The Rise Of The Prefabricated Tower Block

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To understand the rise of the prefabricated tower block it is important to recognize that their existence came about as a reaction to contemporary architecture which was codified at the state level. During and after the Second World War, Soviet Realism became the dominant force in urban architecture in the Soviet sphere, especially as Moscow installed puppet states throughout the Eastern Bloc which copied the policies of the USSR. This development was not accepted well by architects and intellectuals, especially in Germany, where the legacy of pre-war modernism was very obvious in cities like Berlin, but also in cities like Moscow, Prague, and Sofia where the classicism endorsed by Stalin was like going back a century. Stalin’s preference for a building style highlighting the power of the Soviet people resulted in a complete stagnation of other forms or architecture, and although very solidly built, his buildings were built on mostly important thoroughfares as prestige projects since the state could hardly pay for every building to fit this style, making its impact on most citizens negligible unless they were privileged enough to get an apartment in one of these buildings. So, rather than to further soviet goals of housing for all, these buildings made social stratification very obvious, as homeless laborers would walk down streets past new buildings with ornate stonework in which they had little hope of ever stepping inside, let alone living. In terms of interior program,
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