The Lubyanka (Russian: Лубя́нка; IPA: [lʊˈbʲankə]) is the popular name for the headquarters of the KGB and affiliated prison on Lubyanka Square in Moscow, Russia. It is a large Neo-Baroque building with a facade of yellow brick designed by Alexander V. Ivanov in 1897 and augmented by Aleksey Shchusev from 1940 to 1947.
The Lubyanka was originally built in 1898 as the headquarters of the All-Russia Insurance Company. It is noted for its beautiful parquet floors and pale green walls. Belying its massiveness, the edifice avoids an impression of heroic scale: isolated Palladian and Baroque details, such as the minute pediments over the corner bays and the central loggia, are lost in an endlessly-repeating palace facade where three bands of cornices emphasize the horizontal lines. A clock is centered in the uppermost-band of the facade.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the structure was seized by the government for the headquarters of the secret police, then called the Cheka. In Soviet Russian jokes, it was referred to as the tallest building in Moscow, since Siberia could be seen from its basement. Another joke referred to the building as "Adult's World" as compared to "Children's World," the name of the popular toy shop across the street ("Detsky Mir" in Russian).
During the Great Purge, the offices became increasingly cramped due to staff numbers. In 1940 Aleksey Shchusev was commissioned to double its size by adding another storey and engulfing backstreet buildings. Shchusev's design accentuated Neo-Renaissance detailing, but only the left part of the facade was reconstructed under his direction in the 1940s, due to the war and other hindrances. This asymmetric facade survived intact until 1983, when the symmetry was restored at the urging of Communist Party General Secretary and former KGB Director Yuri Andropov in accordance with Shchusev's plans.