June 2018


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 33 March 2011

History of architecture

Meerovich Mark G.

DSc (History), DSc (Architecture),
Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering,
Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Architecture.
Irkutsk State Technical University,
Irkutsk, Russia, e-mail: memark@inbox.ru


The rivalry between the VSNH (USSR Supreme Council of National Economy) and the GUKH NKVD (Central Municipal Services Department of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) for control over the nation-wide architectural and urban design system in the USSR is a theme that is still hidden from architectural profession historians although it is here that one can find answers to a lot of inexplicable organizational decisions and even to the conceptual approach to urban planning and design.

The paper unveils the principal driving forces behind the reforms in the national system of architectural and urban design in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s-1930s, and the reasons for the emergence of two design subsystems: "sectoral" and "local". The former dealt with the planning of residential areas associated with industrial enterprises (termed «industrial civil design»), carried out by the design organisations of the industrial Narcomats (People’s Commissariats) that were part of the VSNH and later of the Narkomtiazhprom (USSR People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry). The latter was in charge of urban planning carried out by the municipal services departments of the local authorities subordinated to GUKH NKVD, later transformed into GUKH under the SNK (Council of People's Commissars), and then into NKKH RSFSR (Commissariat of Municipal Services) (termed «civil design»).

The term «industrial civil design» is, of course, conventional; however, when juxtaposed with the term «civil design», it allows us to emphasize the sectoral nature and the different "relations" of both types of design to the «town-forming» function of the industrial enterprise - with the former entirely subordinated to the objectives of industrial development in the area, and the latter being relatively independent of the objectives of industrial development, self-sufficient and to a somewhat greater extent expressing the interests of a place and its specificity.

Key words: ‘Sotsgorods’, housing and town-planning policy, industrialisation, district planning, social settlement concept, sectoral design

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-70832 of 30.08.2017 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017