#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Those houses were located on the first Norilsk street – Gornaya. In 1935, the first two-storey building in the village was built on it – the combine’s management office. In addition, there was the city council’s building, the first nursery school, the first building of the drama theater and a club.
In the 1940s, they began to massively build stone houses, but even then the work of builders was minimally mechanized. Construction materials were lifted to a height with a jib crane: a metal support, a cable, an electric motor below – that was the equipment. First, the foundations of stone pillars were placed, monolithic reinforced concrete beams were laid on top, then the walls were laid.
The builders worked in three shifts, and the first one prepared materials and heated the ground for the foundations with bonfires, there was no pile construction yet.
The pits were dug to the rocky base to strengthen the buildings on a reliable foundation, sometimes reaching a depth of 15 meters or more. They built from local materials: brick, reinforced concrete and gypsum factories appeared.
At the same time, in the new part of the town, houses of four floors were erected. And mechanization remained the same.
It was especially difficult to build towers on Octyabrskaya square. The builders, not used to working at heights, felt like birds on wires.
By the end of the 1950s, thanks to technological progress, the construction of Norilsk had grown exponentially: from 1955 to 1960, more housing was built than in the previous 17 years. And after the pile founding method of Mikhail Kim was introduced, the growth rate of Norilsk increased even more: residential buildings from piles to finishing were erected not even in months but in days. For example, the installation of a residential house at 22 Begichev street took only 21 days in November 1968. True, without taking into account the time spent on driving the piles.
The last residential building – on 4b Ordzhonikidze street – was built in 2002. After that, the construction industry in Norilsk came to a standstill for almost ten years: from 2002 to 2011, not a single building was built. Only in 2011 the long hiatus was interrupted. On Komsomolskaya street, on the grillages of the demolished old buildings, they began to build three low-rise residential ones.
For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.
Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive