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The Narkomfin building, one of the most daring buildings of the 20th century, was built at the peak of the Soviet avant garde to the designs of Moisei Ginzburg, Ignaty Milinis and engineer Sergei Prokhorov. The concentration of innovative ideas in Narkomfin and its aesthetic perfection has made Narkomfin a monument of world significance. It was constructed (1928-1930) to provide apartments for the workers of the People’s Commissariat of Finance otherwise known as Narkomfin.

Moscow’s Narkomfin Building

The rear facade of Narkomfin in Moscow, shortly after completion in 1930.

Narkomfin’s influence on architecture can still be felt today. It has been a pilgrimage site for architects and historians from all over the world ever since its construction; figures like Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid often mention the huge influence Soviet Constructivism has had on their work.

The building has been falling apart for the last three decades, and is now in a grossly dilapidated state, although it is still inhabited in part. There have been various proposals to save the building, which has been under threat of demolition and is an area of particularly lucrative real estate, either by turning it into luxury flats or a hotel.

Moscow’s Narkomfin Building

A room in Moisei Ginzburg’s Narkomfin complex (1930) is now stuffed with cheap traditional Russian furniture.

Richard Pare for the New York Times