Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ivan Léonidov, Competition entry for the socialist city of Magnitogorsk

‘A socialist settlement is a properly thought out organisation of industry and agriculture, culture and leisure:  of everything that informs human consciousness and life. It is a settlement constructed on the basis of the foremost socialist technology.’

Ivan Leonidov, Explanatory notes on the OSA team’s project

Leonidov like many of his contemporaries of Modernism had a social vision apart from a purely architectural drive. In the competition entry for the socialist settlement at Magnitogorsk, he tests new social patterns of living within strictly organised functional zoning.

Magnitogorsk is an industrial city located in Russia on the eastern side of the
Ural Mountains and surrounded by many lakes

The design comprises a linear development located between chemical and metallurgical combine and a giant collective farm. The city starts from an industrial node and its development is possible in two or four orthogonal directions. The Linear City consists of a strip of residential complexes and two strips of ancillary functions on both sides of the housing zone.

A part of the Linear City

Each housing complex is intended for 250 people living in eight separate housing units, each for 32 people. Units could be allocated both individually and stacked in towers. The children’s sector is located in the green zone between two residential complexes. Ancillary functions are represented by public buildings and places such as the community hall, sports facilities, parks, zoological and botanical gardens. The highway on one side is for transport and also serves as border and stimulus for further development. 

Hierarchy of rooms

The housing unit is the main component in this scheme which is repeated throughout the city on a chequerboard pattern in order to create each separate complex. Each unit is intended as a small community. It consists of sixteen small private rooms located in the corners of the units on two levels with communal space in the centre of the unit. Leonidov and his group propose an idea of dis-urbanisation where living and social activities take place in proximity to nature. Linear city is ‘a new form of human settlement which eliminates rural backwardness and isolation from the world, and the anti- human concentration of vast masses of people into large cities.’ It embodies many ‘ideals’ of modern living – spaciousness, unobscured views and green surroundings where labour, leisure and socialisation could occur.

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