'Robot' building in Kaliningrad to be demolished next year

House of Soviets, compared to robot’s head, was left unfinished after Soviet Union’s collapse

House of Soviets in Kaliningrad has been assessed to be structurally unsound.
House of Soviets in Kaliningrad has been assessed to be structurally unsound. Photograph: Travelarium/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A hulking, never-occupied building sardonically likened to a robot’s head that has loomed over the Russian city of Kaliningrad for decades is to be demolished next year, the region’s governor says.

The 21-storey House of Soviets was left unfinished when funding ran out in 1985 amid the Soviet Union’s economic struggles. The building, which later was assessed to be structurally unsound, became one of the city’s architectural emblems, particularly when the fan zone for the 2018 World Cup matches in Kaliningrad was set up in a vast square next to it.

The Brutalist building’s protruding covered balconies resembling two eyes and a mouth, led to it acquiring the nickname “The Buried Robot”.

The regional governor, Anton Alikhanov, said demolition was expected to begin early next year and officials were discussing the possibility of making fragments of it available as souvenirs, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper has reported.

Kaliningrad is the administrative centre of the Russian exclave of the same name, which is located between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea.