Technical revolution in Norilsk construction occurred in late 1950s

Technical revolution in Norilsk construction occurred in late 1950s

November 28, 2023

At that time they moved from pits to piles, from original designs to standard ones, from manual labor to industrial methods.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. It cannot be said that the new houses were more beautiful, but it is clear that they were built faster and easier. Norilsk resident Joseph Shamis recalled how the transition to large-panel housing construction began in Norilsk.

“In Norilsk, almost from the first steps of the widespread expansion of construction (1939–1940), prefabricated elements were used in the industrial structures. Thus, during the construction of the central mechanical repair plant, reinforced concrete foundations for columns, purlins, and crossbars were made on plank platforms near the building under construction, then installed at the assembly sites. Small roof elements were prefabricated: ribbed reinforced concrete tiles. They were manufactured in a small workshop of reinforced concrete products, which was located on the brick and block plant’s site.

As construction progressed, especially in the city, the range of reinforced concrete products workshop expanded. They began to produce door and window lintels of various sizes, small beams, collector blocks, rings for manholes, segments for heating mains, curbs (side stones) for roads. But the share of collection was very small, and the specified products did not make any difference – monolithic reinforced concrete still remained the basis.

But in 1954–1955, a widespread advance of new technology began: prefabrication was introduced in both industrial and residential construction.This is how it was in Moscow, Leningrad and at other large construction sites in the country. And in Norilsk they began to think about turning construction sites into assembly sites, that is, into places where structures and elements manufactured at the plant would be delivered and their installation would be carried out.

Yes, we need to rebuild construction technology. It is necessary to build a high-capacity reinforced concrete products plant. It is necessary to widely use standard design… But Norilsk – that same Norilsk, always so receptive to everything new, progressive, in this case slowly moved forward towards new technology. Norilsk was clearly late. Only in 1955 did the development of a project for a large reinforced concrete products plant begin. Its first stage came into operation only in 1957, the second – in 1959. This powerful plant began to produce hollow floor slabs, stairs, interior partitions and many products for industrial construction.

…On a fine day in 1955, the same year when prefabricated technology began to firmly gain ground on the mainland, a truck stopped at the construction department building on Octyabrskaya street. The head of the reinforced concrete products workshop came out of the cab, and meanwhile several workers jumped out of the back onto the sidewalk. They threw back the sides and together began to unload some large cargo. They picked it up and carried it into the building. It turned out that that load… was part of a residential building’s wall. Yes, it was a block – a prefabricated element of a house wall! In this block, the filling of the window opening was installed, that is, a window frame, double glazed frames with vents, a window sill and an external ebb; hinges, latches – everything was in its place. A cast-iron heating radiator was installed in a shallow niche under the window, and coolant supply pipes were connected to it. Everything was painted in light colors, 100% ready! All that remained was to move the block to the appropriate place on the wall and secure it…

It was an event that made a strong impression! It was the first building block in Norilsk in its permanent form and in full size.

The Norilsk combine’s director, Alexey Loginov, got acquainted with the product in the workshop, gathered designers and builders there and explained to everyone that the prefabrication method was extremely important, especially for the Norilsk construction – in the conditions of the Arctic with its cold and strong winds. He demanded that we urgently and unanimously take action to do everything for the widespread introduction of prefabrication throughout the entire construction front…”

In the History Spot photo project’s, we told you that the most popular entertainment in Norilsk was cinema.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

November 28, 2023

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