Constructivism in Kazan

There is little appreciation for real estate developed during the Soviet era. Many view these ‘box like’ structures as architectural blunders and are quick to erase their existence in favour of renovation. Constructivist buildings in Kazan, were not exempt, from this fate. However, some renowned constructivist buildings having simple geometric volumes, flat plastered walls, wide window openings, and hardly any decor, can still be found on the streets of Kazan.

Murgasovsky House

Built in 1928, it’s the first five-story house in Kazan: of a symmetrical shape, with an increased central volume and a grand staircase. The entrances are marked by risalits with vertical glazing, while long balconies emphasise the house corners. At different times, the house served as a residence to several celebrities: Abdullah Alish – a Tatar children’s books writer, and Kavi Nadzhmi – an outstanding Tatar writer, both used to live here. Now the building is officially considered a part of the regional cultural heritage.

Press House

The building was constructed in 1934-1935. It was built in symmetric and multilayered shape to overlook three streets. The main facade is divided into three parts: two four-storeyed parts of different sizes to the edges, from the third central part, with a passage gallery. There are loggias located on the second floor. The sidelong parts have an open gallery, with large round columns on the first floor. The central part of the building, according to the architectural plan, was supposed to resemble an open book.

Bathhouse No. 3

Built in the early 1930s, this three-story building has a semicircular corner wall, risalits on the side facades, and windows recessed into vertical niches. Third floor window openings are smaller than the openings of the first and second floors. Before the Russian revolution of 1917, the place was owned by the merchant Mikhail Danilov, and was used for Danilov Baths, which were built in the 1870s. Nowadays, the building houses public baths, the ‘New York’ diner and a craft bar called ‘The Woods’.

Dispensary of the People’s Commissar for Health

A four-story building, with two rounded wings. It took nine years to construct (from 1930 to 1939), and the design was changed several times, but in the end the house retained its original constructivist spirit. The facade between the windows is decorated with horizontal and vertical string cornices, with balconies serving as additional decorative elements. Today, the building is housing a city hospital.

Residence hall of the Transportation Equipment Factory

Built as a residence hall for factory workers back in 1933, this four-story building is still serving its purpose. The L-shape building boasts a remarkable vertical and cylindrical staircase. The first floor has a passage that goes from the entrance to the courtyard. Despite constructivist philosophy this building has few decorations: a bas-relief red star above the entrance and a brick belt between the floors, passing into arc balconies in the corner.

Factory apprenticeship school named after Comrade Stalin

This U-shaped building comprised of two parts and connected by a passage, was constructed in the early 1930-s. The side wing has a semicircular façade, with a rectangular vertical volume and an entrance located to the right. Above the entrance, there’s a large window from the ceiling to the floor. In Soviet times, the building housed a three-year vocational school for tailors and cutters. Currently, it’s a business college.

Apartment house

A three-story apartment house, with two entrances made its debut in 1930. The asymmetrical facade is abundantly decorated (which is atypical for constructivism): the windows are highlighted with simple architraves, while the entrances, located on the sides of the house, have portals to the full height. The unknown architect placed the staggered balconies on the second and third floors and marked the central axis with an attic on the roof.

Sources: all image credits –

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