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First Skyscraper near Nikitsky City-Gate. Moscow

Lissitzky El

First Skyscraper near Nikitsky City-Gate. Moscow
1925

RSALA


Proposed here is a new type of building comparable to a skyscraper. It is not intended for residential use but rather for the housing of central institutions.
This type of tall building was created by America, thus transforming the European horizontal corridor into a vertical lift shaft, around which are lowered the layers of floors. Growth of this type is completely anarchic, without a care for the citys organisation as a whole. Its only concern is to flaunt its height and magnificence to its neighbours.
In our reworking of this form we begin from the following preconditions:
1) We consider that the part is subordinated to the whole, and that the citys organisation defines its buildings characters.
2) We use the term constructions and not houses, considering that the new city should overcome the concept of the individual house.
3) We consider that, until we discover the means of completely free vertical soaring, it is more convenient for us to move horizontally than vertically.
Therefore if there is no room for a horizontal layout on the ground in the given area, we will raise the desired useful area on struts, and they will serve as a communication node between the horizontal pavements of the street and the horizontal corridors of our construction. The aim: the maximum amount of useful space with the minimum amount of support. Result: A clear division of functions. But is there a real need for building in the air? Generally speaking. No. While there is still sufficient space on the ground. But In this case?
We live in towns that were born before our time. The tempo and needs of modern life are already too much for them to cope with. We cannot raze them to the ground overnight and start again correctly from a clean slate. It is not immediately possible to alter their structure or form. Moscows plant correlates with the concentric medieval formation (similar to those of Paris and Vienna.) Its structure: Centre: The Kremlin. Ring A, Ring B and radial streets. Critical nodes: The points of intersection between the great radial streets (Tverskaya, Myasnitskaya) with the rings (boulevards.) Here squares have been laid out that require utilisation without the slowing down of traffic that is especially concentrated at these points(see plan.) Here is the ideal location for central institutions. Here was born the idea for the proposed plan.
For the firm placing of a freely balancing body on the ground are necessary and sufficient three fixed points of support. Therefore, we have confined ourselves to three supports with open lift-shafts and paternosters, and between them a glass channel of stairwells. The struts are buttressed by a system of ribs and mangles on a fundament (the principle behind all elastic forms and bridge-type constructions.) One strut ends underground between metro lines and serves as a station. By the remaining two are to be found tram stops. The structure of the upper working part(offices and institutions) is a skeletal central hollow light-filled tube, with supporting balconies of corridors, i.e. exiting the lift on the first floor, the numbers of rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors are legible. On this central frame the horizontal areas of floors are supported out as consoles. The whole building looks like a train coach placed on a support.
The skeleton will be fabricated out of new types of non-rusting and very strong high-tensile steel girders.
Light, heat insulatory and sound proof materials will be used for the ceilings and baffles between floors. Chemically treated glass will be used for the infiltration and retention of warm rays of sunlight.
All the elements of the skeleton are normalized and therefore, as far as is required for the construction of a new square on the lines of Ring A or B, there remains only the task of producing the montage of prepared component parts. The montage can be effected WITHOUT SCAFFOLDING- for the raising of the upper sections, the struts are supported on cables. Therefore the construction can progress without hindering the flow of traffic on the square. Thus, in relation to existing building sites, demolition is virtually unnecessary. There are huge advantages here in regards to the amount of light and air, when compared with the American designed skyscrapers.


*One leg of the quadrupedal table hangs in the air.

 

Utopia Foundation, Moscow