Котельническая набережная

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The Seven Sisters is the umbrella term used to describe seven skyscrapers in Moscow, that were supposed to be Stalin's reply to the highly applauded Empire State Building in New York. They are also called wedding cakes because of their typical shape. This shape was argumented in the '30's as an "organic link between the inevitably modernizing architecture and the historical characteristics of the Moscovite architecture, namely the storeywise constructed shapes inspired by the towers of the Kremlin and the Novodyevitchy convent". This was, of course, opposed to the "architectonic anarchy" in the capitalist countries.

Most of the Seven Sisters are public buildings like the Moscow State University on Sparrow Hills, the Ministry of Interior Affairs on Smolenskaya square and hotel Ukraine. Kitschy and gaudy they are for sure, with much symbolism to glorify the realisations of the Soviet society.

The huge apartment building at Котельническая набережная (Kotelin-cheskaya naderezhnaya) or the Tinker's Embankment and another one at Kudrinskaya square are the only two skycrapers designed as residential buildings. I'm in a certain way attracted by the first one, more than to the other six anyway. At first it was occupied by representatives of the artistic and political elite, but nowadays quite some new rich have settled there too in their design interiors.

The French journalist Anne Nivat wrote an interesting book on this building. It’s title is The View from the Vysotka. Through a gallery of the residents, among whom star dancer Galina Ulanova of the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre and writer Konstantin Paustovsky, Nivat discusses the transition of dictorial Russia to a democratic state. She unfolds a panoramic image of a changing Russian society with historically developed contradictions. Translated in English by Frances E. Forte and published by St. Martins Press. ISBN 978-0312322786.

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