#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The building was erected at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War, despite the fact that the temporary design instructions then strictly prescribed: “Exclude clubs, cinema and other cultural and social institutions from construction plans, and those started to suspend”.
Architects Vitold Nepokoichitsky and Lydia Minenko, who had arrived from Leningrad, were commissioned to design the first Norilsk House of Culture.
“Once I was summoned by the combine’s chief engineer Zverev to his office”, Nepokoichitsky recalled. “With a somewhat mysterious look, he instructed me to draw up a draft design of the DITR, using the existing foundations of the canteen, the construction of which was mothballed. Zverev warned me that he wanted the project be presented to the management as a surprise, and therefore the operation had to be carried out as quickly as possible and without publicity. Lida and I worked in two hands, and while I was deciding the layout of the volume, she was looking for the most expressive appearance of the structure. Both our project and Zverev’s initiative received full approval from the management. Simultaneously with the general construction drawings, interiors were developed. Of all my early projects, DITR was the most significant and interesting. It was designed in a classical way with a lot of stucco details”.
Despite the classic architecture with rich finishes and wartime, the DITR was built quite quickly.
For the November holidays of 1942, the exterior and interiors were ready. On October 31, the night before the opening, the DITR board members sewed the curtain with their own hands.
Although the DITR was a closed club for the management and the best workers, all residents of the Norilsk settlement tried to get in there: both civilians and prisoners.
It was worth it: all the components of cultural and even luxurious life – film shows, performances, concerts, a library and even a puppet theater – were concentrated in the DITR at that time.
Meetings and conferences, ceremonial awards and seeing the Norilsk people to the front were also held there.
In the last issue of the History spot photo project, we talked about the first – wooden – ski station in Norilsk, which was built in 1942.
For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive