Derzhprom (the State Industry Building)

Date of Submission: 27/04/2017
Criteria: (iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture of Ukraine
State, Province or Region:
Kharkiv Region
Ref.: 6249

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The monument is located on the southwest side of the circular part of the Svobody Square, which is one of the largest in size in the world. Its building is the most prominent architectural complex of 1920-1950.

The State Industry Building takes a central position in the ensemble of the square buildings. It is located at the fan-shaped area divided into three cross passages that form the frame of the Zaderzhpromia residential area.

The construction consists of three H-shaped 9 buildings radially placed in the plan. Buildings are grouped in three blocks, on three buildings in each. The building height increases from the periphery to the center from 6 to 11 floors. The main focus of the artistic decision is building bridges hanging over the radial passages at the height of 3, 5 and 6 floors. The building composition is dynamic, built on a zigzag rhythmic increase of masses with contrast decline in the center.

The building facades are solved in the most laconic way and demonstrate aesthetically meaningful work of concrete structures. The building demonstrates basic techniques of the modernist architecture - flat roof, entire glazing, utilitarian elements serve as architectural details - the entrance canopies, balconies, roof fencing elements and glazing of different shapes and articulations.

The feature of the construction is the presence of different types of spaces: internal outdoor spaces that are open to the square space ( cour d 'honneur: 4 big and 16 small) or almost closed with building masses (passages); complex multilevel spaces of the front staircase that due to entire glazing and balconies become partially street~ inner space of the large hall that dissolves in the environment through the glazing to the both sides of the building and skylight.

All offices of Derzhprom have the same laconic design. A particular attention was paid by the architects to the places of mass gathering of employees and visitors - lobbies, halls, recreation and dining halls which are also characterized by functionality and laconism of used details.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The uniqueness of the construction was included in the program of the State Industry Building in Kharkiv at the stage of design. This building was to visualize a new industrial Ukraine, both for residents of the country and abroad.

Therefore, the project to implement was selected through the architectural competition that was won by the team of S.S. Serafnnov, M.D. Feldher, S.M. Kravets. The Competition Committee included not only the customer's representatives and the professional community, but also members of the public who have achieved an accurate implementation of the winning project.

The complex process of implementation of the building rather large in size and complex in design had a significant impact on the masses. The construction that began with almost manual work and ended in 3 years as a considerably industrialized and mechanized process was always covered in press and positioned as a building of new life.

Derzhprom as a result has also become a significant event in the world of architecture. Disseminated through exhibitions and media around the world, the building inspired many international architects to creation of their projects. In the former Soviet Union, the implementation of Derzhprom made modernism a main architectural style of the state for several years.

New city center with a building of Derzhprom in the center contrasted and opposed the old center. It is a harmonious system that captures a space. But along with those inherent in it through diversity and it allows to see and to feel much different. Imposition of this system know from historical experience sings creates a dissonance that makes the object controversial, but because and interesting.

Another aspect of duality is that the building of Derzhprom is on the border of two architectural eras: avant-garde and art-deco.

Criterion (iv): Derzhprom is the world's first state-level office building solved in modernist forms. The world's largest building in the constructivist style was built at the beginning of the worldwide creative development of this style and had a significant impact on the development of not only Ukrainian but also world culture and architecture.

The monument expresses the unity of monumentality, formality and representation of the state level in the avant-garde language. The stylistic features of the mass industrial architecture that characterizes the second half of the 20th century are implemented here for the first time.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

It meets the following nomination criteria of authenticity:
i) space solutions of the building are fully preserved; the leading role in shaping of the city-planning node of a city value – the Svobody Square ensemble; the stylistics of facades;
ii) constructions, the nature of facades finishing are preserved as much as possible;
iii) the functionality of the building did not change during the entire period of operation;
iv) the form of management has not changed - the organization that has been operating the monument from the beginning and till now keeps the traditions of the building management. However, due to expiry of the useful life of some building materials, as required by the new rules of operation of the building, in which administrative work is carried out, taking into consideration the priorities of the state policy aimed at preserving the environment, etc., some repair and restoration work that support the continued existence of the monument are being conducted on the Derzhprom building periodically. The principle of preserving the building form the basis of such works, through the continued operation of the building according to its original function with demonstration of the preserved and partially museumified authentic elements of the building.

Comparison with other similar properties

Derzhprom takes a worthy place among the avant-garde manifestos of the 20s of the 20th century: the Church ofNotre-Dame du Rainey by A. Perret (1924, France)- a new type of sacred buildings, the Pavilion de L'Esprit Nouveau (1925, France) - a new type of housing, the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart (1926, Germany) - a new type of residential settlement, the Bauhaus School Complex by W. Gropius in Dessau (1926, Germany)- a new type of educational buildings, a number of workers' clubs in the former Soviet Union (1925 - 1930) by the architects K.S. Melnikov, Vesnin brothers, I.O. Golosov, O.I. Dmitryiev and others. Among these works, the State Industry Building in Kharkiv presents a new administrative architecture that expresses solidity and significance by means of the modernist architecture.

Comparing Derzhprom by the principles of expression of administrative functions in the spatial composition, it can be ranked together with the General Motors Building by A. Kahn (1923, USA), Headquarters of the German Printers' Union by M. Taut ( 1926, Germany), the landmark, although unrealized League of Nations Building project by G. Mayer (1927), the Metalworkers Union building by E. Mendelsohn in Berlin (1928, Germany), I.G. Farben Industry Building by G. Poelzig (1928, Germany), the Tsentrosoyuz Building by Le Corbusier (1929, USSR) and the Columbushaus by E. Mendelsohn (1931, Germany).

Derzhprom takes place between the composition in the shape of a Ukrainian letter "Ж" proposed by A. Kahn in 1919 on the grounds of insolation and health and freely assembled buildings which appeared under the influence of the design based on the traffic flow graphs in the second half of the 1920s. The predetermined movement of human and traffic flow inside and outside of the State Industry Building became not only the base for the large composition of the building, but was treated as one of the main expressive elements of the building - vertical and horizontal communications were identified by glazing for the circulation of people inside the building to be visible from the outside.

Derzhprom takes its unique place as a unique phenomenon of the world architecture among the objects that represent the modernism architecture of the first half of the 20th century, which are already on the World Heritage List or the Tentative List.