowned with a two-story tower in the style of Stalin’s skyscrapers. The project was already changed during construction: after the start of the fight against “architectural excesses” in 1955, the Voronezh architect A. V. Mironov completed a new building project (without a tower).
The architecture of the “Stalin skyscrapers” in style echoed the buildings of the municipality in Manhattan, the Woolworth Building and the highest skyscraper at that time, the Empire State Building in New York.
The main building of Moscow State University on Sparrow Hills
Before the construction of the Triumph Palace, the main building of Moscow State University on the Sparrow Hills was the tallest building in Moscow for more than half a century, with a height of240 m and 36 stories. Built-in 1949-1953 (architects L. V. Rudnev, S. (E. Chernyshev, P. V. Abrosimov, A. F. Khryakov, V. N. Nasonov). It is the center of a huge complex of Moscow University, which initially included 27 buildings.
The original design of the building did not have a spire; instead, a monument to Lomonosov was erected on the roof.
Architect A.G. Mordvinov, V.K. Oltarzhevsky, V.G. Kalish and engineer P.A. Krasilnikov built the second tallest 206-meter high-rise building (2/1 Kutuzovsky Prospekt) in 1953-1957, making it the last building in terms of time. The central volume includes 34 floors. The building opens Kutuzovsky Prospekt – a new Moscow highway created in the post-war period. There are 257 apartments in the attached wings.
On April 28, 2010, the hotel “Ukraine” after the completion of a large-scale restoration began to work under the new name Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow.
Residential building on Kotelnicheskaya embankment
The house (1/15 Kotelnicheskaya Embankment), closing the prospect from the Kremlin to the mouth of the Yauza, was built in 1938-1940 (according to the first project) and 1948-1952 (according to the design of Stalin’s skyscrapers, architects D.N. Chechulin and A.K. Rostkovsky and engineer L. M. Gokhman). The central volume is 176 meters tall and has 32 floors. The building contains 700 apartments, shops, a post office, the Illusion cinema and the museum apartment of G. S. Ulanova. Lavrenty Beria supervised the construction, including insisting on choosing a site for the construction of the house.
Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Architects Professor V. G. Gelfreikh and M. A. Minkus built the skyscraper (Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square, 32/34) from 1948-1953. The central volume includes 27 floors and is 172 m tall. The building completes the panorama from the Borodinsky bridge, forming a square.
The building houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MFA of Russia). A characteristic feature of the skyscraper is the huge coat of arms of the USSR on its facade. The coat of arms, assembled from reinforced concrete, is located at a height of 114 m and covers an area of 144 m².
Residential building on Kudrinskaya Square
Between 1948 and 1954 architects M. V. Posokhin, A. A. Mndoyants and designer M N. Vokhomsky built the house on Kudrinskaya Square (it was called “Vysotka on Vosstaniya Square” since Kudrinskaya Square was called Vosstaniya Square from 1925 to 1992).
The building consists of a central (24 floors, height with a tower and a spire – 156 m) and side buildings (18 residential floors each), which make up a structurally single array, based on a common basement floor. There are over 450 apartments in the building.
Administrative and residential building near the “Red Gate”
Architects: A. N. Dushkin, B. S. Mezentsev. It was built from 1947 to 1952. The 138-meter building consists of a 24-story central building, occupied during the Soviet period by the Ministry of Transport Construction (currently Transstroy Corporation), and two residential buildings of variable height (from 11 to 15 floors).
In the right wing of the building, there is one of the two vestibules of the Krasnye Vorota metro station, overlooking Kalanchevskaya Street, as well as jewelry and food stores and a pharmacy. A common basement connects all three buildings, which do not have ground and attic passages. The basement is also connected to the subway service rooms and a network of special underground facilities. There is a restaurant in the courtyard of the house, which is docked to the central building. There is a kindergarten in the left wing of the building.
Architects: L. M. Polyakov, A. B. Boretsky. Engineer E. V. Myatlyuk. 1949-1954.
The Leningradskaya Hotel is the smallest in the family of Stalinist skyscrapers, with only 21 floors and a height of 136 meters. The imposing tower of “Leningradskaya” rises on Komsomolskaya Square, next to three railway stations – Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky.
Its interior is made in the Moscow Baroque style. Old Russian motifs are skillfully designed with lattices, stucco, mosaics and chandeliers that are reminiscent of church chandeliers. The chandelier garland that occupies four floors was even featured in the Guinness Book of Records. A year after the construction was completed, a decree “on the elimination of excesses in design and construction” was issued, after which the architects Polyakov and Boretsky were deprived of the titles of laureates of the Stalin Prize, and Polyakovwas removed from the post of head of the Architectural Workshop of the Mosproekt Institute.
As of the end of 2022, it is part of the international Hilton hotel chain.
See also Architecture of Moscow.