Friday, February 04, 2011
Sutyagin House (once the tallest wooden structure)
It no longer exists, but at one time, the Sutyagin House in Archangel, Russia, was was the largest wooden structure in the world. Its impressive 13 floors (reaching a final height of 144 feet) was all the more impressive when it is revealed that it was pretty much designed and built by one man, Nikolai Sutyagin.
Nikolai was a hard working man who had grown up in the Soviet Union. In 1992, when Russia began taking steps towards capitalism, Sutyagin cornered (some say through gangsterism) the lumber business in Archangel.
Now the richest man in the city, Sutyagin wanted to display his wealth and had plenty of lumber, so in defiance of building codes, he began expanding his house. He kept adding on bit by bit, occasionally stopping for a time, only to resume again. At one point, after a few years, he thought he was finished, but then realized that if he kept going a little higher, he'd have a view of the sea.
His work was finally halted in 1998, when he was sent to prison for four years on racketeering charges. When he was released, he discovered that his rivals had robbed him blind and now he didn't have the money to finish his home or to bribe building inspectors (Archangel has a two story limit on wooden structures). To stave off authorities, he sealed the roof at the second floor and claimed in court that everything above was decorative. However, in 2008, the city condemned the property as a fire hazard and on December 26, 2008, demolition began.
I always find it interesting what one man can do if he puts his mind to it.