In the early 1970s, Russian architect Evgeny Stamo and engineer Alexander Markelov came up with plans for an unusual house in the capital city Moscow. The house was to be shaped like a ring, about 150 meters across, enclosing a large inner courtyard with playgrounds and green spaces. The building was to have over nine hundred apartments, and all the necessary services and facilities, including shops, a pharmacy, a laundry room, a studio, post office, and so on. When completed in 1972, the authorities were so impressed that plans for more such house across Moscow were drawn up.
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At that time, the Summer Olympic Games of 1980, which was to be hosted by the Soviet Union, was approaching, and the city decided to build five similar ring-shaped houses to symbolize the event. However, by the time the second ring house went up in 1979, on Dovzhenko street, the project was already shelved. The Soviet Union was on the brink of an economic collapse, and the buildings, it was realized, were too expensive to maintain. They are also bulky and inconvenient.
Besides, the proposed location of the buildings were spaced too far apart to provide any meaningful association with the five Olympic rings. Even if it did, a pedestrian could never see the rings from the street level or appreciate the composition.
Today, both buildings are still used as apartments. Each building has nine floors and over twenty entrances. Some say that finding the right entrance and locating the correct apartment is extremely difficult.
Locals affectionately call them the “bagel house”.