Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Architects Blast Plans to Renovate Iconic TASS Building

The TASS building “is part of the Soviet and Russian contribution to the world modernist movement,” architects wrote. Moskva News Agency

Plans to renovate the iconic central Moscow building that houses Russia’s state-run TASS news agency are facing fierce opposition from residents and architects.

The unique Soviet brutalist building was built on Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya in 1977, with plans to reconstruct its facade and fit its windows with metal frames mothballed since 2016.

An online association of Russian architects issued an open letter last Friday criticizing the Moscow department of cultural heritage for reviving the renovation plans without requiring the preservation of its historic appearance.

“The project’s authors have no direct influence on the choice of how the [contractors] plan to repair the facades,” the association wrote on its website

“Instead of the 1977 TASS building preserved in history and architecture textbooks on Soviet modernism, we risk getting a ‘generic’ likeness replicating the facade,” it added.

The letter’s authors urged the authorities to take the reconstruction plans seriously and not let the building “share the fate of many of its renovated ‘peers’ across the country.”

“We call for taking advantage of the European experience in the restoration of modernist objects, since the TASS building is part of the Soviet and Russian contribution to the world modernist movement, which has received wide international recognition,” they wrote.

The architects accused Moscow’s department of cultural heritage of rejecting their bid to include the TASS building on the city’s list of cultural heritage sites, vowing to repeat their attempts in the future.

“People have not yet realized the value of Soviet modernist architecture like it happened with the monuments of constructivism,” the authors lamented. “The most valuable objects are rapidly disappearing either due to repairs or demolition. What will remain of the architecture of that era’s public buildings, especially in Moscow? Perhaps only photographs.”

Their online petition calling for the preservation of the original TASS building has gathered nearly 3,200 signatures af of mid-Thursday.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more