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 Lev Rudnev

Born:   March 3, 1885
Deceased:   November 19, 1956

Author of the Colossus of MSU


The imposing monumental buildings projected by the famous Soviet architect Lev Rudnev cannot but leave a lasting impression of stern beauty and might. His giants of the Moscow State University (MSU) and the Frunze Military Academy make up a specific face of the capital of Russia.

Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev was born on March 13, 1885 into a teachers family in the town of Opochka. He graduated a college and an art school in Riga (Latvia) and in 1906 entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.

During his studies already Rudnev started his architecture design and building construction practice. Along with academic classes he gained deeper perception of classical Russian architecture while working as an assistant in the architect Fomins workshop. The very first independent project of the student Rudnev attracted attention of the Association of Architect Artists.

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw From 1911 Rudnev was a success in various architectural competitions, and in 1915 he became a certified specialist in the art of architecture.

February 1917 saw the notorious revolutionary upheavals in Russia, and in a month already, in March, Lev Rudnev took part in the competition for the monument to Victims of Revolution in Marsovo Pole (St. Petersburg). He got the first award and the monument was made according to his project.

The building of the Frunze Military Academy (19321937, with the co-author Munts) became a landmark on the large-scale creative way of Rudnev and justly occupied a fitting place in the range of outstanding works of Soviet architecture. As required by the competitive program, the building was supposed to express might and power of the Red Army by its architectural design, while its interior was to secure high status of military and political training of the Red Army commanders.

Marsovo Pole After the end of the Great Patriotic War Lev Rudnev took active part in reconstruction of the ruinous cities of Voronezh, Stalingrad, and Riga, and built collective farms in Moscow region. In post-war Moscow he erected a range of apartment houses, including those in Sadovo-Kudrinskaya Street (19451948, with co-authors Munts and Ase) and Volodarskogo Street (with co-author Chernyavsky).

The pinnacle of Rudnevs creativity, his most remarkable architectural work is undoubtedly the ensemble of the Lomonosov Moscow State University on Vorobyovy (then Lenins) Hills (19481953, jointly with S. Chernyshov, P. Abrosimov, A. Khryakov, and engineer V. Nasonov). According to the written statement interpreting the authors concept, the bright image of the Moscow State University was to encourage joy of life and vivacious spirits.

MSU The complex of MSU buildings is markedly sculptural. Rudnevs conviction, that the air, surrounding the building, is no less part of the composition, than the construction itself was here put into practice. The high plateau on the bank of the River Moskva, where the university complex was built, provided unique opportunities for formation of the new architectural ensemble. The ensembles integrity with nature and the architectural emphasizing of the height of Vorobyovy Hills speak for the maturity of the prominent master of architecture.

On November 19, 1956, three years after the building of the MSU was completed, Lev Rudnev passed away.

A memorial plate in his honour can be seen on a wall of the house at the address 28-30 Sadovo-Kudrinskaya Street, where the architect got apartments at the end of his life.



Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin


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