Facade of Narkomfin building.

© Безгодов/Getty Images/iStock



The model for Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation design principle, this architectural landmark was an early experiment in semicommunal living. Designed and built in the 1920s by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignatii Milinis, Narkomfin offered housing for members of the Commissariat of Finances. In line with constructivist ideals, communal space is maximised and individual space is minimised. Apartments have minute kitchens (or none at all) to encourage residents to eat in the communal dining room. Tours are available through Moscow ArchiGeek.

Having been in a semiruinous state for many years, Narkomfin is finally slated for restoration – a three-year project that began in late 2017. The architect overseeing the project is Alexey Ginzburg, grandson of the original architect, who intends to preserve and restore as much of the constructivist detail as possible. The apartments are likely to remain in private hands but the communal block is expected to house a cultural centre and museum that will hopefully be open to the public.

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