Born in Shostka (Sumy Oblast, today in Ukraine) to a working-class family, after service in the Red Army Chechulin enrolled in the state school Vkhutemas and graduated in 1929, doing post-graduate work under Alexey Shchusev.
In the 1930s Chechulin was awarded commissions for four stations of the Moscow Metro, and developed his career to design a list of familiar Moscow landmarks. From 1945 through 1949 he served as chief architect of Moscow.
Chechulin's work intersects with the Palace of the Soviets competition (the major event in Soviet architectural history) at multiple points. He was among the twelve finalists in the final round. He is credited for the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, one of the seven Moscow vysotki (tall buildings) commissioned by Stalin after World War II as a "frame" for, and then in lieu of, the unbuilt Palace. Chechulin had produced plans for the unbuilt eighth tower, the Zaryadye skyscraper, in 1947. And when, after decades of neglect and delay, the huge excavation for the Palace of the Soviets finally became the world's largest open-air swimming pool in 1958, he was the architect.
Chechulin wrote nearly 40 books, pamphlets, monographs and articles on architecture, urban planning and design issues. Among his many awards were Hero of Socialist Labour (1976), People's Architect of the USSR (1971), two Orders of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labour, the Order of Honour, and three Stalin Prizes (1941, 1949, 1953).
He died October 29 in 1981, and is buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.
(in Moscow unless otherwise indicated)
- Komsomolskaya (Sokolnicheskaya Line) station, Moscow Metro, 1935
- vestibules for Okhotny Ryad Metro station, 1935
- Kievskaya (Filyovskaya Line) Metro station, 1937
- vestibules for the Dynamo Metro station, 1938
- the Moscow Pavilion at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, now the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, 1939
- Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, 1940
- the Victory Bridge (with sculptor Nikolai Tomsky), 1943
- the Stalinist skyscraper at the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment (one of the Seven Sisters), 1947–1952
- the Hotel Peking, 1955
- Moskva Pool, 1958
- the White House, 1965–1981
- the Rossiya Hotel, Moscow, on the site of the unbuilt Zaryadye tower, 1967 (razed 2006)
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