A four-story apartment building in
Many Chinese continue to live in four and five-story walk-up
buildings which became condominiums in the early days of the economic
Khrushchyovka is a type of low-cost, cement-paneled or brick three- to
five-storied apartment building which was developed in the USSR during
the early 1960s, during the time its namesake Nikita Khrushchev
directed the Soviet government.
Traditional masonry is labor-intensive; individual projects were slow
and not scalable to the needs of overcrowded cities.
To ameliorate a severe housing shortage, during 1947-1951 Soviet
architects evaluated various technologies attempting to reduce costs
and completion time. During 1954-1961, engineer Vitaly Lagutenko, chief
planner of Moscow since 1956, designed and tested the mass-scale,
industrialized construction process.
This is an early Russian
communist countries built Khrushyovkas until the end of communism;
millions of such units are now past their design lifetime.
The Khrushchovka design was an early attempt at industrialised and
prefabricated building. Elevators were considered too costly and time
consuming to build, and according to Soviet health/safety standards,
five stories was the maximum height of a building without an elevator.
Thus, almost all Khrushyovkas have five stories.
Typical apartments of the K-7 series have a total area of 323 sq ft
(1-room), 474 sq ft) (2-room) and 646 sq ft (3-room). Later designs
further reduced these areas.
A Khrushchyovka in the former USSR
These apartments were planned for small families, but in reality
not unusual for three generations of people to live together in
These buildings are found
in great numbers all over the former communist states. They were
originally considered to be temporary housing.
Although many of these older apartment buildings are being torn down to
make room for new development, many Chinese continue to live in
Khrushchyovka-style buildings today.
A modern condo walk-up apartment building in Changchun
There are many modern Khrushchyovka-styled condominium buildings
being built in China today. The building and maintenance costs are
lower if there are no elevators and that is important to a lot of