Boris Iofan

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Boris Iofan
Борис Михайлович Иофан
Boris Iofan.jpg
Born(1891-04-28)28 April 1891
Died11 March 1976(1976-03-11) (aged 84)
NationalityRussian Jewish
Alma materGrekov Odessa Art school, Accademia di Belle Arti
AwardsPeople's Architect of the USSR (October 20, 1970)
BuildingsHouse on the Embankment
ProjectsPalace of Soviets (never built)

Boris Mihailovich Iofan (Russian: Борис Михайлович Иофан, IPA: [ɪɐˈfan]; April 28th 1891–March 11th 1976) was a Jewish[1] Soviet architect, known for his Stalinist architecture buildings like 1931 House on the Embankment and the 1931-1933 winning draft of the Palace of Soviets.

Iofan's House on the Embankment, present day


Born in Odessa, Iofan graduated in 1916 from Italy's Regio Istituto Superiore di Belle Arti (now Accademia di Belle Arti) in Rome with a degree in architecture, initially following the Neoclassical tradition. His first major work was a Barvikha sanatorium for the Party elite (1929), which introduced him to clients at the top of the state.

In 1931, Iofan completed the elite block-wide House on the Embankment (official name Дом Правительства, Government Building). The structure, containing 505 apartments,[2] two theaters and retail stores, became an iconic example of early Stalinism. Boris Iofan was a lifelong resident of this building.

Palace of Soviets[edit]

Iofan's entry to the Palace of Soviets contest won in 1932 (first prize was actually split among three competing entries, but eventually Joseph Stalin awarded the job to Iofan). His design was awarded a gold medal during the 1937 International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris. Church of Christ the Savior, a monument initiated by Alexander I (and consecrated by Alexander III), was razed for construction of the palace (before the contest began). Construction proceeded slowly; in response to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa, in June 1941 construction work was halted at a time when the structure's steel frame stood 50 metres high. The frame was subsequently disassembled and scrapped for weapons production. In 1958, the Moscow Swimming Pool was erected at the site, after construction of the palace was abandoned. This open-air pool was eventually shut down and the cathedral was rebuilt at the same location in 1994-1995.

Iofan designed Soviet Pavilions at World Expo in Paris (1937) and New York (1939). Later, he bid for the Moscow State University skyscraper project in Moscow (1947); the job was awarded to Lev Rudnev. In his later years, Iofan was awarded the title of People's Architect of the USSR (October 20, 1970).[3]


  • 1925 - Building on Rusakovskaya Street, 7
  • 1927 - Russian State Agrarian University - Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Administrative building, Kolkhoz building
  • 1928-1931 - First House of Soviets of the CEC and SNK of the USSR (House on the Embankment)
  • 1931 - Designing the Palace of Soviets
  • 1935 - Sanatorium of the Medical and Sanitary Management of the Kremlin "Barvikha" (now clinical sanatorium "Barvikha")
  • 1937 - Pavilion of the international exhibition in Paris and the idea of the sculpture by V. Mukhina Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
  • 1938 - ZiS Culture House (then the cinema and branch No. 1 of the Amo Palace of Culture "ZiL", now the Leisure Center in the Zyuzino area on Simferopol Boulevard, 4)
  • 1939 - Soviet pavilion of the exhibition in New York
  • 1938-1944 - Baumanskaya metro station
  • 1944-1947 - Laboratory of Academician P. L. Kapitsa
  • Reconstruction and restoration of the Vakhtangov Theater
  • 1947-1948 - Projects of Stalin high-rises, buildings of the Moscow University
  • 1957 - Central Clinical Hospital, 15 Marshal Timoshenko Street, Kuntsevo District, Moscow
  • 1962-1975 - Complex of apartment buildings in Moscow on Shcherbakovskaya Street (houses No. 7, 9, 11, co-authors D. Alekseev, N. Chelyshev, A. Smekhov)
  • 1972 - Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism (last implemented project)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Radio "Echo moscvy": "Architect of power"
  2. ^ House on the Embankment web site:
  3. ^ История почетного звания «Народный архитектор СССР», on (accessed in September 2010)

External links[edit]