“Mumiy Troll”, Shostakovich and France: 8 interesting facts about the Khrushchevs, which you did not even suspect!
For many today, “Khrushchev” is synonymous with dull interiors, small rooms, general disorder and poverty of the Soviet era. But for their time, they were a real breakthrough: the construction of typical houses helped many Soviet citizens get separate apartments and solve the acute problem of housing shortage
September 24, 2022New Cheryomushki District, Moscow, 1964New Cheryomushki District, Moscow, 1964
In 1956, at the historic XX Congress of the CPSU, not only was the cult of personality openly condemned. On it, the Soviet society was given the task of putting an end to the housing shortage. And the very next year, a resolution “On the development of housing construction in the USSR” was adopted. In fact, this was the official proclamation of new principles of construction and architecture and the beginning of mass housing construction throughout the Soviet Union.
Indeed, by the mid-1950s, it became obvious that the monumental, opulent Stalinist architecture with expensive materials and difficult-to-implement projects (such as, for example, Stalinist skyscrapers) was not capable of solving the pressing problem of housing shortages (recall that at that time people lived in communal apartments, dormitories, barracks and even GUM without water and amenities). The population of the country grew faster than the housing stock: in the mid-1950s, the average size of living space per person was only about 5.6 square meters. m.
A quick and effective solution was the construction of typical apartment buildings, popularly called “Khrushchev” (in honor of Nikita Khrushchev). For them, construction standards were significantly reduced in comparison with Stalinist architecture. The kitchen area is set at 5-6 m², the “dark room” (pantry) – 2-2.5 m², bathrooms were made combined to save space. The minimum ceiling height was 2.5 m, the minimum room width was 2.2 m. There were no garbage chutes in the apartments, there were no elevators and full-fledged basements in the houses, too. We saved as much as possible on both construction and finishing materials.
As a result of this optimization, construction costs were reduced by more than 30% compared to Stalinist houses. And new panel construction technologies made it possible to build them as quickly as possible. The speed could not help but amaze – only during the period from 1955 to 1970, about 127 million people moved into new apartments. How did the idea of the project come about and why does everyone know the grandson of the chief architect of Khrushchev? Let's sort it out in order.
New Cheryomushki District, Moscow, 1964
Khrushchev and Mumiy Troll
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Architect Vitaly Pavlovich Lagutenko.
Few people know, but the engineer Vitaly Pavlovich Lagutenko, the grandfather of Ilya Lagutenko, the leader of the Mumiy Troll group, was the author of the first Khrushchev. During the Great Patriotic War, he was engaged in the design of bomb shelters, the restoration of buildings and the camouflage of special objects, and in 1956 he worked on the first mass series of K-7 in the 9th experimental quarter of Novye Cheryomushki. The technology by which the houses were built was recognized as the most successful and adopted for mass production. wp-content/uploads/2022/09/b28dd8d4dba9d3cad1fb4760cc2fd13e.jpg” width=”728″ height=”570″ class=”lazy-image__image _align-center” data-v-64ca9b5a=”1″ alt=””Mumiy Troll” , Shostakovich and France: 8 interesting facts about the Khrushchevs, which you did not even know about!” />K-7 series house, Khoroshevo-Mnevniki, Moscow.
Why did Khrushchev like the houses of the K-7 series (“K” means “frame”) so much? The technology of their construction was as simple as possible, cheap and, most importantly, fast. Unbelievable, but true: it took only 12 days to build one such Khrushchev! The work was carried out in three shifts – almost around the clock. The record was set in Leningrad: a new house was built here in five days!
Soviet stand at an exhibition in Paris, 1961.
The famous K-7 series is actually based on a French project. After the war, Raymond Camus, the founder of panel housing construction, visited the USSR three times. He visited France and Khrushchev, where he personally examined European “panels”. As a result, the councils bought the license from Camus and began to build on it, after significantly simplifying and reworking the production scheme. data-src=”/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/3f51ffdaf3d316116c9c3a934cd44e34.jpg” width=”728″ height=”487″ class=”lazy-image__image _align-center” data-v-64ca9b5a=”1″ alt=” “Mumiy Troll”, Shostakovich and France: 8 interesting facts about the Khrushchevs, which you did not even know about! />New Cheryomushki district, Moscow, 1964
Why five floors?
To save money, the equipment of typical houses was simplified as much as possible. First of all, the “Khrushchev” buildings lost their elevators, as a result, the cost per square meter was 8-10% lower compared to the houses of the previous generation. That is why houses were not built above five floors: according to medical standards, this is the maximum number of storeys for houses without an elevator and a garbage chute. By the way, the first Khrushchevs were four-story. According to one of the legends, when Khrushchev arrived at the construction site in Novye Cheryomushki, he never reached the fifth floor on foot. img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/e45746c96cfe12ddba60cd26e86baca6.jpg” width=”728″ height=”485″ class=”lazy-image__image _align-center” data-v-64ca9b5a=”1″ alt= “Mumiy Troll, Shostakovich and France: 8 interesting facts about Khrushchevs that you didn't even know existed!” />New Cheryomushki district, Moscow, 1964
Khrushchev in Soviet cinema
Houses of the K-7 series have appeared in many famous films. They can be seen, for example, in such classics of Soviet cinema as “Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures” or “We'll Live Till Monday”. Panels have become not just an integral part of urban architecture, but of the entire culture of the Soviet era.
+1A scene from the film “Let's Live Until Monday.” Directed by Stanislav Rostotsky (1968).
Khrushchevki and Shostakovich
Another interesting fact about the experimental 9th quarter of New Cheryomushki —Dmitry Shostakovich dedicated his operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki to it. The premiere took place at the Moscow Operetta Theater on January 24, 1959. And in 1962, the musical film Cheryomushki was released based on her motives.
Today, many laugh at the simple plot and naive hymn to individual apartments: “Here is our front! Here is our hanger! Our room, Sasha! Our room, Masha! The whole apartment is ours, ours! Our kitchen too! Our windows, our doors, I can't believe my eyes! There is a cozy office, parquet shines like glass. You can call all your friends, you can dance the tango!”
But in the mid-1950s, this dream was close to every Soviet person – after all, few people in the house had such a luxury as a separate kitchen or living room, where you can invite friends.
Khrushchevs were originally conceived as a temporary project. They were to last only until the planned victory of communism in 1980. But, as they say, there is nothing more permanent than temporary, and these houses are still standing. Supporters of the renovation argue that the maximum life span of Khrushchevs is 25 years, and it has long since come out. Actually, this is a myth. There is no such information in any official regulations, and studies of large-panel structures have shown that they can last at least a hundred years. Novye Cheryomushki district, Moscow, 1964
How many people still live in Khrushchev houses?
According to rough estimates, 8.6 million Russians still live in Soviet five-story buildings today. Since the late 1990s, houses of this type have been actively demolished in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and modern multi-storey complexes are being built in their place. Despite the protests of local residents, the future of the old Moscow quarters with the development of the first periods of industrial housing construction is a big question. The housing renovation program adopted in 2017 involves the demolition of residential buildings in Moscow with a total area of 25 million square meters. meters. But low-rise districts with Khrushchev houses, their quiet courtyards, lilacs blooming in spring and apple trees can still be found in the provincial cities of the former USSR for a long time to come. />