Prompted by SVESMI interest in the Soviet mass produced architecture, this research looks at modernist office slabs designed according to post-war standards. In every city of today’s Russia one can still find an abundance of these horizontal slabs – both in suburban and central areas. If originally they were planned to accommodate socialist institutions or production lines, today, in a completely different society many of them are out of use or house a multiplicity of business and services in ineffective and chaotic arrangements.
Unilaterally unloved by the population and aging unattractively, they nevertheless remain important elements of the city fabric and often occupy the key positions. With open floor plans, large windows, substantial blueprint and enough height to offer views over the surrounding area, the slabs might get a new life through careful reprogramming.
SVESMI team looked specifically at the Moscow context, trying to identify the potential for reuse of the slabs in central areas. This is the first attempt to assess possible technical, financial, programmatic and aesthetic risks that conceptual reorganisation project might bring along.
Besides the general overview, the research offers a few specific insights into three case-studies. Although every case is unique, there is also a prototypical quality to this investigation: Moscow situation can be easily extrapolated onto other Russian cities and towns.