Kharkiv - Svoboda (Freedom) Square (Part 2)

Kharkiv Travel Blog

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Derzhprom nowadays
On having enjoyed the panorama of the square, let us come to the building of Derzhprom (the House of State Industry). Its grand silhouette can be well seen from Sumska Street, Lenin Avenue, Trinkler Street and the district adjacent to the railway station.

On March 21, 1925 the Economic Council of Ukraine ordered the Supreme Council of National Economy of Ukraine to prepare a project of the House of State Industry (Derznprom). After six weeks an all-Union competition of the projects of this house-giant was announced.

The terms of the competition were discussed in detail and the prizes were instituted for the winners. After a thorough study, the first award was given to the «Uninvited Guest» project by Leningrad architects S.

Derzhprom. View from the Military University
 Serafimov, S. Kravets, M. Felger.

As soon as the financing of the construction started, the preparation of the working drawings began. To provide for an efficient management, all the services and offices were located in a one-storey wooden barrack very close to the construction site. Various changes were frequently made, they depended on the refinement of the relief, the details of the facade, the interior design, the quality of the components of the future building. It was planned that the building would house 22 republican trusts, 10 People’s Commissariats, the Prombank Board of Directors and other organizations, conference halls, a technological library etc. It was recommended that the large trusts should be on the ground floors and have separate entrances.

When we look at Derzhprom, it is difficult to believe that the initial earthwork was done with spades, crow-bars and picks.

«A self-invited Guest» — the project by the architects S. Serafimov, S. Kravets, M. Folher
They used sledge hammers to crush granite, spades — to prepare concrete mix, horses — to dispose of spoil. A grand, even by modern standards, multi-storied administrative building of monolithic concrete with 4500 window openings and 17 hectares of glazing was erected within an exceptionally short period, from 1925 till 1928.

During the construction period Kharkiv was visited by H. Barbusse, Th. Dreiser, V. Mayakovsky. Of course, the construction was conducted under the close supervision of the Soviet government and, in particular, by F. Dzerzhinskiy, whose name the Square had borne for a long time.

At the end of the 1920s a laconic address «Kharkiv, Derzhprom» became known in different corners of the country. The constructivist building, famous for the rich plastics of its facades, harmony of the forms and perfection of its proportions, became not only the glory and the visiting card of Khakiv, but also a world-class architectural monument.
Derzhprom building — a successful example of administrative buildings design

In 1934, when Kyiv became the capital again, the government offices moved from Derzhprom and the building accommodated the Regional Executive Committee and other organizations.

With the beginning of the occupation period, Derzhprom became deserted. The fascists’ efforts to blow up or to set fire to the building were useless — its monolithic constructions withstood everything, though the glazing and window frames, ventilation, heating and other communications suffered badly. There is a war-time legend that for some time the only inhabitants of Derzhprom were the monkeys that fled the zoo because of hunger and cold.

The post war period also added many pages to the history of Derzhprom.

By its 75th anniversary Derzhprom was decorated with spotlights
A central role is occupied here by the first Ukrainian amateur TV center, where people from different cities of the country used to be trained.

At present Derzhprom accommodates administration offices of different branches of economy and its service departments. In 2003 Derzhpron celebrated its 75th anniversary with the renovation of its facade walls and redecoration of its interior.

cheritraveler says:
Enjoyed your blog!
Posted on: Mar 28, 2008
polvandenwirre says:
You better find a publisher so you can publish a book about Kharkiv ;-)
Great work!
Posted on: Mar 28, 2008
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Derzhprom nowadays
Derzhprom nowadays
Derzhprom. View from the Military …
Derzhprom. View from the Military…
«A self-invited Guest» — the p…
«A self-invited Guest» — the …
Derzhprom building — a successfu…
Derzhprom building — a successf…
By its 75th anniversary Derzhprom …
By its 75th anniversary Derzhprom…
Derzhprom. The harmony of forms an…
Derzhprom. The harmony of forms a…
Derzhprom building is admirable in…
Derzhprom building is admirable i…
Buildings and walking passages of …
Buildings and walking passages of…
Derzhprom at night
Derzhprom at night
Derzhprom at night
Derzhprom at night
photo by: viktosha