Why buildings higher than nine floors were not built in the USSR: all the reasons

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Haste and total economy affected the appearance of Soviet cities

How many Soviet skyscrapers can you remember? Just a few, and all of them were built in large cities as administrative buildings. Residential buildings in the USSR seldom exceeded 9 floors. But why?

OBOZ.UA tried to understand this issue. It turns out that there were several reasons for this. All of them can basically be reduced to one - the planned economy was inefficient, and its standards severely limited the development of construction technologies.

State standards and economy

Housing construction in the USSR, ever since the state declared the goal of providing each family with a separate home, has been carried out at a very fast pace and over a very large territory. To ensure that deadlines were met, it was necessary to build in strict accordance with standards, and these standards had to be the same everywhere. From the point of view of simplicity and speed of construction, 9 floors turned out to be the maximum allowable building height. Higher buildings would have had to be equipped with two elevators – one for passengers and one for freight – and additional fire safety measures. This made the construction significantly more expensive and time-consuming, which did not fit into the government's plans and did not meet the requirements for saving resources.

Building safety

Speaking of fire safety. The ninth floor was the highest that a standard Soviet fire truck could reach. The absence of internal smoke detection and fire extinguishing systems made the construction of taller buildings not only impractical but also dangerous. In addition, according to the standards, gas could not be supplied to taller buildings, which increases the likelihood of an explosion and greatly complicates the liquidation of its consequences.

Different construction conditions

The vast territory of the USSR and the completely different geographical features of each region made high-rise construction impossible. After all, each type of landscape, soil, and different level of seismic hazard requires a separate development project. This means additional time and money. The builders didn't have time for this, because they had to implement the plan and create a picture for propaganda. It's probably not worth mentioning money again. That is why massive Soviet buildings were typical and did not exceed nine floors. It also turned cities throughout the USSR into faceless clones of each other.

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