The modern residential complexes, called "housing combines", emerged in the early 20th century. Its concept is similar to modern multifunctional complexes. However, nowadays the developers do not provide such a wide set of services that were provided back then. The most we have presently are shops, cafes, restaurants, and entertainment centers.
What were the functions of the housing combines in the 1920-1930s? What Did the structure of such complexes look like?
The housing combines were mostly built as state-owned property and belonged to a separate department. Like the "Red Industrialist" on Pravda Ave. This residential complex consists of two buildings that together form the massive block. A kindergarten and a school were planned to be put on the ground floor. Each apartment consisted of three or five rooms the size from 15 to 20 m2, the kitchen, and the bathroom. There also was a huge courtyard park.
Social city of the Automobile Plant in Nizhny Novgorod. Graphic perspective. Arch. brothers VA G. A. Stenberg, 1930
Housing combines could also be called spatial units of the social city. Those dwellings often consisted of several residential buildings, children's institutions, laundries, communal showers, canteens, and shared household buildings. Residential buildings were partly with individual flats, others with communal ones. The shared household building consisted of a hall for meetings, rest and classrooms, dining room, kitchen, central lobby, gym, and utility rooms. In most of those projects, covered passages connected residential buildings with children's institutions, or with each other. Thus, the housing combine was supposed to be an autonomous structure to save time and free women from house slavery, so that people could apply all their efforts to production. But such passages have remained in the projects, and we cannot give an example of its realization.