Narkomtiazhporn: The pornographic proto-Stalinism of the Commissariat of Heavy Industry

Narkomtiazhprom + archiporn
Narkomtiazhprom + archiporn =

The competition for the design of the National Commissariat of Heavy Industry building [Наркомтяжпром] would be the last under Stalin to feature a number of submissions using modernist forms and techniques. Heavy industry is always sexy: scorched, hardened bodies covered in sweat, filth, and grime. Sparks spew all about, illuminating in flashes the piping and steel grating that surrounds. There’s no orgasm quite like the panting, hyperventilating surge toward climax one experiences while suffering from black lung. No sex like pneumoconiosic sex.

Already here, though, one can discern the contours of an emerging Stalinist sublime. This can be seen in the absurd scale onto which neoclassical forms have been projected. The contest for the Palace of the Soviets had been completed, to nearly universal disappointment within the modernist camp. There can be little doubt that the winning design from that whole affair weighed heavily on the minds of the modernists.

Like so many other architectural projects from the time, Narkomtiazhprom would never be built. Some have questioned whether it was really ever meant to be built at all, or if it was rather a ruse intended to unmask newly-unionized architects who were still harboring some loyalty to modernism.


4 thoughts on “Narkomtiazhporn: The pornographic proto-Stalinism of the Commissariat of Heavy Industry

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