Back - List of Pavilions

USSR - Expo Paris 1937

USSR at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1937
© La Photolith
Architect(s) : Boris Iofan

The location of the Soviet pavilion above the subway determined its proportions: 160 metres long and 21.5 metres wide.

The author of the project was the chief architect of the pavilion, Mr. Boris IOFAN (the same one who directed the construction of the pavilion of the Palace of Soviets, in Moscow), who was inspired by the dynamism and the creative impulse that marked the economic, cultural and social activity of the USSR. These are the same ideas that inspired Mrs. Mukhina, the author of the sculptural group, "Worker and Kolkhoz Woman", which crowned the pavilion. The 24.60 metre high group was made of stainless steel and weighed 65 tonnes. Its technical execution was designed and carried out by the Central Research Institute for Mechanics and Metallurgy in Moscow, under the direction of engineer Lvov.

The facade of the pavilion was covered with marble slabs of different colours from the Urals, Central Asia, etc.

On both sides of the entrance there are propylaea decorated with bas-reliefs, the work of Joseph Chaikov's statuary.

The large door was decorated with bas-reliefs by Professor Favorsky. The interior design of the pavilion was entrusted to the artist-painter Suetin.

It should be added that the pavilion was built almost entirely with French labour and materials.

The objects exhibited in the halls and rooms of the pavilion gave an overall picture of the development of art and technology in the eleven republics belonging to the Soviet Union in the twentieth year of its existence.

The USSR pavilion was built entirely on the new passageway under the Tokyo Pier, and could be described as a monolithic composition of sculpture and architecture.

Relatively low, its height increased towards the main façade at the Pont d'Ièna. It was completed in the tower, which was half concrete, half metal and covered with a rare Gazgan marble completely unknown in Western Europe.

A monumental statue equal in height to a six-storey building, representing a young worker and a young kolkhoz woman brandishing a sickle and a hammer, dominates the top.

Two grandiose frescoes adorned the vestibule of the main entrance, which could lead to the five exhibition rooms.

In the first, where a sculpted group of Lenin and Stalin stood, you were shown the extent of the Soviet territory, its natural resources and industry, by means of electrified maps, diagrams, decorative panels, the Stalinist constitution illustrated by artistic documentation, and the measures to protect labour, public health, mother and child.

The second section revealed the fruitful activity of science in the USSR.

A table showed which books were most in demand in libraries by working-class readers. The work of Maxim Gorky and the centenary of the great poet Pushkin were the subject of two special stands. In this second hall and in the third, the stage occupied an important place, especially the popular, Red Army, children's and peasant theatres.

Painting, sculpture and applied art also featured in the latter section, while the fourth dealt with rail and water transport, aviation and the conquest of the Arctic.

The fifth section of this vast and very clear Soviet exhibition was devoted to architecture, town planning, industrial and cultural construction, the transformation of Moscow and Leningrad, popular festivals, and happy childhoods, which served as subjects for the large wall panels.

Copyright By Society for the Development of Tourism