Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

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 150m across, en­clos­ing a large in­ner court­yard with play­grounds and green spa­ces.

The build­ing was to have over 900 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 houses across Moscow were drawn up.

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 sym­bol­ise 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 re­alised, were too ex­pen­sive to main­tain.

Be­sides, the pro­posed lo­ca­tions 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 20 en­trances. Some say that find­ing the right en­trance and lo­cat­ing the cor­rect apart­ment is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult. Lo­cals af­fec­tion­ately call them ‘bagel house’.

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