Marks of Time
The Palace of Industry or Derzhprom in Freedom Square, Kharkiv, was competed in 1928 and, at ten stories, was the first Soviet skyscraper. Its overlapping cubist forms are a 'constructivist' composition, with sky bridges linking the mini cityscape of rising and dropping blocks. Constructivism held that the essence of modern art was found in construction, and so all decorative form was eliminated. Goundbreaking in its time, the building was much visited. It was the result of a competition in 1925 and constructed as the parliament building for the new Soviet Republic of Ukraine (Kiev had resisted the Bolsheviks in 1918). It housed it's central committee, commissariats, planning commission, various industrial enterprises, a library and a hotel. Its architecture represented a dramatic and confident break from the past and embodied what the architects (Sergei Serafimov, Samuel Kravets and Mark Felger) thought was the spirit of the new state. However, almost as soon as it was opened 'national communists' began to be repressed and in 1932 Stalin dissolved all autonomous architectural groupings in favour of a state architecture that was much more hierarchical and classically inspired. In 1934 the capital was moved back to Kiev. The building survived several attempts to be blown up by the Nazi's in World War II and managed to avoid being refaced, like some of its neighbours in the Stalinist style in the 1950's. The radio transmitter on top of one block was added in the same decade. Apart from the removal of a statue to Lenin, the building had remained unaltered in recent decades. At present, with the city subject to significant Russian bombardment, the condition of this important and unique modernist building and of its many workers and occupants is unknown.
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Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.