World's tallest log cabin

World’s tallest log cabin

Visit Arkhangelsk in north-west Russia and you can’t fail to miss probably the world’s tallest log cabin. Built by one time gangster Nikolai Sutyagin and looking like a cross between a pile of timber awaiting bonfire night and a horror fairy tale castle, the wooden house reaches 144ft and has 13 floors.

Sutyagin began his project in 1992, vowing to build a two stoey house grander than his neighbours to reflect his status as the city’s richest man. After a trip to see wooden houses in Norway and Japan, he decided he wasn’t utilising his roof space enough and continued building.

“First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom”, he said. “So I added another and still it didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see is a happy accident”.

Unfortunately, in 1998 Sutyagin was convicted on racketeeing charges and given four years in prison, his third jail term. While in prison, rivals stole his money and possesions and dumped his five cars in the river Dvina. From being a millionaire he is now penniless.

Sutyagin, aged 60, now lives in four draughty rooms at the bottom of his log house pile with his wife Lena, 32.

Neighbours think it’s an eyesore and the city authorities have stated the bylaw that no wooden structures should be higher than two floors and warn that the whole thing could go up in flames.

Sutyagin plans to fight action to pull it down and claims that everything above the second floor is purely decorative.

“This would have been a great room for making love”, he said, balancing on a plank he had just thrown over a gaping chasm in the floor,”Look at the view!”

Interview by Adrian Blomfield