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TZKYTHERUSSIANCOUN NTYOUNGPIONEERPALA NGCHERNIKHOVCREATI ATONDACHACOOPARCH USEVARCHITECTSMOSC EKELELEMENTSCIRCULA ORPNARKOMFINNEWBY OPYOUNGPIONEERPALA RNIKHOVCREATIVESOL CIALSOLUTIONSTHERUS OPMENTARCHIPELAGOT


Pavilion of the Russian Federation at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition — la Biennale di Venezia


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Contents FAIR MAP 8 EDITOR’S LETTER

Russia’s Past, Our Present 10 THE BIG PICTURE

Disaster and Displacement 13 Architecture’s Digital Dependence 14 The Consumerist Childhood 17 Industrial Impersonal 18 Russia Around the World 21 PEEP SHOW

Eternal Russian 22 Re-Use 25 Pure Form 26 Develop by reviving 29 Architecture of Enlightenment 31 Motivation in Motion 32 ELEVATOR PITCH

Ark-Stroy 34 Dacha Co-op 38 New Byt Lab 40 TESTIMONIAL

The Art of Real Life 42 Enlightenment, Not Entertainment 46 EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

Personal Hygiene is a Public Affair 50 Eternal Russian 55 Revive by Developing, Develop by Reviving 76 Collectivity For Any Context 82 Khidekel Elements 89 EXPERT ASSESSMENT

Lissitzky 94 BACKGROUND CHECK

VKhUTEMAS Training 100 CASE STUDY

Motivation in Motion 113 The Same, but Better 127 75 Years of Success 133 HOW I DO IT

Iakov Chernikhov on How to Bridge Fantasy and Functionality 150

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 3


Pavilion of the Russian Federation at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition — la Biennale di Venezia Curator Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design Anton Kalgaev Brendan McGetrick Daria Paramonova Comissioner Semyon Mikhailovsky With the support of The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation General Partner   Gazprombank Partner State Corporation Rostec Project team CEO Strelka Institute Producer Exhibition Designers Head of Graphic Design Performance Director Project Assistant

Varvara Melnikova Natalia Boyko Anton Kalgaev Brendan McGetrick Daria Paramonova Maria Kosareva Philipp Grigoryan Vera Antonova

With special thanks to Board of Trustees of Strelka Institute and personally Alexander Mamut, Sergey Adonyev, Sergey Gordeev, Dmitry Likin, Oleg Shapiro

Concept collaborators Kiril Asse Anna Bronovitskaya Vadim Bass Svetlana Boym Yuri Grigoryan Ilya Mukosey Tatiana Efrussi Marianna Evstratova Dmitry Fesenko Steven E. Harris Ondrej Janku Andrey Kaftanov Nikolay Kalashnikov Ekaterina Kalemeneva Olga Kazakova Igor Kazus’ Mark Khidekel Regina Khidekel Roman Khidekel Konstantin Khrupin Marina Khrustaleva Sergey Koluzakov Elena Kozlova-Afonasieva Dmitry Kozlov Julia Kosenkova Nina Kraynyaya SergeyKulikov-Shuysky Alexander Lozhkin Yana Lisitsyna Nikolay Malinin Steven Marks Mark Meerovich Alexey Muratov Nicolai Ouroussoff Vladimir Paperny Eduard Putintsev Grigory Revzin Denis Romodin Ivan Sablin Wendy Salmon Andrey Shcherbenok Alexander Shipkov Dmitry Shvidkovsky Peter Sigrist Anastasia Smirnova Kuba Snopek Alexander Strugac Vladimir Tankayan Yuri Volchok Alexander Velikanov Vladimir Verkhovin Ksenia Vytuleva Erica Wolf Galina Yakovleva Alexander Zukerman

Consultants and Researchers Victor Ruben Nikita Lomakin Sergey Bondarenko Markus Lahteenmaki Tobias Rupprecht Performers Juliya Ardabyevskaya Vasily Auzan Daria Bocharnikova Anna Bokov Anna Bronovitskaya Konstantin Budarin Maria Fadeeva Anton Ivanov Roman Khidekel Andrey Korshunkov Ivan Kuryachiy Markus Lahteenmaki Odin Lund Biron Elena Martynova Sergey Nebotov Evgenia Nedosekina Pavel Nefedov Alexander Ostrogorsky Daliya Safiullina Elena Tsykhon Dmitry Zadorin


General Partner

Gazprombank is proud to stand as General Partner of the project for the Russian Pavilion at the 14th International Architectural Biennale in Venice. Promoting cultural programmes, both in Russia and abroad, takes a special place in the activities of Gazprombank. The Bank has always been actively involved in bringing various projects to life in the sphere of culture. Working together in partnership with the curator of the Russian Pavilion at the Biennale — the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design — will constitute yet another step along the way to implement Gazprombank’s programmes in support of the advancement of Russian culture in the world at large. Gazprombank (an open joint-stock company) is one of Russia’s foremost universal financing institutions, offering a wide range of banking, financial and investment products and services to corporate and private clients, financial institutions, institutional and private investors. The Bank figures among the top three largest banks in the country on all basic indicators, and comes third in the list of Central and Eastern European banks in terms of its capital net worth. The Bank occupies a strong position in domestic and international financial markets, being a Russian leader in the organisation and underwriting of corporate bond issuance, in assets management, and in the sphere of private banking services, corporate financing and other areas of investment banking.


Materials and assistance Agey Tomesh / WAM Publishing Group Archive of A.M.Schusev Central ScientificTechnical Library on Construction and Architecture Children’s creative studio at Union of Moscow Architects (Alisa Pasternak, Olga Garmash) Garage Museum of Contemporary Art The homeowners association “Na Tulskoy” Iakov Chernikhov International Foundation — ICIF JSC “Mosproekt” Archive Lazar Khidekel International Society sposored by GC Metan Energy, Möhr Law Office Library of All-Russian Exhibition Centre National Film Foundation of Russian Federation Online community “Contemporary prefabricated architecture” Schusev State Museum of Architecture Graphic Designers Natalia Serikova Timur Akhmetov Alexei Sebyakin Andrei Goncharov Photography Yuri Palmin Konstantin Budarin Ekaterina Nagibina Pavel Nefedov Illustrators Juliya Ardabyevskaya Alina Kvirkvelia Alexandra Bogdanova Evgeny Katin (Bang! Bang! Studio) Julia Malysheva Maja Wronska Victor Ruben Video Artists Alexander Lobanov Yury Corneo Cameramen Dmitry Boyko Alexei Platonov

Costume Designer Galya Solodovnikova Drawings, Models and Plans by Sofia Sverdlova Maria Tsentsiper Daniil Khlebnikov Olga Pankova Nadezhda Korbut Anastasia Vaynberg Tamara Muradova Arkadiy Smirnov Translators and Editors Emily Catherine Eyles Olga Grinkrug Anastasia Lipatova Ekaterina Lobkova Ben McGarr Polina Minor Nina Nazarova Construction General Construction Baeren GmbH Internationaler Messebau Directing of pre-installation Th&Ma architettura srl Pre-installation Edilmar srl Peroni S.p.A Minto Francesco srl Alessandro Gasparini Light Equipment Baeren GmbH Internationaler Messebau Impianti elettrici Riato snc Audio & Video Equipment Baeren GmbH Internationaler Messebau Save Technology srl

Exhibits production Baeren GmbH Internationaler Messebau Bogdan Zavalei Workshop Certus Art Bureau (Oleg Griko, Sergey Smirnov) OTT art srl RIA Luzhniki Vladimir Trulov Workshop (Alexey Maksimov) Sergey Nebotov Alexander Shepelev Printing office Papergraf Print Manager Katja Scholz Fair Enough App Olga Polischuk Sergey Surganov Zoreslav Khimich Audioguide performed by Sergey Chonishvili Steve Elliott Website Whitescape Fundraising & event management v confession agency

Thanks to Olga Antonova Maria Biryukova Oleg Briukhanovsky Olga Dovgoruk Vadim Galitsyn Melania Granzo Natalia Grebenchikova Joseph Grima Lidia Gumenyuk Ekaterina Guseva Giacomo Di Thienne Leonid Ignat Liza Karimova Ksenia Kharitonova Aliya Khatypova Oliver Knight Anna Krasilshchik Anna Krasinskaya Stas Kuznetsov Arseny Limanov Gleb Makarevich Andrey Matveev Rory McGrath Justin McGuirk Yulia Mironova Larisa Molodyk Dmitry Mordvintsev Anna Novikova Ekaterina Ivanova Anna Orlova Alexander Ryabsky Yulia Rudenko Sofia Savelieva Polina Savinova Roman Sedykh Nataliya Shlyakhovaya Alla Shvydkaya Anna Shirokova-Koens Giulia Tavone Tatiana Tikhonova Maurizio Torcellan Asya Ukhova


Partner

In 2014, the partner of the Russian Pavilion at the Biennale is Russia’s Rostec Corporation. Rostec consolidates 62% of the Russian industrial activity. Formed to promote the development, production and export of high-tech industrial goods for civil and military purposes, Rostec now comprises 663 organizations. Located in 60 constituent subjects of the Russian Federation, these entities employ some 900 thousand people and supply over 70 countries worldwide with their products. The corporation’s enterprises are thoroughly integrated into global economy. Rostec is proactively engaged in the development of international cooperation, attracting foreign partners - both potential investors and technologically innovative companies - into the sphere of interests of the Russian machine-building complex.

www.rostec.ru


Fair Map

Hallway

Entrance

D4

A5 D2

D3 D5

A4 6 A D1

A2

A3

C2 D7 B5

C1 B4

D6 Garden

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Reception

A1

B1

Exit

B2

B3

Balcony

A1 Estetika Ltd A2 Lissitzky A3 Dacha Co-op A4 YPPA (Young Pioneer Palace Atelier) A5 VKhUTEMAS Training A6 Chernikhov Creative Solutions B1 B2 B3

Shaping Inspiraton Financial Solutions The Russian Council for Retroactive Development B4 ArchipelagoTours B5 Ark-Stroy

C1 C2

Shchusev Architects Moscow Metro Worldwide

D1 Khidekel Elements D2 Circularity D3 Lomoff D4 U窶天DNKH D5 Prefab Corp D6 NARKOMFIN邃「 D7 New Byt Lab

June 4-8 2014 ツキ Fair Enough ツキ 9


Editor’s Letter

Russia’s Past, Our Present

Thank you for visiting Fair Enough, Russia’s contribution to Venice Biennale 2014 as curated by the Strelka Institute in Moscow. Fair Enough is our response to Absorbing Modernity: 1914–2014, the theme of the biennale’s national pavilions, as prescribed by its cura­ tor Rem Koolhaas. For Koolhaas, Modernity is defined by the spread of modernization and globalization, and, in his view, its influence has reduced international architectural diversity and replaced it with a kind of global generic. Rather than attempting to prove or disprove Koolhaas’s claims, Fair Enough answers them by taking the form of what is perhaps the ultimate manifestation of global modernity — the international trade fair, a truly universal typology in which million dollar med­ ical equipment, airplanes and artworks, imitation mobile phones, chemicals, canned foods, and curtain wall are all exchanged. As they relate to architecture, the international exhibition and commercial expo share much in common; in the case of Arch Moscow they have essentially merged, with visions for urbanizing the Russian interior presented in a context of carpet samples and molding catalogs. At the Venice Biennale, we present an exhibition as an expo, adopting the look and logic of the trade fair in order to acknowledge its influ­ ence and take advantage of its efficiency as a design.

10 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


This magazine functions as a kind of program: like the exhibition, it attempts to expose the enduring value of Russian architecture, while acknowledging the globalized, free market environment in which its mostly socialist ideas are now be sold.

Rather than presenting a linear story of Russia’s modernization, Fair Enough applies architectural history to meet contemporary needs. The exhibition takes urban ideas from the past century — some celebrated, some obscure; some seemingly outdated, some supposed failures — and gives them new purpose. To maximize its utility, each exhibited project is stripped to its conceptual essence. To illustrate their continued relevance, the concepts are updated and applied to challenges now confronting architects around the world. To make the exhibits more believable and the exhibition more surre­ al, we’ve invented companies to sell updated versions of old ideas. This magazine functions as a kind of program: like the exhibition, it attempts to expose the enduring value of Russian architecture, while acknowledging the globalized, free market environment in which its mostly socialist ideas are now be sold. Taken together, the articles, advertisements, infographics, and interviews that make up this issue offer an inventory of the ways in which design is now communicat­ ed — to clients, the press and the public. The magazine closes with a slogan: Russia’s Past, Our Present. These words adorn the pavilion’s balcony and define the exhibition inside: Russian architecture, drawn from the past century, updated and reactivated for a global audience. This is the spirit of our show: en­ gaging the past as a means of better understanding the present and generating ideas for the future. Welcome to Fair Enough.

June 4-8 2014

Fair Enough 11


The Big Picture

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The needs and desires that inspire our exhibitors


TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES

Disaster and Displacement According to the International Displace­ ment Monitoring Centre, approximately 144 million people in 125 countries were forced from their homes between 2008 and 2012. 98% of those displaced live in de­ veloping countries. Improvements in ear­ly warning systems and other life-saving mea­ sures have decreased disaster mortality rates, but increased the number of survivors in desperate need of housing. A technolo­ gy created by a former suprematist artist could provide a vital new tool. (Photo: AP/ Aaron Favila) More: Khidekel Elements, pg. 89, booth D1

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 13


THE BIG PICTURE

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

Architecture’s Digital Dependence Academics at Oxford University predict that 47% of today’s jobs could be automat­ ed in the next two decades. It is only a mat­ ter of time before architecture, a practice filled with replication and uncreative grunt work, undergoes automation. An immer­ sive training course, focused on the fun­ damental architectural concerns of space, color, volume, and graphics, and conduct­ ed entirely without computers, aims to en­courage the kind of creative sensitivi­ ty that cannot be simulated by a machine. (Photo: Candusso Arquitetos) More: VKhUTEMAS Training, pg 100, booth A5

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THE BIG PICTURE

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HONG KONG, CHINA

The Consumerist Childhood Today’s youth exist in a commodity-saturat­ed environment in which many of the cultur­al forms designed for them — children’s TV, ad­ vertisements, amusement parks, social media, and so forth — aspire to entertain, rather than to challenge. At a time when the western con­ sumerist model is being questioned by weary, post-crisis populations everywhere, the Soviet Union’s socialist approach to youth center ar­ chitecture and programming is being rejuve­ nated. (Photo: Diomedia) More: Young Pioneer Palace Atelier, pg. 42, booth A4

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 17


THE BIG PICTURE

SPRINGFIELD, UNITED STATES

Industrial Impersonal

Self-storage firms offer space-strapped customers a secure nest in which to store things they don’t need right now, but can’t bring themselves to throw away. The prac­ tice began in America, where one family in ten uses one of the country’s 50,000 facil­ ities. In recent years, the self storage sec­ tor has been booming, with an increasing amount of space offered across Europe and East Asia. However, the typical storage fa­ cility is a cold, unwelcoming industrial space. Most prohibit customers from living in their units, regardless of size or price. The dacha, Russia’s iconic country house, could breathe fresh air into this often stale sector. (Photo: Eastway Storage Center) More: Dacha Co-op, pg. 38, booth A3

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THE BIG PICTURE

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MAZAR, AFGHANISTAN

Russia Around the World Russia’s contribution to the world’s mod­ ern architecture is extensive but endan­ gered. Many important works, such as this still-functioning bread factory in Mazar, Afghanistan, are in poor condition and re­ quire repairs. The local government may not be willing or able to pay for them, leav­ ing masterpieces of Russian diplomatic de­ sign to gradually fall to ruin. Archipelago Tours, the world’s first provider of global study tours dedicated exclusively to Rus­ sian modern architecture, combines tour­ ism with preservation by directing a part of the cost of every tour it organizes to main­ taining the sites visited. (Photo: Peretz Partensky) More: Archipelago Tours, booth B4

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 21


Peep Show

Bursts of beauty from the Fair Enough booths

Eternal Russian Estetika Ltd.

Estetika Ltd. is a supplier of Russian and neo-Rus­ sian-style architectural elements. Its products are based on traditional design motifs found in peasant dwell­ings throughout the Russian countryside. Este­ tika Ltd. ornaments are crafted from modern mate­ rials that can fit any structure, at any scale, trans­ forming everything from an unfinished apartment to a glass-clad skyscraper into an expression of proud, modern, quintessentially Russian architecture. The Estetika booth presents a number of examples of small-scale ornaments and proposes a neo-Russian skyscraper as an alternative to the generic high rises that currently define financial districts in Russia and around the world.

22 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT ESTETIKA LTD. AT BOOTH A1

June 4-8 2014

Fair Enough 23


PEEP SHOW

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VISIT PREFAB CORP AT BOOTH D5

Re-Use Prefab Corp

Prefab Corp is an imaginary company, based on a hypothetical merger of all existing Russian prefabri­ cated housing suppliers into a single monopolistic entity capable of providing every possible service required for mass housing. The Prefab Corp booth’s main wall is dedicated to Re-Use — its visionary proposal for a wholly sustainable supply chain of prefabricated construction, based on recycling as much as possi­ble from deconstructed prefab build­ ings, in a single system only possible through total monopolistic synergy.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 25


PEEP SHOW

Pure Form Shaping Inspiration

Shaping Inspiration is a book created specifically for Fair Enough. Based on extensive research into Russian avant-garde, modern, and post-modern architecture, it presents an inventory of some of the most inventive and inspirational forms ever devised. Drawing from a wide range of designers, including Konstantin Melnikov, Leonid Pavlov, and Alexander Skokan, Shaping Inspiration provides an overview of formalistic experimentation from the 1920s, ‘60s, and ‘90s, in the hope that it may inspire a new generation of architects, in Russia

26 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT SHAPING INSPIRATION AT BOOTH B1

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PEEP SHOW

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VISIT THE RUSSIAN COUNCIL FOR RETROACTIVE VISIT THE DEVELOPMENT EXIBITOR AT ATBOOTH BOOTHD-4 B3

Develop by reviving The Russian Council for Retroactive Development

The Russian Council for Retroactive Development is a hypothetical international cultural organiza­ tion dedicated to a purposeful revival of lost archi­ tectural and town planning values as a means of redressing the urban traumas of modernization. The Council’s booth presents three examples of demolished landmarks that were recently rebuilt in Moscow and proposes possible sites for retroactive development in Paris, Berlin, and New York.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 29


PEEP SHOW

Palace of Pioneers, Moscow. Picture by Daniil Nagavitsin, aged 13

Palace of Pioneers, Chelyabinsk. Picture by Masha Filipova, aged 11

Obraztsov Puppet Theatre, Moscow. Picture by Alevtina Mironova, aged 7 30 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014

Palace of Pioneers, Chelyabinsk. Picture by Alevtina Mironova, aged 7


VISIT YOUNG PIONEER PALACE ATELIER AT BOOTH A4

Architecture of Enlightenment Young Pioneer Palace Atelier

Theatre Globus, Novosibirsk. Picture by Danila Nogovitsyn, aged 13

Young Pioneers Palace Atelier is a design studio specializing in the architecture and programming of socialist youth cen­ ters. YPPA’s slogan is “enlightenment, not entertainment”: it offers Soviet modern architecture as an alternative to the entertainment and consumption-driven youth culture em­ bodied by Disney palaces. Its booth includes a book of draw­ ings of YPPA projects, created by contemporary children.

Theatre Globus, Novosibirsk. Picture by Sasha Gorelova, aged 8

Theatre for Young Spectators, St. Petersburg. Picture by Dunya Buykovskaya, aged 11 June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 31


PEEP SHOW

Motivation in Motion Moscow Metro Worldwide

Metro Moscow Worldwide is an interdisciplin颅 ary studio that designs underground stations and artworks. Based on the socialist artistry of the Moscow metro system, MMW offers cities around the world decorative solutions to stim颅 ulate civic pride. The MMW booth presents a set of new works inspired by the stained glass portraits of Novoslobodskaya metro station. Like the Moscow originals, the images attempt to express a societal ideal, providing an image both beautiful and inspiring, specific to its city.

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VISIT MOSCOW METRO WORLDWIDE AT BOOTH C2

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Elevator Pitch

The essence of an architectural idea

Ark-Stroy

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VISIT ARK-STROY AT BOOTH B5

The House at Tulskaya (Moscow, 2014)

Within a context of ever increasing environmental, social, and technological threats, an extra strength housing scheme designed for the USSR’s Ministry of Atomic Energy and Industry could offer added protection and existential peace of mind.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 35


ELEVATOR PITCH

The need

The solution

Millions of people believe that we are liv­ ing in the end times. Many are looking for a viable solution to survive forthcoming catastro­phes. Disasters are rare and un­predictable, but once we extend our event hori­zon beyond a few years in the future, they appear inevitable. The standard solution to most threat scenarios is to find underground shelter. This strategy is outdated and hugely expensive. The public shelters of the twentieth century tend to be inadequately stocked, poorly maintained, and insufficient to accommodate the needs of our expand­ing cities. The cost of building a person­alized bunker is prohibitively high for the vast majority of people. Without deliber­ate action, the future will become what the present increasingly is — an environ­ment of precarity, in which only the richest people have security, while the rest of us are left to struggle.

Ark-Stroy is a prototype for a global net­ work of affordable above-ground shel­ ters, designed to combine disaster sur­ vival with social housing. Created during the cold war for the USSR’s Min­istry of Atomic Energy and Industry, the ArkStroy approach offers added protection and existential peace of mind.

36 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


Who we are

What we offer

Ark-Stroy is a fantasy based on the House at Tulskaya, a high safety hous­ing complex built for employees of the Ministry of Atomic Energy and Indus­try of the USSR. Designed at the height of the Cold War, the building was distin­guished by its strength and size. It was built of extra reinforced concrete, and was 400 meters in length and over 50 meters in height, ca­pable of housing 1000 families. Deter­mined to design the ultimate impervious residence, the original ArkStroy engi­neers introduced a number of innova­tions to protect residents, including air filtering windows. They also applied novel methods to improve the integrity of the structure, including ele­ vating the building from street level with a combination of straight and trapezi­ form legs. Between these legs, they in­ serted services — a post office, bank, laundry, cafe, and exhibition hall — that provided for the residents while con­ necting their monolithic building to the city. The combination of innova­tive engineering, safety focus, and com­munity engagement that defined the House at Tulskaya is the essence of Ark-Stroy.

Ark-Stroy embraces its socialist inher­ itance by arguing that wealth shouldn’t be the ultimate arbiter of safety. Our above-ground communal safety com­ pounds apply the best science and engineering to provide housing that can withstand any threat scenario, includ­ ing a pole shift, super volcano eruptions, solar flares, earthquakes, asteroids, tsu­ namis, nuclear attacks, bio-terrorism, chemical warfare, and even widespread social anarchy, in the form of modern­ istic communal housing that is pleasant and affordable. If you’d like to know more, come see us at booth B5.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 37


ELEVATOR PITCH

Dacha Co-op

XS

The need

The solution

Self-storage is useful but painful. The practice began in America, where one family in ten uses one of the country’s 50,000 facilities. In recent years the selfstorage sector has been booming, with an increasing amount of space offered across Europe and East Asia. In Australia, there is already 1.1 square foot of storage space for every person, and the number is growing. But the typical storage facility tends to be a cold, industrial space. Most prohibit customers from residing in their unit, regardless of size or price.

In 2014, we started Dacha Co-op with the belief that all people deserve storage space that they can live in, that’s customizable to their own tastes and located in a relaxing atmosphere outside of the city. We established a system of settlements across Russia and dedicated ourselves to providing a new way for our friends and neighbors to store the belongings that have shaped their lives — furniture, clothes, old electronics, fine art, etc. — in an environment that they design, curate, and holiday in.

Saray, Avtobusnik, Cisterna 5–15 m2

S Dom 25–50 m2

Sources: 2013 Self Storage Association Fact Sheet, The Australasian Storage Association

Who we are

What we offer

Dacha Co-Op is a business built around the dacha. Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes, usually located in the exurbs of cities. During Soviet times, dachas provided a unique opportunity for city dwellers to construct and decorate their own homes and to garden and even trade. In the post-Soviet era, dachas continue to play a crucial role, as a refuge, place of recreation, and repository for possessions from a previous time. As a repository for one’s possessions, the dacha is analogous to the industrial self-storage units that we rent in order to store our excess belongings. The crucial difference is that a dacha is also a residence, adaptable by the owners, allowing them to live and age with their possessions, rather than simply storing them in a high security industrial building. Dacha Co-op is a marriage of the increasingly popular international practice of self-storage with the distinctly Russian phenomenon of dacha living.

• A range of unit sizes from 5 m2 to 2,500  m2 • Short term and long term lease options • Convenience with settlements around every major Russian city and every climate • Access 7 days a week • Secure units with the option of neighbors who can monitor your unit when you’re away • Expert advice • Change your unit size or look at any time, no transfer cost • Extensive gardening options • An informal, village-like atmosphere unavailable in the city • Boxes, bubble wrap and sticky tape on site

Kottedzh 50–100 m2

L

Osobnyak 300–500 m2

XL

Pomestye 1000–2500 m2 38 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

M


VISIT DACHA CO-OP AT BOOTH A3

Dacha storage: friendly, personal, flexible

boiler 1980s

storm windows 2000s

chimney 1930s

awning 1990s

roof 1990s gutter 1990s

tent 2000s

original windows 1930s

babushka 1940s

faucet 1980s shovel 1970s

garden gnome 2000s

bucket 1980s

chandelier 1910s

water dispenser cat 2010s 1980s

photos rags 1960s-2000s 1970s

fence made of water pipes 1970s

curtain rod 1980s

Religious icons 1910s

metal shaped artwork 2010s

lamps 2000s

oil lamp 1920s

Chandelier 1910s

lamp 1980s

door 1980s

mirror 1990s

religious icons 1910s calendar 2000s

microwave food cover 2010s

TV set 2000s

toaster oven 2000s

chairs 1930s

microwave oven 1990s Chair 1930s

bag 1960s

food processor 2010s

tablecloth 1990s

crockpot 2010s

Bag 1960s

mandoline 2000s Linoleum flooring 1990s

newspapers 1950s

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 39


ELEVATOR PITCH

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VISIT VISITTHE NEW EXIBITOR BYT LABAT ATBOOTH BOOTHD-4 D7

The need

Who we are

What we offer

Governments and developers seek insights about housing, and increasingly rely on big data analytics to provide them. However, big data and standard market research tools can’t reveal residents’ true expectations and experiences.

New Byt Lab is an innovation and strategy consultancy. The anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists, and designers who make up NBL employ the methods of social science to study human behavior and provide hidden insights into how we use our homes. Our work stretches back the late 1950s, when the leaders of the Soviet Union started to apply the human sciences to assist architects in designing new forms of social housing. At the time, the country was undergoing an unprecedented campaign of housing construction, and the authorities wanted to explore how residential architecture could affect the mindset and behavior of its inhabitants. They commissioned the architect Nathan Osterman to develop a new kind of housing, based on principles of communal living but equipped with the amenities of modern life. His building, completed in 1969 and called the House for New Life (Dom Novogo Byta), was both a prototype for modern socialist housing and a laboratory for sociological investigation. Over twenty research institutes, studying all aspects of human life, from physiology to economics, collaborated on the House’s development. After completion, researchers spent two years examining how residents experienced the building. In the post-Soviet era, our practice has evolved from communist social engineering to applied business anthropology: New Byt Lab now combines methods from two domains — social scientific practices from ethnography and market analysis from traditional business practice — to offer unique insights into domestic life in any market, so that architects, planners, and developers can foresee what lies ahead and construct accordingly.

At the core of our approach is New Byt™ Analytics. This is the innovation that lets our clients confirm or deny insights generated through Big Data collection and drill down to the real motivations that prompt customer behavior. For architects, developers, and governments, New Byt Lab provides social science and design intelligence that enables innovative housing development strategies. Our Architecture platform helps designers develop rational approaches to innovation in dwelling design and to test new schemes through prototyping and phenomenological analysis. Our Development platform offers the means to qualitatively assess architecture — already built or only proposed — by making sense of the complex, subtle, often unconscious ways in which customers interact with their surroundings. Our Government platform helps housing authorities maximize their investments by providing key decision makers with the empirical evidence and expert analysis needed to choose the right strategy for the future.

The solution The human sciences — anthropology, sociology, political science, and philosophy — can. New Byt Lab’s multidisciplinary professionals apply a human sciences-based approach to illuminate the domestic experience. The resulting insights can transform architectural design, real estate development, organizational culture, and even family life.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 41


Testimonial

Op-eds from our exhibitors

The Art of Real Life by Shchusev Architects

Narkomzem Building (Moscow, 1928) 42 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014


VISIT SHCHUSEV ARCHITECTS AT BOOTH C1

The Shchusev Method At Shchusev Architects, we endeavour to con­ tinue the work of our founder, the great Rus­ sian architect and patriot Alexey Shchusev. In his writings, lectures, and design work, Alexey always stressed that architecture should respond to the needs and desires of everyday life. This obligation, he argued, is a defining feature of the discipline, one that distinguishes the architect from his peers in other creative fields. Writing in 1923 for the Moscow Architectural Society’s monthly magazine Arkhitektura, Shchusev explained that “alongside all the other branches of the arts, architecture reflects the life that sur­ rounds it; however, the role of the architect is somewhat more complex than that of oth­ er artists. Forced to take his creative motive from without, in an externally defined task, the architect must inescapably reflect in his art all the sum of phenomena characteristic of a given historical moment.” During Shchusev’s time, the siren song of the new was felt especially strongly by Rus­ sian architects seeking to lead, or at least keep up with, their revolutionary, rapidly modernizing society. Shchusev shared their desire to innovate, but, unlike many of his peers, he believed that the best new ideas spring not from wild speculation, but from a deep understanding of the past. This em­ brace of heritage define his work, and shaped his approach to office culture. In a 1933 arti­ cle for the journal Stroitelstvo Moskvy, Shchu­ sev describes the work process that he devel­ oped and that we continue to use to this day: Each commission is to receive preliminary discussion involving all members of the studio and, in dependence on that location or street in which the object is to be erected, the situation and architectural approach taken to remodeling the street, square or entire urban complex should be worked out in advance. The studio shall solve its tasks according to the principles of contemporary architecture, armed with all the knowledge and theoretical achievements of the architecture of past ages. The creation of new forms from ancient ideals is possible only through a combina­ tion of historical knowledge and technical competence. Without the latter, architec­ ture can easily drift off into abstraction and

"Architecture is not a pretty picture," Shchusev once wrote, "It is a combination in outline and form of all the prerequisites of a building’s program, dictated by the economist, technician and sanitary officer."

Above: Opera and Ballet Theatre (Tashkent, 1933)

Below: Marfo-Mariinsky Convent (Moscow, 1908) June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 43


TESTIMONIAL

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Lenin’s Mausoleum (Moscow, 1929)

Today, our practice is global and covers almost any conceivable project. Still, Alex­ ey Shchusev’s principles guide our work, setting a standard of artistic imagination, professional competence, and social en­ gagement that allows us to expand and ex­ plore without ever losing our way. During moments of confusion or conflict, we turn to these principles — known in the office as The Shchusev Method  — for refocus­ ing perspective and deepening pride. They provide professional guidance and cre­ ative inspiration. They remind us that we are not simply an office — we are the ful­ fillment of a personal philosophy. We are Shchusev Architects.

All images courtesy of the Archive of A.M. Shchusev

lose its essential connection to real life. In laying out his “Principles of architectural construction,” Shchusev emphasized this point: “The tasks of forecasting for archi­ tectural work consist not of beautiful quo­ tations, analogies, prophecies, or abstract definitions,” he wrote, “but involve a grasp of the essentials of the works themselves in the sense of their form and construction.” A Shchusev Architect, in other words, must be fluent in the language of modern build­ ing. “He must know the organizational bases of construction, study building mate­ rials, their production and working, and he must understand the tasks of painters and sculptors, from the plastic arts that are so closely related to architecture.” Our found­ er’s passion for intimate interdisciplinarity continues to define our firm — and today it extends far beyond the “the plastic arts”. “Architecture is not a pretty picture,” Shchusev once wrote, “It is a combina­ tion in outline and form of all the pre­ requisites of a building’s program, dictat­ ed by the economist, technician and sani­ tary officer.” A truly skilled architect must be able to balance these interests, to com­ municate effectively with every stakehold­ er, and to produce work that satisfies the client while achieving the architect’s artis­ tic ambitions.More than anything, though, Alexey Shchusev taught us that these should not be the architect’s ultimate con­ cerns. The smoothness of its interdisciplin­ ary collaborations, or the satisfaction of its patron, the originality of its concept, and strength of its aesthetics do not ultimately determine the success of an architectural project. The people do. Shchusev saw ar­ chitecture as a public service, and encour­ aged all those who worked for him to get to know this public personally. “The Rus­ sian architect must love his own native ar­ chitecture,” he once wrote, “and just as […] Tchaikovsky produced Russian works based upon a knowledge of folk music, so must the architect be aware of the nature of the country in which he builds, and the life of the people with whom he is dealing. The Russian architect must lead from the front, without isolating himself away in the circles of narrow  interests.”


Lenin’s Mausoleum (Moscow, 1929)

Komsomolskaya Metro Station (Moscow, 1952)

Shchusev was an enormously flexible designer who managed to create masterpieces over decades, regardless of the prevailing political order or aesthetic. Memorial Church on Kulikovo Battlefield (Tula region, 1904)

Narkomzem (Koopinsoyuz) Building, People’s Commisariat for Land (Moscow, 1928)

House on the Rostovskaya Embankment (Moscow, 1935) June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 45


TESTIMONIAL

Enlightenment, Not Entertainment by Young Pioneer Palace Atelier

How to use architecture to instill values? How to design a building that embodies a desired future and provides the means to bring it about? A building at once open to and separate from the wider world; a building where teamwork, pride, and social consciousness are embedded in the architecture. A building with walls that teach…

Moscow State Palace of Child and Youth Creativity. Moscow, 1990.

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(Photo: Vladimir Vyatkin, RIA Novosti

At the Young Pioneer Palace Atelier, we be­lieve that children require their own spe­cial space, separated from, but embed­ ded in, the adult world. Our mission is to define and program these spaces, to generate environments that devel­op children’s initiative, self-reliance, and community commitment.


VISIT THE EXIBITOR AT BOOTH A4

Our Past: The Young Pioneer Organization YPPA takes its inspiration from the traditions of the Young Pioneers. For 70 years, the Young Pioneer Or­ ganization of the Soviet Union was the world’s pre­ eminent socialist youth group. In structure, the Young Pioneers were similar to their capitalist counterparts, the Scouts. But in perspective and approach, they were as different as the US and the USSR. The Young Pi­oneers were a socialist organization, charged with bringing up future citizens, fit in mind and body; nur­ turing their all-round talents; and developing their political consciousness, patriotism and team spirit. The Young Pioneer Palace Atelier works to extend this legacy into a new age. Our Present: The Young Pioneer Palace Like the camps, our Young Pioneer Palaces, Theatres, and Camp complexes combine protection with expo­ sure; freedom of discovery with discipline and ritual; and promotion of self-reliance with the tight bonding of a collective. These dichotomies are central to the design and programming of every one of our projects. Promoting self-realization while developing collective spirit Palaces occupy a special role in children’s culture: they are the enchanted space of fairy tales, where mi­ raculous transformations take place, and nothing is quite as it seems. In contemporary capitalist society, palaces are most often associated with Disney and its entertainment, as well as consumption-driven ap­ proach to youth culture. In this world, children are pacified with entertainment and amusement rather than activated by enlightenment and challenged by it. At YPPA, we design to instill a different set of val­ ues. Ours is an architecture that seeks to challenge the status quo by inspiring children to invent and in­ habit a new, more equal world. Emphasizing aesthetic and scientific education, play and fantasy Our work is based on Modern principles: we be­ lieve that a rational, harmoniously designed physical envi­ronment, close to nature, can help shape young people and, ultimately, our future society. Our proj­ ects reflect this: more than just a build­ing, the Young Pioneer Palace is an entire environ­ment — a ‘Pio­ neer Republic’ — designed to ease the socialization of children and facilitate their aesthetic and scientif­ ic education, play and fantasy. Although they possess monumental qualities, each YPPA project is, above all, about flexibility: our buildings aspire to freedom,

truth to function, transparency, and the dy­namic use of space. They are experienced in move­ment — as much through art, music, and other aes­thetic cues as through actual, physical barriers and openings. Irradiating the adult world around it Great monumental art and architecture creates a “force field” around it. Like children playing amidst the frescos in Campanella’s City of the Sun, anyone lo­ cated within this force field comes under the influence of a piece of monumental architecture. In addition to our Palaces’ internal function of educating young pio­ neers and bonding them into a community, they also exert outward-reaching, inspirational influence. We call this the “Pioneer Effect”. An enclave of the future, the Palace’s good exam­ ple irradiates the adult society that surrounds it. From there, we work to catalyze the transition to­ ward a less consumer-based society. “Pioneer Ac­ tion Zones” are developed around schools and clubs, where the Pioneer Effect is exerted directly, through environmental and social work, and indi­rectly, through shining example.

More than just a building, the Young Pioneer Palace is an entire environment — a ‘Pioneer Republic’ — designed to facilitate aesthetic and scientific education, play and fantasy.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 47


TESTIMONIAL

Pioneer Palaces: open architecture, inside and out A Young Pioneer Palace is designed to be open, inside and out. A combination of great expanses of glass and facades decorated with mosaics, sculptures, and oth­ er forms of monumental art communicates to the area around it and welcomes Young Pioneers. Once inside, a Pioneer enters a highly adaptable microenvironment scaled to child size. Educational spaces, gardens, the­ atres, workshops, and play areas accommodate an educational program designed to cultivate a child’s interest in labor and creativity. For large scale perfor­ mances, interior spaces are designed to join together through the removal of partitions. Moscow State Pal­ ace of Child and Youth Creativity is our most celebrat­ ed example.

Pioneer Theatres: serious architecture for magic and emotion Pioneer Theatres create an active engagement with the performing arts. Our buildings populate their sur­ roundings with sculptures and monumental artworks. The interior is equipped with rooms for speeches and conversations prior to the show, providing children with an intimate, emotional connection to the perfor­ mance and performers. Although designed for chil­ dren, the architecture of our Pioneer Theatres is not childish; we insist on using modern building materi­ als that create an atmosphere of refinement and re­ spect. At the same time, we include in every theatre a collection of “magic spaces” — such as balconies or aviaries — to stimulate wonder. Our Natalia Sats Mu­ sical Theatre in Moscow is exemplary.

The design of every Pioneer Palace, Camp, and Theatre is inspired by a passionate belief that a rational architecture, close to nature, can stimulate a better, socialist society of the future.

Moscow State Palace of Child and Youth Creativity (Moscow, 1959-1962) Considered one of the most important experiments in Soviet modernism. Currently offers over 1200 groups and classes for children up to age 18.

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Pioneer Camps: An architecture of health and education, at one with its environment Our Pioneer Camp complexes are designed to encour­ age physical development and teamwork by maximiz­ ing the climatic possibilities of the surrounding land­ scape and providing specialized outdoor zones for public meetings and performances. Our buildings have large, full opening windows that eliminate the border between inside and outside and provide natural venti­ lation. Their light and functional design defers to the environment, while their prefabricated materials al­ low for fast construction, specially tailored to the site. The Artek camp complex in Crimea is one of our best known examples.

Photos courtesy of Institute of Modernism, Moscow; National Archive of the Amur Region

V. V. Beloglazov instructs a young dancer

Natalia Sats Musical Theatre (Moscow, 1975-1979) The world’s first professional theatre for children, the birthplace of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

Artek Camp Complex (Crimea, Gurzuf, 1959-1964) A world camp complex, consisting of ten camps accommodating over 30,000 children per year. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 49


Exhibitor In Depth

An intimate look at our lesser-known exhibitors

Personal Hygiene is a Public Affair Russia’s post-revolutionary bath boom

According to the United Nations, 7 of the 10 fastest growing cities lack adequate water and sanitation. The challenge for planners the world over is how to provide a basic standard of hygiene for large, newly urbanized populations when the water supply is insufficient. Faced with a similar conflux of enormous need and limited resources, Soviet architects developed mega-scale energy and water-efficient public bath facilities that remain relevant today.

50 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT CIRCULARITY AT BOOTH D2

I

mproving hygiene was one of the central pri­ orities of the early Soviet Union. After the revolution, large scale public bathing facil­ ities were constructed throughout the country. The effort was overseen by the People’s Com­ missariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), the gov­ ernment unit also responsible for water supply, sewerage, construction of slaughterhouses, cre­ matoria, incinerators, laundry, as well as urban planning and cartography. These Soviet baths were designed primarily at Kommunstroy, a division of the NKVD, creat­ ed in 1928 on the basis of a pre-existing design and consultancy bureau. Designing buildings for providing better hygiene was considered im­ portant to the larger effort of modernizing the Soviet population. The architects of Kommun­ stroy, including N.I. Gundorov, S.V. Panin, and others, developed radically new technologi­ cal schemes for these facilities. They were pro­ ductive: according to contemporary accounts, in 1931 Kommunstroy constructed 44 public bath­ houses with a total capacity of nearly three mil­ lion people. But even this was inadequate for the society’s needs. Mass production meets personal hygiene The construction of Soviet baths initially re­ flected regulations adopted by pre-revolutionary organizations, such as a sanitary-technical con­ sultation on urban improvement established at the All-Russian Union of cities, which was still in effect when the Bolsheviks came to power. In 1920, the new government established Sanstroy, the Committee on Sanitary Construction. Its staff built so-called sanitary inspection rooms, temporary structures for a quick wash used by military and civilians, and for the treatment of clothing lice infestations. In the years that followed, the architecture of public baths came to reflect the “strategic” im­ portance of hygiene in the still impoverished country. Architects designed opulent, experi­ mental structures designed to turn hygiene into the highest virtue and bathing into a pleasure. Their buildings were scaled to the scope of need: many where huge, comparable in size and aes­ thetic to opera houses. In the context of material scarcity that defined the 1920s, however, few of these designs could be realized, with the import­ ant exception of the experimental round baths of Leningrad architect Alexander Nikol’sky.

A poster from an early Soviet sanitation campaign urges readers to “Have a wash after work.”

A line outside of a Soviet banya, 1920

Project for a Bathhouse, by Aleksandr Nikolsky, 1927; original drawing.

Circularity is a hypothetical designer of large scale public bath facilities. The company works to address two of the most pressing problems of the 21st century — water scarcity and rapidly urbanizing populations — by providing water and energy efficient facilities for the expansion of hygiene on a mass scale. Circularity’s signature round bathhouses are modernist machines for providing hygiene for huge numbers within an environment that remains aesthetically original and socially pleasant. Here’s how it works: Instructive Architecture The Circularity experience consists of 5 steps that each visitor must follow: 1. Undressing 2. Rinsing 3. Steaming 4. Washing 5. Dressing Saint-Petersburg

1st fl.

2nd fl.

Tyumen

1st fl.

2nd fl.

Two circularity models, based on existing buildings in St. Petersburg and Tyumen

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 51


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

The term public bath is somewhat mislead­ ing. The facilities constructed in Russia from 1920s-30s provided not only changing rooms, bathing and shower rooms, but also a swimming pool and spaces for physical education. Indus­ trial workers and residents of apartment hous­ es and barracks without showers flocked to pub­ lic baths — for hygiene, exercise, and communi­ ty. A 1929 article explained the added values of the Soviet bathhouse: “The construction of pub­ lic bathing places of a new type is part of a com­ munal works program. The new type of bathing establishments differs from previous ones main­ ly in the fact that, along with sanitary purposes, it aims at the development of a physical culture. Thus, the possibility of bathing in more sophis­ ticated and convenient ways provides the pub­ lic with the opportunity to use public baths year round.”1 The architecture of these public baths sug­ gests that developing collective processes for im­ proving hygiene was as important to the gov­ ernment’s agenda as were encouraging collec­ tive accommodation and teamwork. As a result, the baths became sites for some of the new soci­ ety’s most radical architectural and social exper­ iments. Many initially had no clear division be­ tween male and female branches, for example. These experimental “family baths” proved high­ ly controversial: a commentator for the newspa­ per Working Moscow complained in 1926 that “baths, these powerful bodies of sanitation, con­ vert into disgusting brothels, from which venere­ al disease pours in a dirty stream.” The approach proved too radical for even a revolutionary soci­ ety. In 1926 the Moscow City Council eliminat­ ed such family baths, retaining only those with male and female divisions. Almost a century later, a company inspired by the experimental architects of the early Soviet Union could reintroduce a forgotten scheme for providing hygiene for huge numbers in an envi­ ronment that is efficient, educational, and archi­ tecturally original.

1 B. Victorov. “Concerning the design of bathrooms, showers and swimming pools,” Kommunalnoe khozyaystvo (Municipal Economy), 1929. No7-8. 52 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

Public Bath, St. Petersburg, by Aleksandr Nikol’sky

Public Bath, Tyumen, by Anatoly Ladinsky


Its facilities are designed to ensure that visitors follow these steps in the correct sequence. Bathers enter and become part of a ‘bathing loop’ that begins with removing soiled clothes and takes them through a multi-step cleaning process that concludes when their clothes are returned to them, freshly sanitized. This hygiene loop is designed into the very architecture of the buildings. All Circularity public bath facilities are round. Although it gives its buildings a unique and visually appealing quality, their roundness is not an aesthetic choice. It is simply the most efficient solution for providing the most with the least. The Circularity approach applies socialist thinking to provide an integrated solution to our current urban and ecological crises. Water savings On average, bathing a person requires 1/3 the amount of water that showering does. Material savings The round building typology is far more efficient than a right-angled one: the wall area of Circularity’s round baths is 24.7% less than their orthogonal equivalent. Energy savings A round building for mass bathing saves energy. Heat loss from Circularity’s round bath buildings is 27% less than traditional facilities of similar size.

Men in the swimming pool of the Trust for Baths and Laundries, 1931

Urban scale The scale of Circularity’s facilities creates an urban density that not only serves the largest numbers, but introduces newly arrived city dwellers to the ways of urban life. Life in a city offers new opportunities and requires new habits: consistent hygiene, assiduous rule following, and fellowship with strangers being three of the most important. Sources: BBC, Construction Industry №8 (1925), Alexander Nikol’sky

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 53


Details of the design of a wooden country house, 1870s.

54 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014

Image courtesy of TotalArch

EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH


VISIT ESTETIKA LTD AT BOOTH A1

Eternal Russian A quest to find our own modernity

Estetika Ltd is a leading supplier of Russian and neo-Russian-style architectural elements. Our products are based on traditional design motifs found in dwellings throughout the Russian countryside. Estetika Ltd ornaments are crafted from modern materials that fit any structure at any scale, transforming everything from an unfinished apartment to a glass-clad skyscraper into an expression of proud, modern, quintessentially Russian architecture. Our work is part of a centuries-long effort by Russian designers to define a modern style that is recognizably our own. Today, against the backdrop of generic, globalized architecture, when one city’s CBD can’t be distinguished from another, this effort is more important than ever. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 55


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

T

he “Russian style” stretches back to time im­ memorial, but it emerged as a coherent cre­ ative movement only with the emancipation of Russia’s serfs in 1861. The granting of citizenship to millions of peasants triggered an explosion in folkthemed literature and art, particularly among the painters of the Itinerant movement. Architects re­ sponded through the establishment of a “Russian style.” “The old gentry style of the country manor house with columns and porticos, borrowed from the West, is now a thing of the past,” explained the wife of art­ ist Vasily Polenov. “They no longer seek models for their constructions among the estate buildings of the aristocracy, but take them now from the peasants’ village.” An aesthetic infused with sacred symbolism For “Russian style” architects, the izba or tradition­ al Russian log cabin became a source of inspiration, with prototypes for ornamentation taken from the em­ broidered towels of the peasantry, adjusted and then implemented through the craft of woodcarving. In ancient times, this beauty had a sacred function, a tal­ ismanic quality, protecting the house from the forces of evil. Late nineteenth century architects applied it as decoration. They wove the ornamental motifs of the log cabin into the fabric of major public buildings,

such as the Historical Museum and Upper Trading Rows(the GUM department store) on Red Square, thus turning them into national symbols. Melding ancient with modern Opinion was not united about what best symbolized “Russian style,” however. Critics accused the most elaborate buildings of evoking paternalism and took the rich beauty of elaborately turned balusters, bulg­ ing columns and suspended drop ornaments as mere decoration. “Patriotism in art is a good thing. I have no further word to say on the matter,” wrote the young Anton Chekhov, “except one of scorn: snap off the cockerels, and it’s no longer Russian style.” Artists seeking a genuine, organic Russianness found inspiration in the Russian north – there beyond the reach of the Tatar Yoke and serfdom, where schis­ matics had fled, and where the traditions of deepest antiquity were preserved untouched. The artist Vik­ tor Vasnetsov built a modest little church in Abramt­ sevo in 1883, on the model of Novgorod’s Church of the Savior at Nereditsa. It differed from its “Rus­ sian style” contemporaries sharply: instead of a pro­ fusion of detail, Vasnetsov created an architecture of simplicity, compactness, and picturesque asymmetry. It announced the establishment of the “neo-Russian style” – a national-romantic version of Art Nouveau.

Left: Alexander Pomerantsev and Vladimir Shukhov’s Upper Trading Rows (now GUM department store) Opposite page, top: Postcard of Pochozerskiy churchyard (pogost) by Ivan Bilibin, 1904 Opposite page, below: Fedor Shekhtel’s Russian pavilion at Glasgow International Exhibition

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Today, against the backdrop of globalization, recognizable national architectures are ever harder to find. The Russian and neo-Russian styles are more important than ever.

Conveying artisanal quality Once established, neo-Russian style became a pow­ erful tool for communicating a modern Russian aes­ thetic capable of distinguishing itself among the ar­ chitectures of the world. At World Fairs in Paris and Glasgow, the neo-Russian style represented the coun­ try and offered a persuasive defense of traditional craftsmanship in a context of giddy industrialization. “The best native Vladimir carpenters adopted the tech­ niques of purely northern architecture,” an observer of the Russian contribution to the Glasgow Internation­ al Exhibition noted, “joining timbers by cutting them ‘into a paw,’ ‘into a darkness,’ or ‘into a corner’ [the En­ glish dovetail, half-blind dovetail and half lap joints, respectively], and all the main parts of the buildings were constructed virtually without nails.” The cult of the artisan also remained a defining feature of the Russian style throughout the 20th cen­ tury, opposing the industrial and conventional styles, and being regularly brought to life in such master­ pieces of naive architecture as the blacksmith Kirill­ ov’s house in Kunara.

Eternally Russian In the early 20th century, the Russian and neo-Russian styles began to merge and dissolve in the building of dachas, a return of sorts to their origins in the private and unofficial zones of the country house. The Sovi­ et state ignored this theme, save when riding the wave of post-war patriotism, which saw the building of Mos­ cow’s “seven sister” skyscrapers, whose tiered silhou­ ettes evoke Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Today, against the backdrop of globalization, recognizable national architectures are ever harder to find. As Russia continues to define itself as a culture simultaneously modern and traditional, the Russian and neo-Russian styles are more important than ever. They provide a rich catalog of motifs drawn from the recesses of the Russian architectural imagination. Over time, they have established themselves as the most organic expression of our aesthetics: strong, beautiful, eternally Russian.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 57


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Celebrating 60 years of modern housing


VISIT THE EXIBITOR AT BOOTH D-4

Prefab Corp is a sustainable building company. We deliver products and services that support governments and residential developers all around the world. We are focused on empowering developers—large and small—to provide modern housing for people of all incomes, while maximizing their return on investment and conserving more of our world’s resources. We do this by providing a fully integrated system of services essential to the planning, creation and care of prefabricated housing assets—from finance and development, through design and project management to construction, marketing, maintenance, deconstruction and upcycling—either alone or by integrating local supply chains. We strive to advance residential development throughout the world by offering a fully integrated service set that includes manufacturing and construction, support services and real estate investments. Our seven businesses draw on 60 years of experience to deliver improved quality, safety and technical expertise to our clients, principally in the Russian Federation, with an extensive portfolio of projects Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America.

2014 is a special year for us. It marks the 60th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s historic demand for extensive prefabricated housing construction throughout the Soviet Union. His speech, delivered at the National Conference of Builders in December 1954, triggered a revolution in the industrialization of residential building in Russia. In the decade that followed, almost one hundred million people—nearly half of the population of the country— were provided new homes.1 In 1960 alone, 52,000,000 square meters of housing were built— twice what had been built in the first ten years of Soviet rule taken together.2 The manufacturing, transportation, construction, and publicity companies that eventually merged to form Prefab Corp have their origins in this period. We owe our existence to Nikita Khrushchev’s visionary leadership and so, on the occasion of its 60th anniversary, we present his historic speech. 1 N. Petrushkina, Sovetskaia Rossia (3 June 1961): 1; translated in Current Digest of the Soviet Press, 13, 23(1961): 32. 2 Zhukov, “Tekhnicheskaia estetika,” 1-2. Gregory D. Andrusz, Housing and Urban Development in the USSR (London: Macmillan, 1984), 178, table 7.5.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 59


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Excerpts from a speech by Nikita Khrushchev at the National Conference of Builders, Architects, Workers in the Construction Materials and Manufacture of Construction and Roads Machinery Industries, and Employees of Design and Research and Development Organizations, 7 December 1954

ON THE EXTENSIVE INTRODUCTION OF INDUSTRIAL METHODS, IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND REDUCING THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION Nikita Khrushchev, 1954 Comrades! It is a long time since we last had a National Conference of Builders and there is now great need for such a conference. It is my opinion that the present meeting will be to the great good not just of construction, but of all our work both in industry and in other sectors of our national economy. [...] Urgent issues concerning the industrialization of construction [...] At the present time conditions exist for the extensive industrialization of construction. What are these conditions? First and foremost, we now have a large pool of qualified workers and specialists. Our building organizations and construction-material-manufacturing industry employ many thousands of fine craftsmen and innovators in production. We have factories capable of supplying our builders with modern equipment that makes work easier and improves productivity. We have expanding manufacturing facilities that allow us to supply the construction industry with prefabricated reinforced-concrete structures, parts, and construction materials. [...] Extensive expansion of manufacture of prefabricated reinforced-concrete structures and parts will give enormous economic benefits. Our builders know that until recently there was debate over which of two paths we should take in construction – use of prefabricated structures or monolithic concrete. We shall not name names or reproach those workers who tried to direct our construction industry towards use of monolithic concrete. I believe these comrades now realize themselves that the position they adopted was wrong. Now, though, it’s clear to everyone, it seems, that we must proceed along the more progressive path – the path of using prefabricated reinforced-concrete structures and parts. (Applause.) What are the consequences of using monolithic concrete in construction? Increased dirt on building sites. The use of moulds of all kinds and shapes. Unnecessary expenditure of iron. Wastage of cement. Losses of inert materials and concrete. And what are the effects of using prefabricated parts? Use of pre-fabricated reinforced concrete will allow us to manu-

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facture parts as is done in the plant-construction industry – will make it possible to switch to factory construction methods. (Applause.) [...] Wall panels and ceiling/floor sections must be decorated on the factory floor. These products must arrive at the building site already finished, completely ready for installation. Otherwise, what advantage do we get in using prefabrication if we manufacture a part at the factory, install it on the 8th floor, and then start thinking how to go about cleaning or reworking its surface? Concrete structures must be light, with no superfluous weight. [...] Brick, the main building material, has always been, and continues to be, used in cases where construction is mainly carried out by hand. In such cases great importance attaches to the weight of the material used in the walls, the weight of the brick. In our age – given the availability of concrete, electric motors, cranes, and other mechanisms – we have no excuse for continuing to employ the old methods of working. Everyone knows how much time and labour is need to make brick. Clay has to be dug out of quarries, worked by clay-pounder to produce raw brick. Then this material is dried, loaded into a kiln, baked, and the finished bricks are transferred to the warehouse, transported to the building site, raised onto scaffolding, and laid on the wall. And all this has to be done many times over with each brick being manipulated like the pieces of a mosaic. Instead of brick, wouldn’t it be better to make concrete wall sections of a size that will be convenient for the lifting mechanisms at our disposal – i.e. weighing two, three, five tons? The advantages of using sections are high levels of productivity and high output. It’s no accident that many other countries make extensive use of concrete, not brick, in construction. [...] There can be no serious thought of industrializing construction if we are going to continue to increase the number of building organizations. Everyone surely realizes that it is not in the power of small – and, consequently, weak – building organizations to employ industrial methods of working. We must set about decisively strengthening our building organizations. Without this there can be no question of industrializing construction. Highly instructive in this respect is the reduction of numbers of building organizations in Moscow – where a single organization, Glavmosstroy has been set up on the basis of the 56 Mossoviet building trusts and various ministries and departments. When the establishment of Glavmosstroy was being

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discussed, there was much talk of Mossoviet not being able to handle such a large organization, and there were fears that sidelining the ministries would lead to disruption of the plan for construction of residential buildings. It might have been supposed that during the first year’s of Glavmosstroy’s existence there would be some organisational problems that might prevent fulfillment of the plan. However, all such fears proved groundless. [...] Our country is engaged in building industrial enterprises, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and other structures on a large scale. This construction program is of vital importance. We have an obligation to significantly speed up, improve the quality of, and reduce the cost of, construction. In order to do so, there is only one path – and that is the path of the most extensive industrialization of construction. Eliminating design flaws; improving how architects work [...] Given the scale on which we are building industrial enterprises, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and cultural and services facilities, any delay in design work is unacceptable. Our entire country is covered in building sites. Every year the Soviet state allocates many billion rubles to construction. Literally each one of us is interested in construction work proceeding smoothly. It is unacceptable that building work often drags on as a result of the slowness of our design organizations and that sometimes design of even simple buildings lasts two years or longer. The interests of industrialization of construction dictate the necessity of reorganizing how our design organizations work, of making production of standard designs and use of already existing standard designs the main element in their work. [...] Many employees of planning and design organizations underestimate the importance of standard design. Evidence of this is to be seen in the following facts. Of the 1,100 construction-design organizations in our country, only 152 are partly engaged in producing standard designs. From 1951 to 1953 a maximum of one per cent of resources allocated for design work was spent on production of standard designs. In 1953 only 12% of the total volume of industrial buildings erected were built using standard designs. And this year there has been only a slight improvement in the situation. [...] They [architects] are all agreed that use of standard designs will significantly simplify and improve the quality of construction, but in practice many architects, engineers, and

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Our country is engaged in building industrial enterprises, residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and other structures on a large scale. This construction program is of vital importance. We have an obligation to significantly speed up, improve the quality of, and reduce the cost of, construction. In order to do so, there is only one path — and that is the path of the most extensive industrialization of construction.


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– in industrial construction – technologists too aspire to create only their own one-off designs. Why does this happen? One of the reasons, evidently, is that there are flaws in the way we train our architects. Led on by the example of the great masters, many young architects hardly wait to cross the threshold of their architecture institutes or find their feet properly before wanting to design nothing but unique buildings and hurrying to erect a monument to themselves. If Pushkin created for himself a monument ‘not made by human hand,’ many architects feel they simply must create a ‘handmade’ monument to themselves in the form of a building constructed in accordance with a unique design. (Laughter, applause.) [...] Why are there 38 standard designs of schools in current use? Is this expedient? The reason for this is evidently that many workers approach their jobs in construction with no regard for cost-saving. We must select a small number of standard designs for residential buildings, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, children’s nurseries, shops, and other buildings and structures and conduct our mass building programs using only these designs over the course of, say, five years. At the end of which period we shall hold a discussion and, if no better designs turn up, continue in the same fashion for the next five years. What’s wrong in this approach, comrades? [...] I want to share with you my impressions and comments I have regarding how architects work. Above all, I want to address the President of the Academy of Architecture, comrade Mordvinov. Comrade Mordvinov, we have often met in Moscow on matters of work. I know you as a good organizer: you showed your skills in the high-speed conveyor-belt construction project during development of Bol’shaya Kaluzshkaya ulitsa. High-speed conveyor-belt construction was then being carried out for the first time and comrade Mordvinov was among those taking part. After the war, however, comrade Mordvinov underwent a change. He became a different man. As in the song from the opera ‘The King’s Bride’: ‘This isn’t the Grigory Gryaznov I used to know!’ (Laughter, applause.) A common feature of construction in this country is wastage of resources, and for this a large part of the blame rests with the many architects who use architectural superfluities to decorate buildings built to one-off designs. Such architects are a stumbling block in the way of industrializing construction. In order to build quickly and successfully, we must use standard designs in our building, but this is evidently not to the taste of certain architects. [...] If an architect wants to be in step with life, he must know

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If Pushkin created for himself a monument ‘not made by human hand,’ many architects feel they simply must create a ‘handmade’ monument to themselves in the form of a building constructed in accordance with a unique design.


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and be able to employ not only architectural forms, ornaments, and various decorative elements, but also new progressive materials, reinforced-concrete structures and parts, and, above all, must be an expert in cost-saving in construction. And this is what comrade Mordvinov and many of his colleagues have been criticized for at the conference – for forgetting about the main thing, i.e. the cost of a square metre of floor area, when designing a building and for, in their fascination with unnecessary embellishment of facades, allowing a great number of superfluities. The facades of residential buildings are sometimes hung with a multitude of all kinds of superfluous decoration that point to a lack of taste in the architects. Builders sometimes even have difficulty executing these decorations. In this matter much influence has been exercised by the construction of high-rise buildings. In designing such buildings, architects have mainly been interested in creating a silhouette and have failed to take thought of what the construction and exploitation of these buildings would cost. When a wall is given a complex contour simply for purposes of beautification, the consequence is unnecessary expenditure on the building’s use as a result of large heat losses. This is the reason why the annual excess expenditure on fuel for the building on Smolenskaya ploshchad’, for instance, is 250,000 rubles. This is for one building on its own. Let me give you some figures for the proportions of floor area in high-rise buildings. Total floor area: 100%. Building at Krasnye vorota: work rooms 28.1% subsidiary rooms 23.1% infrastructure and services 14.9% construction 33.9% Building on Smolenskaya ploshchad: work rooms 30% subsidiary rooms 24% infrastructure and services 11% construction 35% These figures clearly show how little space in high-rise buildings is occupied by primary functions and how much is given over to so-called ‘constructional structures’. By ‘constructional structures’ we mean walls and other structures. In high-rise buildings such space far exceeds the norm as a result of the emphasis put on giving buildings an impressive silhouette. This is space that can be looked at only; it’s not for living or working in. (Animated reaction, laughter, applause.) [...]

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When comrade Mordvinov was speaking, I asked him about the cost of the high-rise Hotel Ukraina, of which he was the architect. It should be said that comrade Mordvinov is no laggard, but is right in step with those who permit superfluity in the architectural decoration of buildings. The cost of one square meter of space occupied by primary functions in Hotel Ukraina is 175 percent of the cost of such space in Hotel Moskva. Can it really be permissible that in one and the same city – Moscow – the difference in cost of construction of residential buildings designed by different authors is 600-800 rubles for every square meter of living space. [...] Certain architects have a passion for adding spires to the tops of buildings, which gives this architecture an ecclesiastical appearance. Do you like the silhouette of churches? I don’t want to argue about tastes, but for residential buildings such an appearance is unnecessary. It’s wrong to use architectural decoration to turn a modern residential building into something resembling a church or museum. This produces no extra convenience for residents and merely makes exploitation of the building more expensive and puts up its cost. And yet there are architects who fail to take this into account. Architect Zakharov, for instance, submitted plans for developing Bol’shaya Tul’skaya ulitsa in Moscow with the construction of houses whose contours differ little from those of churches. Asked to explain his reasons for so doing, he replied: ‘Our designs fit in with the high-rise buildings; we have to show buildings’ silhouettes’. So this, it emerges, is what comrade Zakharov is most concerned about: he needs beautiful silhouettes, but what people need is apartments. They don’t have time to gaze admiringly at silhouettes; they need houses to live in! (Applause). In his designs for houses on Lyusinovskaya ulitsa, Zakharov decided to put sculptures at the corners of his buildings, from the 8th floor upwards. On the top floor he sliced off the corners, and in these slanting corners put windows, outside which, on the windowsills, sculptures were supposed to stand. A five-wall room with an angled window is inconvenient for living in, not to mention the fact that the residents of this room must spend their entire lives staring at the back of a sculpture. Of course, it’s not particularly pleasant to live in a room like this. It’s good, then, that these houses were never built and that comrade Zakharov was restrained from his art. And all this is called architectural and artistic decoration of buildings! No, comrades, this is architectural perversion that leads to the spoiling of materials and to unnecessary expenditure of resources. Moscow’s organizations have taken the

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right decision in dismissing comrade Zakharov from his post as head of an architectural studio. But for the good of all of us this should have been done much earlier. [...] The serious mistakes being made by design organizations and particular individual architects largely have their explanation in the incorrect guidance issuing from the Academy of Architecture and many leading architects. Consider the kind of guidance that has been given until recently: A.G. Mordvinov, President of the Academy of Architecture, in an article entitled ‘Artistic problems in Soviet architecture,’ published in Arkhitektura No.1 (1945), writes: ‘Architecture serves the purpose of satisfying the people’s aesthetic requirements … The creation of important works of architecture calls for constructional volumes not dictated by direct practical need (porticoes, monumental halls, towers) … I doubt whether there is a single city that, if it wants to be beautiful, can do without high-rise compositions.’ Professor A.V. Bunin in his article ‘On the use of the urban legacy in post-war restorational construction,’ likewise published in the above collection, asserts: ‘In order to embellish the city there is a need for entire buildings – including with domes and towers – that are not justified by any utilitarian function … The Soviet city is undergoing a crisis of vertical development … City centres with their public buildings, towers, and domed structures must be unique designs without any recourse to standardisation.’ I could give many more examples of such sayings. [...] Certain architects try to justify their incorrect principles and the superfluities in their designs by referring to the necessity of fighting Constructivism. But the fight against Constructivism is a flag that is waved to conceal wastage of state resources. What is Constructivism? This is how, for instance, the Large Soviet Encyclopedia defines this tendency: ‘Constructivism …. substitutes for artistic creation ‘the execution of constructions’ (hence the name ‘Constructivism’), i.e. naked technicalism. While calling publicly for functional, constructive ‘expediency’ and ‘rationality,’ the Constructivists in fact moved in the direction of aesthetic admiration of form divorced from content … A consequence of this was that anti-artistic, depressing ‘box style’ that is typical of modern bourgeois architecture … Examples of Constructivism have been subjected to harsh criticism in many instructions and resolutions issued by the Party … ‘ (Large Soviet Encyclopedia, 1953, vol.22, p.437) This definition of Constructivism is not, of course, exhaustive. But even this characterization of Constructivism shows the bankruptcy of some architects who, shielding themselves

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If an architect wants to be in step with life, he must know and be able to employ not only architectural forms, ornaments, and various decorative elements, but also new progressive materials, reinforced-concrete structures and parts, and, above all, must be an expert in costsaving in construction.


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with phrases about fighting Constructivism, in fact sacrifice to facades, i.e. to form, convenience of internal floor plan and building exploitation and thus show contempt for people’s essential needs. Certain architects who argue for the need to fight Constructivism are guilty of the opposite: they decorate the facades of buildings with superfluous and sometimes utterly unnecessary decorative elements that require expenditure of state resources. These architects call buildings that have no towers, built-on porticoes, or columns or whose facades are not decorated with bits of stage scenery ‘boxes’; and they accuse them of relapsing into Constructivism. Such architects could perhaps be called ‘inside-out Constructivists’ in as much as they themselves are on the slippery path to ‘aesthetic admiration of form divorced from content’. [...] The fight against Constructivism must be conducted using reasonable means. We must not get carried away with architectural decoration or aesthetic embellishment, nor should we crown our buildings with completely unjustified towers and sculptures. We are not against beauty, but we are against superfluity. The facades of buildings should be of beautiful and attractive appearance, and this should be achieved as a result of the entire edifice having good proportions, well-proportioned window and door apertures, well-positioned balconies, correct use of the texture and colour of facing materials, and a proper presentation of wall parts and structures in buildings made from large sections and panels. [...] In this connection I would like to tell you of the impressions we formed after our conference in the city of Sverdlovsk. Sverdlovsk is a large, fine city where the might of the Soviet Union is plain to see. It has important factories that produce fine machinery. But when it comes to urban construction and improvement, this major centre has some large failings. For example, during reconstruction of the building of the City Executive Committee the main facade was fitted with a tower and spire. Construction of the spire alone cost almost two million rubles and reconstruction of the whole building cost nine million. The larger part of this expenditure was probably due to work involved in readying the facade for the high-rise part of the building and in constructing the tower. Money spent on building the spire would on its own have sufficed to build two schools for 400 pupils each. On one of Sverdlovsk’s streets there is a large five-story building. - ‘This is a mill,’ comrade Kutyrev, Secretary of the Regional Committee, explained to us, and then added: ‘But we want to build a new mill and convert this building into a hotel.’

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- ‘Convert it – how?’ we asked him. - ‘Yes,’ said comrade Kutyrev. ‘Our plan is to convert it into a hotel.’ - ‘But why rebuild a mill as a hotel?’ we said to him. ‘Wouldn’t it be better to build a new hotel?’ Judge for yourselves. Can it really make sense to convert a building currently in use as a mill into a hotel and then build a completely new mill? (Laughter, applause.) This money could be used to build a good new hotel, which would be better and cheaper. Where’s the common sense, where’s the economic expediency? Then we continued on our way round Sverdlovsk. The Regional Committee Secretary said: ‘This roadway we’re also thinking of redoing.’ - ‘And what do you want to do with it?’ - ‘Tarmac it over.’ The roadway was made of granite cobblestones. It would outlive our grandsons, while tarmac wouldn’t last more than ten years. Why, we have to ask, the desire to spoil a granite carriageway? When we drove up to the Party Regional Committee building, the Committee Secretary announced: - ‘Here’s our committee building. We’re thinking of reconstructing it.’ - ‘What kind of reconstruction? For what purpose?’ - ‘We don’t like the facade. It must be completely changed.’ What is meant by ‘changed’? What will be the cost of modifying a six-story building? It’s clearly cheaper to put up a new building than to reconstruct an old one. When you hear proposals of this kind, you can’t help remembering Shchedrin ridiculing the governor who knocked down everything built by his precursor. It turns out that the habits mocked by the great Russian satirist Shchedrin are still alive among us today! (Applause.) [...] Improving quality: the most important task faced by our builders Comrades, special attention should be paid to improving the quality of construction. We must build not merely quickly, but unfailingly well and sturdily, and we must value our reputation as builders. Buildings should be convenient for living in and convenient in exploitation. Badly built buildings have to be repaired after short periods of time, which means having to spend extra money. This applies to all types of construction. First and foremost, I would like to talk about quality of construction in residential buildings. Are the walls and ceilings of our buildings well made? I think they are very well made. In our residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and other

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buildings the walls and ceilings are constructed in such a way that they will perform their functions for hundreds of years. There can be no doubt about this since we use reinforced concrete for construction. But it has to be said that the decoration of buildings is often done badly. What’s more, many workers put up with clearly unconscientious work in decorating buildings. This has been said in full fairness by many comrades at the conference. Recently comrades Bulganin and Mikoyan and myself had to visit many cities in the Far East, Siberia, and the Urals. We were looked after well. Which is understandable – given that we’re demanding guests and that we have the power to criticize – and in fact do even more than just criticize. So naturally they tried to ensure the best conditions for us. (Laughter, applause.) In the city of Sverdlovsk we lived in a hotel. This hotel was well and sturdily made. It has to be supposed that we were given by no means the worst rooms. (Laughter.) And in this hotel we saw that the bathroom and toilet blocks were very badly built and that the quality of decorative work was poor. We asked for the hotel director and the city leaders and said to them: ‘Look how poor this work is!’ Evidently, there was a failure to require proper standards during construction. The quality of the tiling was poor and it had been carelessly laid. The pipes in the toilets and bathrooms were covered in rust and had been hurriedly painted with some sort of grey paint before our arrival, with more paint being splashed onto the walls at the same time. The way that these pipes had been joined together was very bad and I, as an ex-plumber, was very indignant: even in re-Revolutionary times pipe joints down the mine were done better and more cleanly than in this hotel in Sverdlovsk. [...] Builders must be told about such failings – and there are many of them – and be told to drastically improve the quality of their work. Comrade Yudin, the Minister for the Construction-Materials Industry, and other workers in the construction-materials industry should not give themselves airs, but should learn from our friends in Czechoslovakia, who make fine construction materials and parts. (Applause.) They can also learn from the German Democratic Republic, where they produce fine facing tiles. It has to be said without beating about the bush that some comrades learn too little from others and, what is more to the point, don’t even desire to learn. (Applause.) [...] Special attention should be paid to improving the quality of panels made of wood. In many houses window transoms and doors are badly made. And you know that when someone walks into a house, what he notices first of all is the door – how well it closes, whether there are any chinks in it, how it’s painted. He

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also looks to see how the windows have been made and what the various fittings are like. We must work constantly and insistently to improve the quality of decorating work. In residential buildings the stairwells must likewise be well decorated. There is much that must be done to improve the quality of soundproofing in houses. We especially need to work on insulation between apartments; this should be beyond reproach. In this case we need to make sure that walls between apartments and between different floors conform with soundproofing requirements. [...] Production of linoleum must be expanded. Floors covered in linoleum are no worse than parquet floors; they’re more hygienic and smarter. It is easier to look after such floors than after parquet ones. Everyone knows that parquet floors have to be waxed – which is a complicated business and requires extra expenditure. We should value women’s labour and try our best to lighten it. [...] For decorating the external walls of buildings the best material is ceramic tiling. Ceramic facing is long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and does not change colour during use. [...] [...] The main thing is, it’s vital that order should be kept: no construction should begin without an architectural design, without an estimate, or without detailed plans. (Applause.) But what currently happens in practice? No sooner has a decision been taken to build something than a report comes back saying that construction has begun. And there isn’t even an architectural plan for the building. It’s well known that before starting construction the site must be well prepared, roads built, supply of water and electricity taken care of, and full architectural plans drawn up [...] We lose a great deal as a result of our building sites not receiving metal and other materials in the right assortment. I’ll give two examples, but builders could produce such examples without end. Wire with a diameter of 5.5 mm is needed for reinforced concrete. There isn’t any. The builders are told: take wire that is 1 mm wider in diameter. You might think it hardly makes a difference – just one millimeter, not worth getting into a fight about. And yet in 1953 in the case of building done by the Ministry of Construction this millimeter led to an extra 4800 tons of metal being used. That’s the kind of figure that Gosplan goes into battle about – and quite rightly so. So that, comrades, is what this millimeter costs [...]! Increasing the productivity of labour, creating a supply of qualified builders [...] It’s well known that there is much room in the construction sector for improving productivity of labour and conse-

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quently for increasing salaries earned by workers. Such room is to be found in mechanization of building work; correct use of the powerful equipment we have on our building sites; a switch to industrial methods of construction; improvement of workers’ skills; better use of the advanced experience gained by innovators; and strengthening of production discipline. [...] In order to raise the real wages earned by workers it is necessary to ensure a growth in labour productivity and a growth in the take-home pay earned by each worker. There are many examples that provide convincing proof of the opportunities available for improving productivity of labour and increasing workers’ wages. Here is one such example. I shall compare two schools of the many built in Moscow in 1954 – one in Tomkmakov pereulok and built out of brick; the other, in Kutuzovskaya sloboda, built from large blocks. Observe the difference in the amount of labour the two schools required. 7,360 man-days were spent on laying the brick walls and building cornices, ceilings and floors, staircases, and partition walls, while the same work in the building made from large blocks required 1,780 man-days – or only 24% of the number of man-days spent on the school made of brick. The average worker’s pay for the above types of work at the school made from brick was 268 rubles per man-day, while in the case of the block-built school the respective figure was 1,432 rubles, i.e. 5.3 times more. If we consider all types of work done at the brick school, pay per man-day was 142 rubles, while for the second school it was 261 rubles, i.e. 1.8 times greater. As for use of cranes, during construction of the first school 314 machine-shifts were used; while for the second 164 – or 54% – were needed. This, comrades, is where there is room for growth in labour productivity and increases in pay! [...] Comrades, I shall bring my speech to a close by expressing my confidence that builders, architects, engineers, workers in the construction-materials industry and in manufacture of machinery for construction and roads, and employees of design and research organizations will carry out with honor the tasks laid upon them by the Party and the Government; will improve still further the level, pace, and quality of construction in our country; will accelerate the bringing in of factories, mines, power stations, and manufactories; and will build residences, schools, and hospitals better and more beautifully. Goodbye until we meet again at the next conference of builders. I wish you continued success, comrades! (Wild, continuous applause. Everyone stands)

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VISIT THE EXIBITOR AT BOOTH D-4

We are not against beauty, but we are against superfluity.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 75


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

Revive by Developing, Develop by Reviving Around the world, vital pieces of urban heritage have been destroyed or are in urgent need of rescue. The forces of modernization have stripped cities of their historical identities and original urban logic. An imaginary international cultural organization champions a purposeful revival of lost architectural and town planning values as a means of redressing the urban traumas of modernization.

Illustration by Maja Wronńska

Revived Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow

76 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT THE RUSSIAN COUNCIL FOR RETROACTIVE DEVELOPMENT AT BOOTH B3

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he Russian Council for Retroactive Develop­ ment (RCRD) is an international cultural or­ ganization dedicated to a purposeful revival of the lost historical, architectural, and town planning values of the city and redressing the urban traumas of modernization. For over twenty years, the RCRD has been at the forefront of the fight to reconstruct Russia’s architectural heritage. From its headquarters in Moscow, the Council oversees the Retroactive De­ velopment® of a city ravaged by reckless Soviet and post-Soviet planning practices. The RCRD works to develop a new, holistic approach to urban planning based on the application of best practices from pre­ vious development periods. Its efforts have yielded a number of high profile reconstructions, including Kolomenskoye Palace, the Iberian Gate, and the Ca­ thedral of Christ the Savior, three invaluable pieces of Moscow’s architectural heritage that were tragical­ ly demolished. The Origins of Retroactive Development® “Now there is a moment in the development of Moscow, when the nihilistic actions concerning the city’s central core has gone too far. There is a threat of the whole losing artistic appearance, and it becomes clearer and clearer that in future we should revive the lost elements, developing new aesthetic values on the base of their genetic potential rather than strictly preserving monuments of architecture or creating so-called ‘preservations zones’.” — Revived Moscow, diploma design by B. Savin, A. Ivanov, O. Makarova, M. Kyrchanov, O. Omelyanenko, V. Palkus, 1990 (Supervisor: Ass. prof. B. Yeremin)

The Russian Council for Retroactive Development (RCRD) has its origins in the ideas and studios of Bo­ ris Yeremin, an esteemed professor at Moscow Archi­ tectural Institute (MARKhI). During the 1980s and ‘90s Yeremin led a series of efforts to define the fu­ ture development of Moscow, based on a sensitive en­ gagement with its past. Under the umbrella of retrorazvitie (retroactive development), Yeremin’s stu­ dents launched a wide range of proposals for reviving individual buildings, public spaces, and entire neigh­ borhoods in the capital. The projects were united by a shared desire to es­ tablish a new form of urban development based on un­ doing the mistakes of modernization. Although their proposals occasionally included acts of architectural preservation, Yeremin and his students generally took a critical view of the practice, arguing that it instills in the architect a passive attitude towards heritage. Ret­ roactive Development® was developed as an active ap­ proach to imagining and improving the city, based on understanding its history and, when beneficial, resur­ recting those parts that have been unwisely removed.

Although developed in an academic context, Yer­ emin’s ideas were put into practice throughout the 1990s and 2000s, as former students assumed posi­ tions in government, determining planning and con­ struction policy for Moscow. Revive by developing, develop by reviving “Over the past decade, we have seen a welcome new trend evolving, mainly in developing countries. I am speaking about culture as an economic driver: a creator of jobs and revenues; a means of making poverty eradication strategies relevant and more effective at the local level.” — UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova

While the cultural value of reviving urban heritage is obvious, Retroactive Development® also operates as a driver of economic growth. Besides employing the historians, craftspeople, architects, and contractors needed to build them, projects like the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and Iberian Gate have become un­ missable tourist destinations crucial to Moscow’s city marketing. It’s a model the Council hopes to see replicated, as cities everywhere attempt to develop through reviv­ ing their heritage. The benefits are obvious: world­ wide tourism to global heritage sites is increasing 8 to 12 percent per year on average, according to Unit­ ed National World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with many sites doubling or tripling in visitation and revenues every 10 years. According to estimates by the Global Heritage Foundation, over 50 global her­ itage sites today each have annual revenues of over $100 million, up from a fraction of that number 20 years ago. Rather than focusing on simply protecting or re­ pairing existing sites, Retroactive Development® pro­ vides a means to generate new destinations, drawn from the past, ready for the future.

Based on the Russian experience, our message is simple: the past is never gone; heritage can always be revived.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 77


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

DESTROYED HERI 100 global candidates for Retroa

Kalamaja cemetery Kalamaja cemetery Tallinn,Estonia Tallinn, Estonia Koplicemetery Kopli cemetery Tallinn,Estonia Tallinn, Estonia Mõigucemetery Mõigu cemetery Tallinn,Estonia Tallinn, Estonia

Houseofof House thethe Blackheads Blackheads Riga,Latvia Riga, Latvia

Pella PellaPalace Palace Chicherin House Chicherin Hous

Tre (castle) TreKronor Kronor (castle) Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm, Sweden Tallin, Estonia Tallin, Estonia

Saint Petersburg, Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia

Copenhagen Castle Copenhagen Castle Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark Huizen Huizentransmitter transmitter Hilversum, Netherlands Hilversum, Netherlands

Moscow, Russia Moscow, Russia

Palace Palace ofof thethe Grand Grand Dukes Dukes Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania Lithuania

Nelson's Pillar Nelson's Pillar Dublin,Ireland Dublin, Ireland

Abbey ofof Abbey Santa Santa Engracia Engracia Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Aragon, Aragon, Spain Spain

Kiev Duma building KievCity City Duma building Kiev, Kiev,Unkraine Unkraine

Warsaw, Poland Warsaw, Poland

Raglan RaglanLibrary Library Monmouthshire, Monmouthshire, England England

Ripple Rock Ripple Rock SeymourNarrows, Seymour Narrows, British British Columbia, Columbia, CanadaCanada

Coudenberg Coudenberg Coudenberg, Belgium Coudenberg, Belgium

Bastille Bastille Paris, Paris,France France Château dede Meudon Château Meudon Meudon, Meudon,France France Tuileries Palace Tuileries Palace Paris, Paris,France France

Maison Peuple Maisondudu Peuple Brussels, Belgium Brussels, Belgium

Lafayette transmitter Lafayette transmitter Marcheprime, Marcheprime, Aquitaine, Aquitaine, France France

LeaningTower Leaning Tower of Zaragoza of Zaragoza Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain Spain

StalinMonument Monument Stalin Prague,Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Prague,

Great Great Palace Palace of Con of Old Old Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey Tur Imperial Imperial Library Library of Old Old Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey Tur

GellértHill Gellért Hill Calvary Calvary Gellért Hill, Gellért Hill, Budapest Budapest Trajan's Bridge Trajan's Bridge Kladovo(Serbia) Kladovo (Serbia) Georgi Georgi Dimitrov Dimitrov Mausoleum Mausoleum Sofia, Sofia, Bulgaria Bulgaria

cemetery A rmenian cemetery in Armenian Julfa, Nakhchivan, A Julfa, Nakhchivan, Azerb

Idora Park Idora Park Oakland,California Oakland, California BuenRetiro Buen Retiro Palace Palace Madrid,Spain Madrid, Spain Cerrodede Cerro loslos Ángeles Ángeles Madrid,Spain Madrid, Spain RoyalAlcazar Royal Alcazar of Madrid of Madrid Madrid,Spain Madrid, Spain

San Estevan San Estevan (Maya (Maya site) site) San San Estevan, Estevan, Belize Belize

El Dedo El Dedo dede Dios Dios GranCanaria, Gran Canaria, Canary Canary Islands Islands (Spain)(Spain)

Mausoleum at at Mausoleum

Halicarnassus Halicarnassus Bodrum, Turkey Bodrum, Turkey

Artificio Artificio dede Juanelo Juanelo Toledo, Toledo, Spain Spain

Drazark Drazark monastery monaste Adana Adanaprovince, province, TurkT Colossus Colossus ofRhodes of Rhodes Rhodes,Greece Rhodes, Greece

RoyalPalace Palace of Évora Royal of Évora Évora, Portugal , Portugal Évora Ribeira Palace Ribeira Palace Lisbon, Lisbon,Portugal Portugal

Library Library ofof Alexandria Alexandria Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt Egypt

Nemiships ships Nemi LakeNemi, Nemi, Rome Lake Rome

Mategriffon Mategriffon Messina,Sicily Sicily Messina,

Oriental Oriental Institute Institute Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosniaand Bosnia and Herzegovina Herzegovina Ratac Ratac Abbey Abbey Bar, Bar, modern-day modern-day Montenegro Montenegro Stari StariMost Most Mostar, Mostar,Bosnia Bosnia andand Herzegovina Herzegovina

Nohmul Nohmul Belize Belize

Q Q M

Mandelbaum Mandelbaum Gate Gate Jerusalem Jerusalem

Law Law school school of Beiru of B Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon Lebanon

GuaíraFalls Guaíra Falls Border between Border between Paraguay Paraguay and Brazil and Brazil

78 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


ITAGE active Development

Destroyed heritage: 100 global candidates for Retroactive Development®

se

Red Gate Red Gate Armorial Armorial Gate Gate DynamoStadium Dynamo Stadium HotelMoskva Hotel Moskva Rossiya Rossiya Hotel Hotel Sukharev Sukharev Tower Tower

fnstantinople Constantinople rkey y yConstantinople of Constantinople rkey y

yJulfa in Julfa baijan Azerbaijan

Ipatiev IpatievHouse House Yekaterinburg, Yekaterinburg, Russia Russia

Sükhbaatar's Sükhbaatar's Mausoleum Mausoleum Ulaanbaatar, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Mongolia

Załuski Library Załuski Library BrühlPalace Brühl Palace Kotowski Kotowski Palace Palace RoyalCastle Royal Castle SaxonPalace Saxon Palace Warsaw Warsaw radio radio mast mast

Temple Templeofof King King Dongmyeong Dongmyeong Korean KoreanPeninsula, Peninsula, North North KoreaKorea NHK NHKKawaguchi Kawaguchi Transmittert Transmittert Kawaguchi, Kawaguchi, Saitama, Saitama, Japan Japan

26 26Commissars Commissars Memorial Memorial Baku, Baku,Azerbaijan Azerbaijan

ery key Turkey

Beijing Beijing city city fortifications fortifications Beijing, Beijing, China China Old Old Summer Summer Palace Palace Buddhas Buddhas ofof Bamiyan Bamiyan Beijing, Beijing, China China Hazarajat, Hazarajat, Afghanistan Afghanistan Yongdingmen Yongdingmen Neutrality Neutrality Monument Monument Beijing, Beijing, China China Ashgabat, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Turkmenistan

Ganden GandenMonastery Monastery Lhasa LhasaPrefecture, Prefecture, Tibet Tibet

Tachara Tachara Marvdasht, Marvdasht, Iran Iran Pearl Roundabout Pearl Roundabout Manama, Bahrain Manama, Bahrain

Ram RamJanmabhoomi Janmabhoomi Ayodhya, Ayodhya, India India

Qishla Mecca Qishla ofof Mecca Mecca, Saudi Arabia Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Persepolis Persepolis FarsProvince, Fars Province, IranIran

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Gate ofof Gate AllAll Nations Nations Marvdasht, Marvdasht, Iran Iran

Beirut ut n

Yosami YosamiTransmitting Transmitting Station Station Kariya, Kariya,Aichi, Aichi, Japan Japan

Seoul SeoulCity City HallHall Seoul, Seoul,South South Korea Korea

Hwangnyongsa Hwangnyongsa Gyeongju, Gyeongju, South South Korea Korea

Haiyantang Haiyantang Xiyang Xiyang Lou, Lou, China China

Reza RezaShah's Shah's mausoleum mausoleum Ray Raysouth south of of Tehran Tehran

Imperial Imperial Hotel Hotel Tokyo, Tokyo,Japan Japan

Kaesong Kaesong Namdaemun Namdaemun Kaesong, Kaesong, North North Korea Korea

Porcelain Tower Porcelain Tower of Nanjing of Nanjing Nanjing,China Nanjing, China

Hong HongKong Kong

Sanzhi UFO Sanzhi UFO houses houses SanzhiDistrict, Sanzhi District, New New Taipei Taipei City, Taiwan City, Taiwan Beaconsfield Beaconsfield House House Edinburgh Edinburgh Place Place FerryFerry Pier Pier Hong HongKong Kong Club Club Building Building Hong HongKong Kong Hotel Hotel Kowloon Kowloon Station Station (KCR) (KCR) Kowloon Kowloon Walled Walled City City Queen's Queen's Pier Pier

Hanging Gardens Hanging Gardens ofBabylon of Babylon Hillah,Babil Hillah, Babil province, province, Iraq Iraq House ofof House Wisdom Wisdom Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq Iraq

Hotel HotelGrand Grand Chancellor Chancellor Christchurch, Christchurch, New New Zealand Zealand

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 79


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

Origin: Cathedral of Christ the Savior, late 1800s.

Destruction: Demolition of the Cathedral, 1931.

Replacement: Moskva Pol (Moscow Pool), 1964.

Resurrection: Cathedral of Christ the Savior, 2014.

Retroactive Development® at work: The resurrection of Christ the Savior The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was originally built between 1837 and 1883 as a monument to victory in the War of 1812. In 1931, Stalin demolished the cathedral to clear space for the Palace of Soviets, a monumental building meant to house the Soviet Union’s central administrative center and congress hall. The Palace proved unbuildable and the site was abandoned

80 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

until, in the 1950s, the government converted it to the world’s largest open-air swimming pool. In 1995, the pool was closed; workers began reconstructing the cathedral later that year following a new design that included additional features such as a conference hall, shops, and a car wash. Partially funded by the donations of over a million Muskovites, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior today stands as one of Moscow’s most important architectural and spiritual attractions.


Origin: Berlin City Palace (Berliner Stadtschloss), postcard, 1800s.

Destruction: Demolition of Berlin City Palace, 1950.

Replacement: The Palace of the Republic, 1977.

Ressurection: Reconstructed Berliner Stadtschloss, 2019.

From Russia to the world RCRD applies a 360-degree Retroactive Development® methodology based on the purposeful revival of lost historical and architectural treasures, the protection and restoration of surviving monuments, and the ac­ tive development of urban ensembles on the basis of the generative potential of their architectural heritage. In 2014 the Council expanded its scope of activ­ ities beyond Russia, surveying global sites, and ap­ plying the Retroactive Development® methodology in cities such as Paris, Berlin, and New York. Going forward, the organization plans to more intensively engage societies that are currently undergoing rap­ id urbanization or have had vital components of their architectural heritage erased, either by war, icono­ clasm, or rampant development. Based on the Rus­ sian experience, our message is simple: the past is never gone; heritage can always be revived.

Rather than focusing on simply protecting or repairing existing sites, Retroactive Development® provides a means to generate new destinations, drawn from the past, ready for the future.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 81


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

Collectivity For Any Context

For reasons of economy, culture, and security, communal living is on the rise. NARKOMFIN™, a revolutionary communal housing scheme from the 1920s offers promising new strategies for shared living, work, relaxation, and detention.

82 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT NARKOMFIN TM AT BOOTH D6

N

ARKOMFIN™ is based on the Narkomfin Communal House, a highly influential ex­ perimental residence located at 25 Novin­ sky Boulevard, in the Central district of Moscow. Designed by renowned Constructivist archi­ tects Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinis, the proj­ ect was imagined as a prototype for all subsequent Soviet state housing. Its program and household types were determined by the STROIKOM, an in­ vestigative research committee, which was fund­ ed by the Soviet government and headed by Ginz­ burg. The original NARKOMFINTM scheme was de­ signed according to this program to accommodate approximately two hundred people in households of varying types. As a product of post-revolutionary socialist en­ ergy, collectivity is written into the DNA of NAR­ KOMFIN™. Apart from sleep, independent study, and personal hygiene, all of life’s essential activi­ ties can be conducted communally in NARKOM­ FIN™ architecture: eating in the common dining rooms, working in its studios and libraries, physi­ cal exercise in the gymnasia, and relaxation in the common rooms, reading rooms, and the surround­ ing landscape, with child care provided in commu­ nal children’s quarters, when applicable. In describing his design, Narkomfin’s archi­ tect Moisei Ginzburg was insistent that the build­ ings not only support, but mandate collectivity. “The economic routines of the worker’s family (nu­ trition, cleaning, washing),” he wrote, “as well as the education of children, their care and control, and the fulflment of the cultural and sport needs of workers and children, can and must be collec­ tivized — that is, produced on a collective basis.” More than 80 years later, NARKOMFIN™ offers buildings for co-operatives, corporations, and com­ munes that share its founder’s vision.

Moisei Ginzburg

Narkomfin Communal House, 1928

A product of post-revolutionary socialist energy, collectivity is written into the DNA of NARKOMFIN™

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 83


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

There are currently four standard NARKOMFIN™ models. Each addresses a different set of communal needs and draws on different aspects of the original Narkomfin design. Dom Kommuna

NARKOMFIN™ Wellness

Where it all began: a fully integrated apartment block for communal living, based on Moisei Ginzburg’s original vision, customizable to any climate or community.

Therapeutic togetherness and revitalizing seclusion: structured around the original Narkomfin logic, but adjusted to accentuate health and embrace nature, NARKOMFIN™ Wellness is the ideal solution for spas, retreats, and rehabilitation centers in warmer climates.

NARKOMFIN™ Youth

NARKOMFIN™ Workspace

Absolute order with improvisational opportunities: NARKOMFIN™ logic is designed to structure life. With slight adjustments to emphasize security, architecture originally designed to dictate a worker’s daily schedule is transformed into a modern approach to juvenile detention, NARKOMFIN™ Youth.

Focus, structure, serendipity: Work in the 21st century requires a near alchemical balance of stimulating social interaction and monk-like concentration. NARKOMFIN™ Workspace is designed to provide both, in a structured, cheerful environment, which encourages inhabitants to abandon outdated distinctions between work and play.

84 Fair Enough June 4-8 2014


Dom Kommuna: The ultimate in collective living In our age of skyrocketing rents and fraying social ties, many are re-considering the advantages of col­ lective living. Dom Kommuna offers an ideal solu­ tion. In Dom Kommuna, all activities — except for sleep, individual study, and personal hygiene — are conducted communally. Fully realized, according to a master architect’s vision Although based on Moisei Ginzburg’s original Nar­ komfin Communal House, Dom Kommuna is, in fact, an upgrade. Political and financial complica­ tions compromised the original project, resulting in material changes and the elimination of vital facili­ ties. NARKOMFIN™ has worked to correct this his­ tory by providing a masterpiece of communal hous­ ing as Ginzburg originally intended — including a full rooftop garden and day care center unrealized in the original version. Based on a sliding scale of collectivity and privacy Assembling a housing collective can be complicat­ ed, especially when not all members are equally ac­ climatized to communal living. Dom Kommuna an­ ticipates and embraces this diversity of experience and expectation by providing both fully collectiv­ ized apartments (which we call F units) as well as ones that retain aspects of private, individual, and family living (the K and 2-F units). After entering Dom Kommuna as K unit residents, many eventu­ ally transition to the F unit, where the full scope of Moisei Ginzburg’s architectural and social vision can be experienced in its purest form.

NARKOMFIN™ Wellness: A platform within nature NARKOMFIN™ exists at one with nature. Moisei Ginzburg’s original Narkomfin Communal House was designed as a prototype for a new social dwell­ ing where, in the architect’s words, “the peasant can listen to the songs of larks,” and where “the combines of habitation, dense and compact, per­ mit their inhabitants to enjoy gardens, expanses of greenery, and the collective spaces of sport and relaxation.” With NARKOMFIN™ Wellness we embrace that spirit and expand it, providing a wide open archi­ tecture in which the distinction between inside and out blurs. The windows open like an accordi­ on to transform living quarters into an open ter­ race surrounded by greenery. The sense of ‘room’ is lost: the center becomes a platform integrated within nature.

NARKOMFIN™ contains two types of living units, one with a kitchen and one without, in order to offer degrees of communal living.

Where the border between inside and outside blurs... The common rooms of the F units are provided with very large windows. By contrast, the sleep­ ing niches have long horizontal strip windows ex­ tending the length of the eastern wall. The location of the windows in the F units ensure that morning light enters the sleeping niche and evening light fil­ ters through the trees into the large windows of the common room. ...And a communal spirit blows with the breeze The layout of NARKOMFIN™ Wellness ensures that the common room and sleeping sphere open out to one another visually, as well as spatially. Based on original research conducted by Moisei Ginzburg and his colleagues, this open arrangement facili­ June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 85


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

tates the hygienic circulation of air through the two rooms and the windows on either end. A truly ‘open plan,’ the only enclosed spaces in the F units of NARKOMFIN™ Wellness are the shower and toilet. NARKOMFIN™ Youth: An architecture of control NARKOMFINTM is active architecture. Created ac­ cording to Constructivist architectural principles, it provides the tools to define and monitor all aspects of its inhabitants’ lives. Almost a century ago, Nar­ komfin architect Moisei Ginzburg created a facility in which, according to him, “all difficulties related to daily life appear already resolved and brought to conform to a standard, [where] the forms of […] life are not understood in dialectic terms, but in some sort of uniform and unchanging order.” Ideal for defining and monitoring daily life Records from the time attest to the success of his approach. In his book Home, Ginzburg quotes a certain comrade Kuzmin, who described the life of a communal member in the original Narkomfin: “A worker woken up by a call from a radio centre regulating communal life, got up, made his bed, went to his wardrobe, put on a dressing gown and slippers, and moved to an exercise room.” He re­ counts the morning schedule: “1) going to sleep at 22.00; 2) sleep for 8 hours, wake up at 6; 3) morn­ ing exercises for 5 minutes — 6.05; 4) washing for 10 minutes  — 6.15; 5) shower for 5 minutes  — 6.20; 6) dressing for 5 minutes — 6.25; 7) going to the canteen for 3 minutes — 6.28.” 86 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

NARKOMFIN™ Youth builds on this tradition of efficiency and control. The facility accommodates for a full range of collectivity and isolation: sleep­ ing cells and living units are connected by a bridge to a communal block that contains a gymnasium with showers, toilets, dressing and storage rooms, as well as a kitchen and cafeteria, with a rest area and reading room. The living and sleeping cells are spacious, with a height of 2.2 meters and, in the case of two-story spaces, 4.4 meters. A continuous side corridor con­ nects the units and provides a easily controllable means of circulating the inhabitants. Designed for cost effectiveness, yet accommodating comfort For administrators, NARKOMFIN™ Youth also in­ cludes well designed and equipped office and res­ idential spaces. The largest consists of one large, two-story main room with an open gallery. The en­ try is on the ground floor, with a separate kitch­ en and a primary two-story room. The second floor contains two bedrooms, two closets, and a large open gallery that leads onto a balcony. The upper open gallery accommodates an office with built-in planter and a solitary pilotis overlooking the main living area. NARKOMFIN™ Workspace: A design from the past, perfect for the present For decades, the name NARKOMFIN™has implied innovation. Considered by some too radical for its own time, Moisei Ginzburg’s visionary design as­

NARKOMFIN™ private dwelling units are connected by internal streets that lead to collective facilities.


pired to change the world by embracing a new life­ style in which outdated distinctions between pri­ vate/public and work/play dissolve. History has confirmed the architect’s assumptions and today NARKOMFIN™ could be considered an architec­ tecture ideally suited to the needs of creative, fast changing companies. A social condenser, built for innovation Work in the 21st century requires an almost al­ chemical balance of stimulating social interac­ tion and monk-like concentration. NARKOMFIN™ Workspace is designed to provide both: by accom­ modating the full spectrum of human activities — from solitary rigor to collective relaxation — in a single complex, NARKOMFIN™ compresses the program of office life in order to make it overlap and hybridize work and play. This emphasis on cross-pollination makes the kind of serendipitous exchanges and unexpected connections essential to creativity almost inevitable. At the same time, through its signature color-coded internal navi­ gation system — developed in collaboration with Professor Hinnerk Scheper of the legendary Staat­ liches Bauhaus — NARKOMFIN™ Workspace pro­ vides employees an example of the structure and recognizable internal logic that all great new prod­ ucts must possess. NARKOMFIN™ Workspace is the ultimate work-play environment, an office that en­ sures innovation by architecturally encouraging employees to work in ways that are proven to pro­ duce new ideas.

NARKOMFIN™ Workspace has a color-coded internal navigation system, developed in collaboration with Professor Hinnerk Scheper of the legendary Staatliches Bauhaus.

In this age of skyrocketing rents and fraying social ties, many are re-considering the advantages of collective living

(Image by Julia Ardabyevskaya)

NARKOMFIN™ Workspace campus

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 87


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

Sketch of industrial shop by Lazar Khidekel, 1942

Sketch of industrial shop made of ramabloks by Lazar Khidekel, 1942

88 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014


VISIT KHIDEKEL ELEMENTS AT BOOTH D1

Khidekel Elements

All images courtesy of the Khidekel family archive

RamablokTM reconstruction by Mark Khidekel, 2014

According to the International Displace­ ment Monitoring Centre, approximately 144 million people in 125 countries were forced from their homes between 2008 and 2012. 98% of those displaced live in de­veloping countries. Improvements in ear­ly warning systems and other life-saving measures have decreased disaster mortality rates, but increased the number of survivors in desperate need of housing. A technolo­gy created by a former suprematist artist could provide a vital new tool. Khidekel Elements is a hypothetical nonprof­it organization dedicated to providing low-cost, easy-to-erect housing for com­ munities displaced by war and natural di­ sasters. Its work is based on the applica­ tion of Ramablok™ technology, an open system of elements for the rapid assem­ bly of industrial strength structures from found materials. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 89


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

T

he RamablokTM was originally developed by Lazar Khidekel, a re­ nowned Soviet artist and architect who, in 1942, invented a unique approach to the rapid construction of industrial facilities. Working at the height of World War II, in conditions of extreme urgency and resource scarcity, Khidekel proposed a new unit of construction that could reduce the use of concrete and wood, without sacrificing strength. He called this unit the ramablok. Based on Suprematist principles Prior to becoming involved in architecture, Lazar Khidekel was an artist aligned with the Suprematist movement. Suprematist art focused on ba­sic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, paint­ed in a limited colour palette. When faced with the urgent need to construct in­ dustrial buildings with limited time and resources, Khidekel combined the Suprematist principle of minimalism with an intuitive con­structivist under­ standing of the skeletal object to create a standardized yet flexible system of construction that was able to self-adjust, depending on the available build­ ing materials. Created from found materials Out of necessity, the original Ramablok™ was a marvel of sustainability. It was composed of two primary elements: wood for the frame and concrete or ash for filling. The wood was often found or recycled, as wartime limits made cutting down trees impossible, and ash came from the furnaces of lo­ comotives, industrial plants, or other facilities. In official documents of the time, Khidekel described the benefits of his invention in this way: Ramabloks are elements for the rapid assembly of the walls of industrial buildings in wartime. The speed of erection is achieved by the scalable size of the element (from 0.8 sq.m – 160 sq.m), its variable weight (from 45 kg up to 2200 kg), ease and cleanliness of installa­tion, and its 90 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


From the archives: Lazar Khidekel’s 1942 proposal for Ramablok™ technology From official papers / State Institute for the Design of Metallurgical Plants “GIPROMEZ” / The construction sector / The project of construction of walls of industrial buildings from ramabloks

General Part Fencing occupies a large share of industri­al construction, both in terms of labour and the amount of building materials and construc­ tion time required. In wartime, these parts of the buildings require more rational deci­sions regarding the use of building materi­als and construction techniques allowing for optimal wall thickness, as well as the complete or partial replacement of deficient materials (brick, cement, and other fluids, timber mate­rials, nails, etc.). The proposed design of constructing walls out of ramabloks is designed to ob­ tain optimum wall thickness and weight, mak­ing them exclusively for fencing functions. The application of ramabloks is suitable for outdoor fences and internal walls — parti­tions of industrial buildings or partitions of low cost and simplified housing, and other similar premises.

Description of ramablok Ramabloks are elements for the rapid assembly of the walls of industrial buildings in wartime. The speed of erection is achieved by the scal­able size of the element (from 0.8 sq.m — 160 sq.m), its variable weight (from 45 kg up to 2200 kg), ease and cleanliness of installation, and its lack of wet processes and waste. A dry and clean assembly process allows for the erection of walls simultaneously with the installation of equipment. Ramabloks reduce the consumption of plastic materials — slag concrete, gypsum concrete, terrolit, etc. Ramabloks reduce the con­ sumption of timber compared with wood­en post-and-plank structures by a factor of 30-50%. Ramabloks can replace a brick wall of 0.5, 1, or 1.5 bricks thick, as well as walls of light concrete blocks. The filler material of each ramablok can be chosen depending on local or available ma­terial of a rather wide range and may be of an optimal thickness (6 cm and over), because the filler in the frame is protected against damage to the perimeter.

Thermotechnical and technical and economic indicators Thermotechnical properties: when the fill­er plate has a thickness of 6-12 cm (dependent on material), ramablok fencing may be equiva­ lent to a brick wall at 0.5, 1, or 1.5 bricks thick. Ramablok fencing filled with gypsum concrete (bulk density of 800 kg/m3 and a thickness of 10 cm and thermal conductivity coefficient of 0.25) is equivalent to a brick wall 1.5 bricks in thickness, while lightweight concrete (bulk density 1200 kg/ m3 thickness of 12 cm and a coefficient of thermal conductivity of 0.45) is equivalent to a 0.75 thick brick wall.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 91


EXHIBITOR IN DEPTH

During the war, Lazar Khidekel served as chief architect of the State Institute for the Design of Metallurgical Plants, where he applied Ramablok™ technology to a number of projects, including: Nizhny Tagil Metallurgical Plant Renovation and expansion of the plant for the development of the defense industry during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Designed and constructed between 1941 and 1943. Novo-Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant Renovation and expansion of the plant for the development of the construction industry. Designed and constructed between 1941 and 1943.

“Intersecting lines” by Lazar Khidekel, 1920

lack of wet processes and waste. Ramabloks reduce the consumption of plastic ma­terials — slag concrete, gypsum concrete, terrolit, etc. Ramabloks reduce the consumption of timber compared with wooden post-and-plank structures by a factor of 30-50%. The filler material of each ramablok can be chosen depending on local or available material in a rather wide range. #suprematismforhumanity The vast majority of human displacement is triggered by climate related haz­ ards. With many of the most precarious communities located in our most pop­ ulous countries, the need for rapidly constructed, environmen­tally responsi­ ble housing only grows more acute. By providing a technol­ogy developed and tested during times of war and under harsh climatic con­ditions, Khidekel El­ ements may offer unrecognized global value.

92 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant Renovation and expansion of the plant for the development of the defense industry during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Designed and constructed between 1941 and 1943. Uzbek Semi-integrated Steelworks Plant Design and construction of a new steel plant. Designed and constructed between 1943 and 1944. Sumgait Metallurgical Plant Design and construction of shops and other facilities connected to the plant. Designed and constructed between 1943 and 1945.


VISIT THE EXIBITOR AT BOOTH D-4

Understanding an exhibitor’s creative strategies

EXPERT ASSESSMENT

Fair Enough takes immense pride in on our exhib­ itors’ elaborate, information-rich booths. In our Expert Assessment feature, we invite a specialist to dissect one of the best examples in order to re­ veal its hidden layers of messaging and showcase its authors’ creative strategies. In this edition, art historian Markus Lahteenmaki takes on Lissitzky.

93 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 93


EXPERT ASSESMENT

Variable Bases of Operation El Lissitzky’s designs for the 1928 Pressa exhibition

E

l Lissitzky acted as the leader of a group of 38 designers for the 1928 Pressa Exhibition in Cologne. The display exhibited the prog­ress of the press industry, and more generally the so­ cialist state, to the West in twenty differ­ ent rooms. The different spac­es covered themes such as the living conditions of the proletari­at, agriculture, electrification of the country, and life under the new polit­ ical system. The display brought together multi­ ple media varying from posters to texts, from sculpture, painting, objects, models and photomontage to kinetic stands, ob­ jects and sculpture. Many of the stands and exhibits combined several different media and technology. Moreover, exact­ ly this merging of the media, technique and method of display to that of the mes­ sages conveyed was an essential aspect of many of them. These multiple messages, techniques and media are then brought together with Lissitzky’s overall design of the display, and even more so on yet an­ other level, in the catalogue Lissitzky de­ signed for the exhibition. Yves-Alain Bois wrote on Lissitzky’s art and his use of axonometry and perspec­tive that “he wanted to destroy the spectator’s certainty and the usual viewing po­sition,” continuing, “in his Prouns, Lissitzky want­ ed to invent a space in which orientation is deliberately abolished: the viewer should no longer have a base of operations, but must be made continually to choose the coordinates of his or her visual field, which thereby become variable.” At Pressa, the multiple media used together, the design, the simultaneity of spaces, displays and informa­tion, create an experience where a 94 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

similarly uncertain position is attained. Lissitzky’s designs for the Pressa act on the whole like a painting with no set point of perspective, or like a photomon­ tage, juxtaposing the different media, im­ ages, and messages in a manner that fol­ lows no specific rules or conventions, instead leaving the orientation and the ex­ perience variable. The role of the behold­ er becomes central in piecing together the array of information, but the beholder has no set viewpoint, only a multiplicity of possibilities, and perhaps, sudden hints to guide interpretation. In the context of the exhibition, this can be seen on the level of individual exhibits, which call for an ac­ tive interpreter — and some of the kinet­ ic ones even require an active participant — and on the level of the exhibition itself, in which the movement of the beholder through the spaces and from one piece of information to another becomes central. Lissitzky breaks the idea of a single path and a single perspective, replacing it with a multiplicity and simultaneity of informa­ tion and ways of perception in the midst of which the beholder becomes an active participant on the level of physical move­ ment as well as through active meaning making, operating without a convention­ al base of operations.the middle of which the beholder becomes an active partici­ pant on the level of physical movement, as well as through active meaning mak­ ing, thus operating without a convention­ al base of operations. Alongside the exhibition, Lissitzky put together an extensive catalogue in the form of a book opening like an accor­ dion, extending to several meters. The catalogue consists of a single con­tinuous

photomontage, which features smaller compositions. It combines and juxtapos­ es photographic material of the exhibi­ tion spaces and exhibits with other pho­ tographic material from newspapers and elsewhere. It employs ideas and strategies similar to the exhibition itself and recre­ ates a similarly open base for interpration. The concepts of variable and simulta­ neous points and paths of reference, and the active, but open role of perception, to­ gether with the merging of different me­ dia through intense design, ideas which are central to the exhibition, are in the catalogue taken one step further. It does not rely only on the power of the images of the exhibits, but combines them with other imagery and texts to create new layers of meaning, which not only sup­ port, but also add to, and alter the orig­ inal meanings of the exhibits. The cata­ logue gives another chance to juxtapose the different exhibits and create new paths of interpretation. Text and cut out images have been added to mark and sig­ nify, to set the tone, and suggest inter­ pretations, but as well they can be inter­ preted as mere slogans, with free associa­ tion. Moreover, even though the text that follows analyzes a section of the cata­ logue as an exhibition catalogue normal­ ly would be, looking for descriptions and suggestions for interpretations of the ex­ hibits, that is by no means meant to in­ dicate that it would be the only, or even the optimal way to approach this partic­ ular catalogue. Lissitzky’s catalogue for the Pressa seems even to resist this type of reading: it can well be read with more free association, simply looking at the images, jumping from one to other, and piecing the information together from variable perspectives, with no set base of operations or conventional ways of interpretations. In this, it acts in a simi­ lar way to the exhibition design itself, as well as Lissitzky’s designs more general­ ly, extending from painting to spatial de­ sign, from photomontage to installations, and from exhibitions to catalogues — in­ termixing them all from variable bases of operation. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 94


VISIT VISIT THE EXIBITOR LISSITZKYAT ATBOOTH BOOTHD-4 A2

A section of the catalogue for the Soviet Pavilion at Pressa Cologne, 1928 by El Lissitzky. Reproductions of the catalogue and the original photomontage.

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EXPERT ASSESMENT

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On the left there is a photograph of one of the exhibits, a large conveyer belt, providing pieces of information and news in the form of slogans, texts, statistics, charts, diagrams and posters, in constant movement. Referring to the machinery of the printing press in its shape and structure, the colossal display-machine acts here as a monumental and industrial conveyer, bearer and transmitter of information of another sort. It propagates and communicates through the information attached to it, but also through its whole structure and design.

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In between the sheets displayed, the belts feature large letters composed of newspaper sheets, forming the word UDSSR. Thus, in addition to the variety of different media and messages they carry in order to communicate facts, figures and images on the theme of the exhibition, the belts act as a sign and a marker for the whole section. They also visually set the rhythm for the wider display. The size, movement and action of this display-machine sets a dynamic pace and a sharp key for the whole space, as it does for the whole section in the catalogue.

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The close-up of the information-conveyer adjoins a general view of the main exhibition space in the catalogue. The close-up is placed as if to activate the page and set a movement and rhythm to the interpretation of it with its dynamic perspective and strong paralleling contours, some of which continue in the same pitch in the next image. All this visual play happens in accordance, supporting and contributing to the themes and ideas dealt with in the exhibition: the relationship between the message and its carrier, the exhibit and the exhibited is variable and complex.

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The text ‘Transmissionen’ (Transmissions) is added in red on top of one of the dynamic lines of the conveyer-machine. It marks and annotates the exhibit together with the 96 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

number below it connecting the catalogue to the real-life exhibition, but it also marks the image on the catalogue guiding its reading. The word, which merges with the image following the contours of the photograph, is complemented by the text on the conveyer belt, ‘der UDSSR’, which can mean ‘the USSR’, but also ‘of the USSR’. Thus the conveyer belt of the first image together with the added label becomes the title for the whole ensemble: ‘Transmissions of the USSR’. On the other hand, the label becoming part of the image marks the machine, which then becomes a signifier and a monumental physical manifestation of the printing press in the USSR. The level of what is in the image adjoins through the montage with what is on it, and the interpretations become variable.

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The larger photograph adjoining the first image of the conveyer belt features the main exhibition space of the Soviet department. Some other central exhibits of the Soviet Pavilion are visible in it: a freestanding star, a large map, and parts of Lissitzky’s grand photomontage wall entitled ‘The Task of the Press is the Education of the Masses.’ The map and the photomontage wall are barely visible and merge to the background on the catalogue, but the star is clearly visible and stands out. The seven pointed, three-footed star is composed of beams in between which planes are formed with canvas. In the heart of it, the beams and planes enclose a hammer and a sickle. The whole composition is encircled and covered with circulating bands and spheres, all topped with a disk where the slogan ‘Proletarier aller Lander vereinigt Euch!’ (Workers of the world, unite!) is written. The ribbons circulating the star also feature writing, and illuminated slogans of the revolution spelled in several languages surround the star.

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The star-exhibit, called in the catalogue ‘Struktur der Sowjet’ (the Structure of the Soviets), could be read as an image of not only of the

soviets, but more widely as a Socialist Universe. In this universe the centerpiece is the Red Star of the Revolution surrounded by belts of stars and constellations composed of revolutionary slogans. It is covered with the orbiting planetary spheres all dominated by the call for the global triumph of the proletariat. In the hearth of it all there are the hammer and the sickle, the symbols of the Communist Party, the source of its energy.

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In the context of the catalogue, the star-exhibit compositionally follows the monumental Transmissions machine. This reading is supported by the adjoining photograph of a crowd of people reading newspapers, discussing them, learning and propagating Socialism, thus extending on and connecting the two images above it. This is the consequence, the tool and the conclusion: the ideology being transmitted. On the top, enclosed by the two photos, facts and figures on the achievements of the soviets are given to demonstrate the vast, fast and inevitable progress of these activities: 212 newspapers in 48 languages and over 8,250,000 copies. Read together, these images suggest a reading of the press as a major contributor to and builder of the Soviet Universe, the theme of the whole Soviet exhibit at Pressa. The Red Star symbolizing the world domination of socialism is a direct consequence of the efficient Transmissions.

8

Below the images discussed previously, the section of the catalogue here reproduced on two different pages, features two more exhibits. On the bottom left, under the large transmitter, is a model of a pre-revolutionary underground printing press labelled as ‘Illegale Druckerei’, an ‘Illegal Press’. It literally forms the foundations to the already established printing, and figuratively the starting point to the triumph of the Soviet press.

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On the bottom right of the section there are three images of the windows of the Soviet pavilion


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EXPERT ASSESMENT

A new design for a new ideology Lissitzky is a hypothetical, multidisciplinary studio that specializes in the artistic production of utopian exhibitions. Based on the work of the visionary designer El Lissitzky, a Lissitzky-designed environment does not depict reality as it is; it visualizes an aspirational future and enlists the audience in a collective effort to achieve the dream. In the Lisstizky booth, historical images of the Pressa exhibition from 1928 are juxtaposed with a newly generated visualization of a Lissitzky-designed exhibition for Google. The Pressa exhibition was intended to celebrate the role of printing in spreading literacy in the early Soviet Union. The radical transformative aspirations of the USSR are today found in private companies like Google, which seek to fundamentally alter the ways that we consume and generate information in order to bring a new, datadriven society into being.

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The other section of the catalogue feature here starts with a red label stating ‘Die Sowjetpresse organisiert Die Bauernschaft fur Den Ubergang zu neuen Gesellschaftlichen Formen Der Landwirtschaft’ translating freely as ‘the Soviet press organizes the peasantry for the transition to new social forms of agriculture’. This section has two more titles on the top, this time cut out from newspapers or other sources as opposed to the red typography used for the labels. These texts merely repeat and sharpen the red label, stating ‘on the socialist structure of 98 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

a village’, ‘implementation’, and ‘the collective principle in agriculture’. These cut outs illustrate the theme set forward by the red labelling alongside the other cut out images. They create subcategories for the topic and exemplify what it means, but they also have a compositional function. They act alongside the other images, not on top of them as the red labels do. The cut out photographs underneath them work in a similar way, illustrating a smiling and working peasant together with another peasant reading a newspaper.

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On the top right, there is a kinetic demonstrative model labelled as ‘the Anniversary Show of a Village’, whose functions and meaning stay open to interpretations, but seem to be suggest a builder of a modern countryside, holding a modern house and spreading joy. Below the illustrations, there is a model of an ‘Izba-Chitalnye’, a reading cabin, which were small cabins built all over the countryside to facilitate

sessions to educate and propagate the peasants. It is perhaps this kind of an izba the kinetic man is holding and spreading. The izba is a simple architectural manifestation and crystallisation of the idea of the whole composition; they were the actual places where the spreading of Socialism took place in the countryside. They were the places where peasants were taught to read, and then given the newspapers to read from. At the bottom of this composition, below the cabin, lays a solid pair of newspaper stands, as if reminders of the main theme of the exhibition, and as the compositional foundation for this work, merging the message and the design.

Sources: Bois, Yves-Alain: ‘El Lissitzky: Radical Reversibility’, in Art in America (April, 1988), pp. 162–180. Images: Zeichnung, Zeichenkunst & vorbereitende Zeichnung Photoausschnitte (52 x 69 cm) Koln, Museum Ludwig, Grafische Sammlung, ML/Z 1985/053, erworben: 1976

Image by Alina Kvirkveliya

featuring slogans, facts and figures painted on the glass. The paintings act as a demonstration of typography as well as a candid and innovative attitude towards the media of display. On the level of the ensemble in the catalogue, it closes the circle displaying the final slogans and cries of victory, painted on the glass, pictured against the light. This must be the bright and inevitable future of it all.


VISIT THE EXIBITOR AT BOOTH D-4

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Background Check

Verifying an exhibitor’s origins

VKhUTEMAS Training In a competitive commercial environment, it can be difficult to discern style from substance. Background Check is a feature created by Fair Enough to provide clear, rigorous explanations of who our exhibitors are and where they come from. In this installment, the architecture historian Anna Bokov examines VKhUTEMAS, the revolutionary design institute that invented VKhUTEMAS Training.

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VISIT VKHUTEMAS TRAINING AT BOOTH A5

A brief history VKhUTEMAS was a product of Russia’s post-revolu­ tionary society. It emerged as a result of a radical twostep educational reform, implemented by the Soviet Ministry of Education after the October Revolution in order to train the emergent proletarian class and to develop a new artistic culture capable of addressing the growing needs of industrial production. The first phase of this reform was initiated in 1918, just after the revolution, and resulted in the dissolution of two czar­ ist institutions — a fine art academy and an applied art school — and the establishment of Free State Art Studios (SGKhM) in their place. Eventually, in a sec­ ond phase of reform, these independent, free-spirited workshops were consolidated into a unified school — VKhUTEMAS, an acronym for Vysshie Khudozhestvenno Tekhnicheskie Masterskie, translated as Higher Ar­ tistic and Technical Studios. VKhUTEMAS was conceived as “a specialized ed­ ucational institution for advanced artistic and tech­ nical training, created to train highly qualified art­ ist-practitioners for modern industry, as well as in­ structors and directors of professional and technical education”. The decree, signed by Vladimir Lenin in 1920, emphasized the technical and industrial direc­ tion of the new design school and formulated its in­ terdisciplinary structure: from the start, VKhUTE­ MAS was conceived as a synthetic interdisciplinary

school consisting of both art and industrial faculties. The school would comprise eight art and production departments — Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Graphics, Textiles, Ceramics, Wood-, and Metalwork­ ing  — organized in order to educate the emergent proletarian class and address the growing needs of in­ dustrial production. VKhUTEMAS was a diverse institution and its mo­ saic of progressive and conservative faculty created a uniquely pluralist environment. Among its faculty were such pioneers of the Russian avant-garde as Al­ exander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova, Alexan­ der Vesnin and Lyubov Popova, Boris Korolev and An­ ton Lavinsky, Nikolay Ladovsky and Vladimir Krinsky, El Lissitzky and Vladimir Tatlin, Gustav Klutzis and Moisei Ginzburg. Their pedagogical contributions made the school a major experimental design labora­ tory and a think-tank of the modern movement. How­ ever, the school’s significance lies not only in pioneer­ ing modernist design pedagogy, but also in generat­ ing a new spatial and visual language, instrumental for the emergence of modern architecture and design in Soviet Russia and beyond. In 1926, VKhUTEMAS was renamed to VKhUTEIN, replacing the word “studios” with “institute” and marking a turn towards top-down institutionalization in both education and professional practice. Through­ out its existence the institute’s fate was closely linked

Graphics Course: Construction, 1921

The school’s significance lies not only in pioneering modernist design pedagogy, but also in generating a new spatial and visual language, instrumental for the emergence of modern architecture and design in Soviet Russia and beyond.

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BACKGROUND CHECK

to the political and ideological fluctuations of the So­ viet state. Started as a progressive institution open to a wide range of students, the school fell victim to the political and ideological changes of the Stalinist regime and was eventually closed in 1930. Moscow Architectural Institute (MARKhI), founded in 1933, eventually merged the VKhUTEIN architecture de­ partment with the technical curriculum of Civil Engi­ neering institutes. To this day, MARKhI remains Rus­ sia’s preeminent architectural school. While it shares some strands of the VKhUTEMAS genetic code, its de­ sign pedagogy has mostly reverted to the Beaux-Arts academic tradition. New approaches for a new society VKhUTEMAS was not simply an educational institu­ tion, but an agent of social change, a crucible of mod­ ern culture. In order to understand its role at the time, it is helpful to examine it relative to its contemporary and rival school – the interdisciplinary art school Sta­ atliches Bauhaus. The history of the Bauhaus was closely linked with that of VKhUTEMAS: the two schools shared foun­ dational values, disseminated by leftist organiza­ tions and by the key avant-garde protagonists — Vasi­ ly Kandinsky and El Lissitzky especially, who con­ ducted student visits and exhibitions, and exchanged ideas through publications and correspondence. Like

the Bauhaus, VKhUTEMAS was a synthetic interdisci­ plinary school that consisted of both art and industri­ al departments. It had a well-developed preliminary course, consisting of four disciplines: Space, Volume, Color and Graphics. Both features – the interdiscipli­ narity and the core curriculum made VKhUTEMAS similar to the Bauhaus. Unlike Bauhaus, however, which did not have an architecture department until 1927, VKhUTEMAS trained architects from the very beginning. In fact the architecture curriculum, both preliminary and advanced, was one of the strongest and most innovative at the Moscow school. The schools also differed greatly in size. The num­ ber of students and faculty at VKhUTEMAS compared to Bauhaus differed roughly tenfold. For example, in the 1924-1925 academic year VKhUTEMAS count­ ed 1445 students while Bauhaus enrolled 127. While both schools aimed for a new unity of art and tech­ nology, VKhUTEMAS aspired to create the proletarian version of that unity, eventually resulting in an ideo­ logical gap between them. VKhUTEMAS aimed to bring education to the masses and masses to the growing industrial pro­ duction. This could only be achieved through radi­ cal education experimentation: the existing pedago­ gy no longer worked, as the influx of thousands of students from the countryside could not be trained using bespoke apprenticeship or elitist academic

Exhibition of student work, VKhUTEMAS, 1924

VKhUTEMAS aimed to bring education to the masses and masses to the growing industrial production. This could only be achieved through radical education experimentation.

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Space Course: Organization of space witin a cube

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BACKGROUND CHECK

The VKhUTEMAS core curriculum was developed by the leaders of Soviet avant-garde — progressive artists and architects who saw design education not only as a process of knowledge transfer, but as a vehicle for innovation and a laboratory for the development of modernist language.

Nikolai Ladovsky

Gustav Klutsis

Alexander Vesnin

Vladimir Tatlin 104 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

Alexander Rodchenko


Boris Korolev

Vladimir Krinsky

Varvara Stepanova

Lyubov Popova

Anton Lavinsky June 4-8 2014 路 Fair Enough 路 105


BACKGROUND CHECK

methods. The situation raised fundamental questions about design education that continue to resonate to­ day: Is there an alternative to the academic method? How can one teach something that has not yet been done, something that has no precedent? How do you teach that to hundreds of students with diverse back­ grounds, some with no previous training and to oth­ ers steeped in the Beaux-Arts tradition? Is it even possible? In response, the teachers and students of VKhUTE­ MAS developed an approach without precedent, in which the process of teaching and learning served as a vehicle for venturing into the unknown. Stu­ dio teaching became a laboratory method, a way of testing different iterations over and over again. The mass-training methodology that they invented relied on a set of prescribed operations, a very basic algo­ rithm of step-by-step written instructions, given out to students in the form of assignments, as well as a core curriculum of introductory courses required to all new students. The Core Curriculum: Graphics, Color, Volume, Space The exchange between art and industrial departments at VKhUTEMAS was facilitated by a preliminary curric­ ulum that consisted of four primary courses — Graph­ ics, Color, Volume, and Space. While the Core Depart­ ment was formally established by 1923, the courses

continued to evolve throughout the decade, from the establishment of the school until its closing. The core curriculum cemented the foundation of VKhUTEMAS’s interdisciplinary approach and became the unifying el­ ement of the school. The four preliminary courses — Graphics, Col­ or, Volume and Space — emerged from the core sec­ tions of three VKhUTEMAS departments  — Paint­ ing, Sculpture and Architecture. All four courses were mandatory for the entire student body, irrespec­ tive of their subsequent specialization. The courses were lead by those faculty members who had joined a Group of Objective Analysis at the Institute of Ar­ tistic Culture (INKhUK), an organization established concurrently with VKhUTEMAS in 1920, and led by Vasily Kandinsky. The principal goal of INKhUK was to systematize the emerging modern movement into a scientifically based program, known as the “objec­ tive method,” that could be used for educational and research purposes. In other words, the core curriculum was developed by the leaders of Soviet avant-garde  — progressive artists and architects who saw design education not only as a process of knowledge transfer, but as a ve­ hicle for innovation and a laboratory for the develop­ ment of modernist language. The INKhUK –VKhUTE­ MAS conglomerate formed special research “labora­ tories” within the school’s departments for exploring the objective method and developing the “elements”

Nikolai Ladovsky with VKhUTEMAS students and members of the Society of Builders of the International Red Stadium, 1925.

The ultimate goal of the VKhUTEMAS objective method is to integrate artistic culture with material production – to bring “art into life.”

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of their respective disciplines – Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The so-called “objective method” was conceived as an alternative to the subjective approach of a be­ spoke apprenticeship model and to the elitist academ­ ic Beaux-Arts training that no longer met the goals of the new era. It was also a response to the problem of scale: in 1924, the Core Department counted over 450 students. The objective method aimed to pro­ vide for all, creating a unified pedagogical approach across different fields from painting to architecture. It was based on primary elements (elementi) and their properties (kachestva), creating a solid formal foun­ dation and allowing for synthetic thinking across dis­ ciplines. The method relied on the newest scientific discoveries, for example in industrial and perceptu­ al psychology, on technological achievements, such as the use of metal and glass, and on the most pro­ gressive artistic experiments, from Cubism to Su­ prematism and Constructivism. But the ultimate goal of the objective method was to integrate artistic cul­ ture with mass industrial production – to bring “art into life.” Graphics In 1920 the Constructivist artist Alexander Rodchen­ ko began teaching a course “Graphic Construction on a Plane,” also known as “Initiative,” and later “Graphics,” where he experimented with articulating the distinct perceptual qualities of elemental forms. Rodchenko’s exercises were designed around a set of composition­ al constraints and simple sequential operations, using basic geometric figures. This clear algorithm made the course universally accessible across the diverse, multi­ disciplinary student body at VKhUTEMAS. Rodchenko defined several limitations for his stu­ dents in this recombination game — from the pro­ portion of a working field to the elements themselves and the relationships between them. The elements were primary geometric forms — circles, triangles, squares, and parallelograms that were related in size, or isometric. The composition had to be constructed along certain trajectories — vertical, horizontal, diag­ onal, cross, and freeform. Each exercise consisted of a simple set of instructions, usually accompanied by a diagram, outlining a clear algorithm of operations to be followed by students, as well as posing a problem to be solved creatively. Starting in 1923 Rodchenko headed the Met­ al and Wood Department (DerMetFak), where he, along with El Lissitkzky, Vladimir Tatlin, and Varvara Stepanova, would further develop the principles of

Student assignments for the VKhUTEMAS Graphics course

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BACKGROUND CHECK

Color Course: Color and architectural volume

Composition and Construction in the design of furni­ ture and various objects for the new mode of every­ day life (noviy byt). Rodchenko’s wife Varvara Ste­ panova implemented her husband’s principles (or maybe it was the other way around!) of graphic ex­ ercises in her textile designs. She taught a course on Composition in the Textile Department but most of her work centered on close collaboration with the major textile factories in Moscow, more directly bringing “art into life.” Color Compared to the other three core disciplines, the emergence of the preliminary course “Color” was the most contentious. The process of teasing out the “one element” of painting was approached from different angles by the faculty of the Painting, VKhUTEMAS’s largest department. Initially, starting in 1920, the problem of color, as the key element of painting, was developed in several studios simultaneously — “The Articulation of Form with Color” by A. Osmerkin, “Col­ or on a Plane” by I. Klyun, “Color in Space” by A. Exter, “Simultaneity of Form and Color” by A. Drevin, and fi­ nally “The Maximal Influence of Color” by L. Popova and A. Vesnin. The underlying structure of the Color course was based on both scientific knowledge and artistic ex­ periment. Starting with breaking down the rays of a rainbow, color theory has been a subject of scientific 108 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

quest for centuries — from Aristotle to Albers. At VKhUTEMAS, faculty member Gustav Klutsis de­ vised his own method for exploring the primary and secondary color ranges, based on a circular pattern. These methodological aids provided timeless artis­ tic insights, as well as practical tools for exploring the possibilities of color. Klutsis has hardly alone in his experimentation: from its foundation, VKhUTEMAS hosted experiments on the full range of chromatic possibility: from complimentary to contrasting color schemes, to Vasily Kandinsky’s famous synesthetic ex­ plorations of the entire pallet. Popova and Vesnin distinguished between the im­ pression of the object and the essence of its color. They encouraged their students to analyze the real elements of the objective world, to extract their es­ sence, to understand the nature of form relative to color. The resulting compositions aimed to arrive at certain “objective laws” of color as a primary element, and even as a form of energy, that does not simply cover up an object but constructs it. The Color course included four units: 1) color vol­ ume on a plane, 2) color space on a plane, 3) com­ parison of colored materials on a plain, and 4) com­ parison of colored materials in space. The first unit studied various surfaces — faceted, cylindrical, spherical, conical — and organized them according to basic compositional methods, similar to Rodchenko’s Graphics, along a vertical, horizontal, diagonal, cross,


or circle. The second unit studied surface texture or faktura. Students were asked to reveal such proper­ ties of color as tension, weight, and movement. Faktura was explored through creating different textures and patterns using the same color. The third unit studied the interaction of several different materi­ als and textures on a surface, using the composition­ al methods mentioned earlier. The fourth unit juxta­ posed materials in space, with the complexity varying according to the number of materials, which could range from three to seven. Volume The Volume course was formed within the Sculpture department by three artists, all of whom were mem­ bers of INKhUK – A. Lavinsky, B. Korolev and A. Bab­ ichev. The course was initially formed under the in­ fluence of Cubism, as both Lavinsky and Korolev were strong advocates. The first Volume exercises involved cubist analysis of both still life and live models where basic geometric forms and the female body were inter­ preted using cubist compositional method. As Volume evolved as an interdisciplinary prelim­ inary course, its assignments became more abstract. Students were asked to produce volumetric composi­ tions and to develop the following properties: to ar­ ticulate volume in space, to articulate a relationship between the weights of volumes, to articulate the

dynamics of a volume, and to show the intersection of objects, using a kit of forms – cube, sphere, cylin­ der, cone, and pyramid. Another exercise challenged students to compose various elements and materi­ als, such as plane/paper, wood block, and metal wire. Another set of exercises dealt with the transition from simple to complex geometries — from the basic geo­ metric figures to elaborate decorative ornaments. Space The Space course was the first to teach modern archi­ tecture to a large mass of students. Like the other three core courses, its development can be divided into two distinct phases: the first phase occurred within the Ar­ chitecture Department as part of OBMAS (United Stu­ dios) and the second phase within the Core Depart­ ment. The course would ultimately become highly influential not only for its innovative pedagogy but also as an experimental laboratory for developing new architectural languages. Developed by N. Ladovsky, V. Krinsky and N. Do­ kuchaev in 1920 as a foundational architecture course, Space evolved into a preliminary discipline designed for students from all the VKhUTEMAS de­ partments. For greater applicability, a series of new abstract exercises were added, particularly exercis­ es on surface, designed to accommodate the stu­ dents of Painting and Textile departments. Ladovsky

Volume Course: The arrangement of geometric forms

Clay’s shapelessness and materiality taps into what psychologists call “embodied cognition,” allowing one to depart from the familiar and make a cognitive jump, ultimately arriving at new forms.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 109


BACKGROUND CHECK

Space Course: The articulation of mass and weight, 1922

recommended seven of his students from OBMAS as instructors: Balikhin, Glagolev, Korzhev, Lamtzov, Petrov, Spassky, and Turkus. In 1923 they began to implement the psychoanalytical method within the entire VKhUTEMAS. First introduced by Ladovsky and his colleagues at INKhUK, the method was based on its founders’ belief that a study of perception could generate a new syntax of plastic form. For Ladovsky, the objective, psychoanalytic method was perceptual­ ly and experientially determined: it was based on, in his words, the “economy of psychic energy” and “the fundamental human need to orient in space.” Ladovsky articulated his position in a short essay, titled “Fundamentals of Architectural Theory” (ASNOVA News, 1926). For him, Architectural Rational­ ism, as he called his doctrine, was analogous to the technical rationalism, but operated in terms of per­ ception, rather than labor and material. Rationalists aimed to create a self-referential system, a new gram­ mar of architecture based on abstract elements. 110 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

In his essay, Ladovsky listed the formal qualities that would serve as the proto-elements for the new architectural order. “In the perception of the material form as such, we can recognize the expression of its qualities: 1) Geometric – relationship of surfaces, corners, etc.; 2) Physical – weight, mass, etc.; 3) Mechanical – stability, mobility; 4) Logical – articulation of surface as such and of surface bounding volume. Depending on the articulation of size and quantity we can talk about: a) Strength and Weakness; b) Growth and Invariability; c) Finiteness and Infinity.” These qualities formed the pedagogical basis for the Space course, and eventually developed into assignments on the articulation of Form, Space,


Volume, Rhythm, Structure, Balance and Mass, and Weight. One of the most innovative pedagogical methods at VKhUTEMAS was having students design directly in model. While model making as such was not new, traditionally it was based on something that already existed and was then modeled. The method used in the preliminary Space course was fundamentally dif­ ferent. When starting a model, students did not know its final outcome; the result was formed as a part of the process of making. They were given assignments (written instructions) and were asked to translate these into form. The models were by definition ab­ stract, thus already suggestive of modernist forms. They did not have a scale or function — not unlike the early laboratory art constructions by Tatlin or Rodchenko. From there, the students developed the models into “applied” exercises — with program and to scale, slowly working up to what would become modern architecture in just a few years. Humans are conditioned to learn faster through social interaction. The notion of “performative soci­ ality” used by archeologists for describing the evolu­ tionary advances in material culture, perhaps applies to VKhUTEMAS as well. Working collectively in a lab­ oratory-like setting, the large body of VKhUTEMAS students produced a rich repository of proto-modern­ ist forms. In 1921 Ladovsky proclaimed: “Space, not stone, is the material of architecture.” Today, we can only

speculate what he meant. Analyzing the use of clay in Space exercises can offer one such interpretation. Clay, a malleable material used throughout histo­ ry for anything from ceramic pots to brick walls, au­ tomatically prompted a connection between mind, body and matter. Clay’s shapelessness and material­ ity tapped into what psychologists call, “embodied cognition,” allowing a whole range of students, from those who recently learned to read to those who were already schooled in the Beaux-Arts, to distance from the familiar and make a cognitive jump — ultimately arriving at new forms.

Space Course: The articulation of volume and space, 1922

When starting a model, students did not know its final outcome; the result was formed as part of the process of making. The models were by definition abstract, thus already suggestive of modernist forms. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 111


Case Study The full value of a product, service, or company is impos­ sible to convey in a simple sales pitch or PowerPoint deck. Particularly when the subject has decades of experience and an expansive portfolio, it is often better to skip the overview and focus instead on a representative work that embodies the values and capabilities that define the firm. In Case Studies, we take an in-depth look at our exhib­ itors’ most significant projects to help potential clients better understand the full scope of what they offer.

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VISIT MOSCOW METRO WORLDWIDE AT BOOTH C2

Motivation in Motion Moscow Metro Worldwide

Metro Moscow Worldwide is an imaginary design studio dedicated to the creation of inspirational underground stations and artworks. Based on the socialist artistry of the Moscow metro system, MMW offers cities around the world decorative solutions that stimulate civic pride by celebrating cultural, social, and corporate values, sports, industrial and military achievements, science, and the fine arts. The office was founded in 1931 by the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party and has since completed 194 projects that are visited over 2 billion times each year. It has expertise in all aspects of metro planning, design, and media. The firm offers comprehensive motivational messaging solutions, from a metro system's concept phase to its renovation and expansion. In this case study, we examine three of MMW's signature projects, the Mayakovskaya, Novoslobodskaya, and Kievskaya metro stations in Moscow. June 4-8 2014 路 Fair Enough 路 113


CASE STUDY

“Go down into the metro, citizen, lift up your head and you will see a brightly lit, mosaic sky.” — Alexander Deineka

T

he most beautiful station in the Moscow metro was also the most unu­sual at the construction stage. The first design was by Sergei Mikhai­ lovich Kravets, then chief architect of Metroproekt. The ground under Maya­ kovsky Square seemed firm enough at first to use a new metal frame construction that made it possible, in spite of the depth, to have elegant metal supports instead of the usual massive pylons. The interior literal­ ly opened up into a large hall of columns and not just a combination of squat aisles. This bold idea called for the inven­ tion of a new method of tunnel building. The sections of the main vault were erect­ ed with the help of a huge semi-circular

shield resting on the tubing of the side tunnels, which had been excavated by then. When the main hall was complet­ ed, however, the vault showed numerous cracks, and it be­came obvious that the planners had overestimated the firmness of the ground. An emergency commission was convened to review the situation: the station must be saved, but they did not want to abandon the column system. They consulted architect Alexei Nikolayevich Dushkin, who had designed another im­ portant station, Kropotkinskaya. Dushkin agreed with the engineers’ proposal to re­ duce the height of the main vault by sever­ al meters and suggested using a construc­ tion made of special types of steel, which

Platform Hall, 20 September 1955

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Opening date: 11 September 1938 Station architect: A. N. Dushkin Vestibule architects: A. N. Dushkin, Ya. G. Likhtenberg, Yu. P. Afanasev; G. S. Mun Artists: A. A. Deineka, I. L. Lubennikov Sculptor: A. P. Kibalnikov Station construction: deep-level, three-vaulted, column-type built to a special design

would enable them to retain the full width of the hall. To convince the commission that metal could be used for such loads, Dushkin invited the well-known aircraft designer A. Putilin, who suggested casting the supports and decorative steel profiles at the airship plant in the settlement of Di­ rizhablestroy (now called Dolgoprudny). Thus the station acquired its present appearance: two rows of columns serve as supports for the three arched vaults, and each section formed by the arches opens into a small oval-shaped dome. It was de­ cided that each dome (of which there were 35) would contain a mosaic. The drawings were en­trusted to the artist Al­ exander Deineka, and the mosaics them­ selves to V. Frolov. The theme of this fa­ mous Mayakovskaya mosaic cycle is 24 Hours in the Land of the Soviets: mor­ning, afternoon, night and morning again. The idea was that passengers arriving and de­ parting would be greeted by morning sub­ jects. All the panels illustrate the life of cit­ izens in the young Soviet country. For a long time the last two domes were inside the service section, mean­ ing that passengers could not see them, but when the second exit to the town was built in 2004–2005, one of these domes became open to the public and the other (the Pilotage Group) was dismantled. The mosaic panels are at the same height as the original vault. The whole station was originally intended to be much higher. Circles of light bulbs illuminate the mosaics, but the main hall is lit by reflect­ ed light, which is softer. Dushkin became well known for these effects.

Photo by H. Sitnikov

Mayakovskaya Station


All text and images courtesy of Agey Tomesh/WAM Publishing Group

Alexander Deineka. Mosaic. Signalman. Smalt

In his treatment of the station Dushkin rejected the classical system of co­lu­mns supporting a vault. He thought it would be out of place in this underground context, where each meter had been won by the builders’ superhuman efforts to overcome incredible difficulties. Discarding the for­ mal features of the order system, he fol­ lowed the logic of Gothic architecture in­ stead, where the supporting and support­ ed parts are not separate, but flow into

each other, so to say: the supports and vaults are outlined by multi-profile steel molding and the columns, up to a man’s height, are decorated with semi-precious rhodonite from the Urals, much of which has been lost and replaced by marble or plaster of the same color. The steel strips are very popular with children. Flick a coin hard along the groove of an arch and it will whiz over to the other side. Five-ko­ peck coins were used in the old days, but

now a five-ruble piece is best. Mayakovskaya became a masterpiece of Art Deco and was greatly admired at the time. Its design won a grand prix at the New York World Trade Fair in 1938, and it is still considered one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world. Of course, there was bound to be crit­ icism. Dushkin was accused of ignor­ ing the intention to make the station an underground tribute to Mayakovsky. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 115


CASE STUDY

A. Deineka. Mosaic. Girl with an Oar. Smalt.

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This oversight was put right later by plac­ ing a bust of the poet by sculptor A.Kibal­ nikov at the far end of the main hall. During the Great Patriotic War Maya­ kovsky became a symbol of the Soviet peo­ ple’s resistance. On 6 No­vem­ber 1941 an official meeting was held there to cele­ brate the 24th anniversary of the October revolution, and the words “Our cause is just” rang out once more. The station was also used as an air-raid shelter. The original underground vestibule (architects Ya. Likhtenberg, Yu. Afa­nasev) is inside the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall building. In 1993 the question of reconstruction arose, as the H-30 series escalators, the oldest in the world, could no longer cope with the increasing stream of passengers. To avoid closing down the station com­ pletely, it was decided to build another exit at the opposite end of the main hall. This was opened on 2 September 2005, to­ gether with a new ground-level vestibule decorated with mosaics by I. Lubennikov. The author of the project Galina Mun took care to ensure that it blended in with Du­ shkin’s masterpiece. In the ceiling mosaics Deineka motifs alternate with quotations from Mayakovsky’s poetry; his bust now stands at the top of the escalator. The new vestibule is a temporary con­ struction. It will eventually form part of a new building planned for the site.


A. Deineka. Mosaic. High Jump. Smalt. Following pages: Parachute jump; Volleyball. Smalt

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CASE STUDY

The glass for these famous panels was kept in Riga Cathedral and intended for Latvian churches

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he station gets its name from No­ voslobodskaya Street, which arose in the 16th century along the road to the town of Dmitrov, on the territory of Dmitrov’s Novaya sloboda (New Settle­ ment). It was the last underground proj­ ect to be designed by the Moscow Met­ ro’s most brilliant architect, Alexander Dushkin. Originally, the architects used the same scheme that Zelenin suggested for the construction of Dobryninskaya station, namely, alternating large and small arch­ ways, some of which framed openings to the platforms, while others formed nich­ es in the pylons. But this seemed too la­ conic and insufficiently impressive to their contemporaries, so the architects decid­ ed to cover the pylon niches with stainedglass windows and put bulbs behind them to imitate daylight. Thus they succeed­ ed in totally “dematerializing” the pylons. From a heavy supporting construction the pylons turned into frames for beautifully light, stained-glass windows.

The pylons are faced with marble: Prokhoro-Balandinsky on the upper sec­ tion and black-and-white mottled marble lower down. The track walls have Koyelga marble (with Korkodino at the base). The station floor is paved with a chequered pattern of grey granite and black gabbro tiles. The thirty-two stained-glass windows are framed with an ornamental band of chased brass-gilt. Similar brass strips dec­ orate the archways to the platforms. The windows were designed by Pavel Dmi­ trievich Korin, author of the sketches for the mosaics at Komsomolskaya-Ring. The upper section of each window contains a medallion, six of which depict members of the so-called “intellectual professions”: an architect, geographer, agronomist, power engineer, artist and musician. The others have geometrical designs and five-point­ ed stars. There was no stained-glass window tra­ dition in Russia, so the Novoslobodska­ ya windows were made by Latvian artists.

Central Hall, 16 September 1955

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Opening date: 30 January 1952 Station and vestibule architects: A. N. Dushkin, A. F. Strelkov Artist: P. D. Korin assisted by E. Ya. Veilandan, D. Ya. Bodniek, Kh. M. Rysin and E. Krests Station construction: deep-level, three-vaulted, pylon-type

What is more, they used glass stored in Riga Cathedral and originally intended for church windows (the churches were closed when Soviet power was set up in Latvia). The idea of including these windows seemed rather controversial at first, be­ cause they were associated with what were then called “cult buildings”, i.e., churches. But when the station opened it transpired that Muscovites, unfamiliar with Western religious architecture, re­ garded the windows as pictures of some magic underground realm. The mosaic panel Peace in the Whole World at the far end of the central hall showing a woman with a child in her arms is also by Pavel Korin. People detected a resemblance in the woman to Tamara Du­ shkina, the architect’s wife and author of memoirs about his life. There was origi­ nally a portrait of Stalin above the wom­ an’s head. After the denunciation of the cult of personality, the artist had to re­ work the mosaic in 1961–1966, and a pair of white doves appeared in place of the former Soviet leader. In her memoirs Ta­ mara Dushkina describes how the mosa­ ic was made: the first piece of smalt was applied by Korin himself, the second by Dushkin, and then each of them placed a coin in the priming for “good luck”. The light fittings, stained-glass win­ dows and mosaic panels were restored in 2003. As a result the lighting became brighter, changing the original idea con­ siderably, for the authors had tried to cre­ ate a kind of grotto with soft, subdued lighting.

Photo by N. Sitnikov

Novoslobodskaya Station


P. Korin (sketches) E. Veiland, D. Bodniek, Kh. Rysin, E. Krests, Stained-glass windows

Detail - glass, chasing, cast aluminium, anodized bronze gilt

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Kievskaya

Opening date: 5 April 1953 Station architects: L. V. Lilye, V. A. Litvinov, M. F. Markovsky, V. M. Dobrakovsky Artists: V. A. Konovalov, V. N. Arakelov, P. M. Mikhailov, L. A. Karnaukhov, A. K. Shiryaeva, I. V. Radoman, K. P. Aksyonov Sculptor: G. I. Opryshko Station construction: deep-level, three-vaulted, pylon-type

Khrushchev didn’t like Kievskaya metro station. He thought it did not “express the Ukraine”.

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he station’s ground-level vesti­bule is located in Kiev Railway Sta­ tion, after which the station was named. Its decor is intended to illustrate the friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. The competition for the best design attracted no less than forty-two entries. The one with the simplest yet most ele­ gant architecture won the day: cool py­ lons of white Koyelga marble and a ceram­ ic frieze of chunky Ukrainian ornament. Kievskaya’s main decorations are the 24 large molded medallions with frescoes on a gold imitation-mosaic ground, which adorn the vaulting over the pylons in the central hall and show idyllic scenes of the Ukrainian people’s labor and leisure pur­ suits. The medallions are executed in the manner of a popular woodcut, which per­ mits artistic exaggeration: for example,

in the Vegetable Picking scene there is the most enormous beetroot and pumpkin. Some female collective farm workers are shown wearing stylized folk costume. On the platform side the pylons bear the same medallions with Ukrainian wild flowers: poppies, cornflowers, lungwort, rue, forget-me-nots, comfrey, and primu­ lae. The end wall of the central hall has a fresco celebrating the tercentenary of the union between the Ukraine and Russia. In the 1950s all designs for new met­ ro stations were presented for approval to the Moscow Party Committee. Khrushchev (who was then first secretary of the Com­ munist Party, but had a particular interest in the Ukraine) did not like the design, which he thought did not “express the Ukraine”, but it was approved nevertheless. The station is lit by chandeliers with incandescent bulbs specially made for

Central Hall, 20 May 1955. Photo by V. Koshevoy

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it (and subsequently used in many oth­ er Moscow metro stations). The floor is paved with grey Yantsevo granite and Sa­ lieti marble. The station hall is linked by corridors with the escalator hall leading to the Fili line and the exit. The escalator hall has Ionic columns of white marble and a mo­ saic frieze entitled Offerings to the emblem of Soviet Ukraine. The emblem it­ self is over the exit and on either side of it are blacksmiths, reapers, mechanical en­ gineers, miners, horticulturalists, cattle breeders and engineers (there was origi­ nally a portrait of Stalin here). Another es­ calator goes down to Kievskaya-Ring. The staircase passageways at the west end of the central hall are not used. They were built for a possible second exit from Kievskaya into Bolshaya Dorogomilovska­ ya street. According to one project the Ka­ linin line was to be continued up to Ar­ batskaya on the Arbatsko-Pokrovska­ ya line, and from Ploshchad Revolyutsii the service would run along the old, shal­ low-level stretch of track then the Fili line. Today these passageways are used for technical purposes, such as night parking of trains, and also for traffic organization in the rush hour. The stations Kievskaya and Kievska­ ya-Ring share a vestibule (built in 1940– 1945 by Dmitri Chechulin) located in the new ticket office of Kiev Railway Station.


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Vozdvizhenka 小enter, 2014 126 Fair Enough June 4-8 2014

Photo by Yuri Palmin

CASE STUDY


VISIT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS AT BOOTH B2

The Same, but Better Financial Solutions

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CASE STUDY

Our built heritage represents the very best of our past. It also provides a huge resource that can play an important role in the future of our cities by stimulating regeneration while protecting architectural identity. Recent experience has demonstrated that integrating historic buildings within urban regeneration schemes can create popular, successful urban quarters where people enjoy working, living and visiting. Such regeneration represents an opportunity for the past and present to work together to provide for the needs of the 21st century while maintaining the architectural character of an earlier age. Our collective history can ably support the future of our cities and contribute towards the aims of other bodies to drive economic growth and prosperity. Financial Solutions an imaginary real estate consultancy focused on this sector. It specializes in strategically demolishing landmark buildings in order to rebuild them with modern materials and additional facilities. In this case study, we look at one of Financial Solutions’ most discussed projects, the Vozdvizhenka Center in Moscow, to better understand the principles behind their practice. 128 ¡ Fair Enough ¡ June 4-8 2014


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he Vozdvizhenka Сenter, former­ ly known as Voyentorg, is a Grade A premium office center located in the exclusive Kremlin Zone. It offers a total gross area of 66,700 square meters, distributed in eight above-ground floors (40,600 m2) and five below-ground floors (31,100 m2), as well as four levels of underground parking capable of accommodating 540 vehicles. The Center’s first and second basement levels house an ar­ cade of exclusive boutiques and there is a va­ riety of restaurants and cafes available within walking distance. The building is striking — based on an award-winning design from the early 1900s, Vozdvizhenka Сenter offers twenty-first century facilities in an Art Nou­ veau atmosphere. Chapter 1: Birth The Center’s lineage can be traced to Voyent­ org, a military department store described by the Moscow Times as “one of the capital’s bestknown buildings.” Designed by the architect Sergei Zalessky just before the start of World War I, near the end of the Art Deco era, Voy­ entorg was considered one of Moscow’s most beautiful buildings at the time of its comple­ tion in 1913. In fact, even before construction began, Zalessky’s design had been recognized as extraordinary, receiving the 1910 Moscow City Duma architectural prize. Voyentorg was the chief shop for the Rus­ sian military and, for those in the know, one of the best places to buy deficit goods during the years of shortages. Although dedicat­ ed primarily to retail, the building was mul­ tifunctional: the first three floors housed shops and the fourth was office space. The fifth floor provided facilities for tailors, seamstresses, and cobblers, while the build­ ing’s basement and attic functioned as ware­ houses. Voyentorg even offered a small amount of residential space: for about fifteen years, the Hungarian revolutionary commu­ nist Bela Kun resided in Apartment 4. Voyentorg’s internal layout borrowed from Josef Olbrich’s Warenhaus Tietz depart­ ment store in Dusseldorf, as did its generous use of space and emphasis on elegant finish­ es. The building’s signature features were its atrium and central staircase, both of which were illuminated by an elaborate skylight.

The walls of the atrium were lined with Ital­ ian marble and its columns were decorat­ ed with paintings. On the third floor was a floor-to-ceiling wall buffet of polished Amer­ ican walnut complimented with restored an­ tique furniture in the manner of Louis XV. The ceiling was decorated with moldings and frescos, while the facade was adorned with sculptures and bas-reliefs of folk heroes in­ spired by the Battle of Borodino. In the 1930s, the building was restored and redeveloped. In 1935, the atrium sky­ light was replaced with a vaulted ceiling and bridges were added to the second and third floors. The Voyentorg’s central staircase was dismantled to allow the building to expand into its courtyard. Its new staircase took on additional architectural significance when, in 1959, the great Constructivist architect Ivan Il’ich Leonidov suffered a fatal heart at­ tack while climbing it. The building fell into a state of disrepair in the decades that fol­ lowed. In 1992, one employee was killed and another badly injured when they were crushed by a falling marble slab. Voyentorg closed down two years later. From its initial construction until it closed, the building re­ mained exclusively in the hands of the mili­ tary – first Tsarist, then Soviet – while keep­ ing the same name throughout: Voenny Uni­ vermag or ‘Military Department Store.’ Chapter 2: Death After the department store went out of busi­ ness, the building experienced an extend­ ed period of decay. The city took over the building and in 1997 included it in a protect­ ed downtown zone. But no restoration took place. Torgovy Dom “TsVUM,” a closed jointstock company set up to privatize the proper­ ty concluded that the building’s poor condi­ tion prevented trading or commercial activity from taking place within. In Autumn 2003, the Voyentorg building was demolished, trig­ gering a firestorm of protest from architectur­ al historians in Russian and abroad. “It’s a crime,” Alexei Klimenko, head of the Professional Union of Artists Historical Preservation Society, told the Moscow Times at the time. “It is the pure apotheosis of Mos­ cow power being unpunishable. They con­ sciously think that they can break the law.”

Then and now: the original Voyentorg military department store and its expanded reproduction, the Vozdvizhenka Center

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CASE STUDY

Idea in Brief The Problem Historic buildings have become an essential part of urban regeneration strategies around the world. But historical buidlings often lack and scale and facilities to serve a large, modern city. The Solution Historic buildings that are popular but not yet protected can be demolished and replaced with replicas that offer additional space, new functions, and upgraded facilities. Case in Point The Vozdvizhenka Center in Moscow is new building based on an historic landmark. Developers demolished the building and replaced it with a similar design that offers 500 percent more space than the original.

“It’s like the death of a close relative,” ar­ chitect Yevgeny Ass, deputy of the Russian Architects Union, told NTV television. The activist preservation group Moscow Architectural Preservation Society, or MAPS, staged a flash mob protest at the demolition site, laying flowers and candles, in memo­ ry of the more than 400 historical buildings that had been razed in Moscow’s city center during the city’s building boom. Representatives of the government and the building’s owners rejected the preser­ vationists’ criticisms as nostalgic and im­ practical. “It’s outdated architecture,” said Alexei Vvedensky, spokesman for the cityrun Complex of Architecture, Development and Reconstruction. “It isn’t a rational use [of space].” Moscow’s head of construction B. I. Resin suggested that the preservationist’ demands were arbitrary and that, by standing in the way of new construction, they have a nega­ tive, potentially lethal, influence on a city’s development. “What about Voyentorg?” he asked a reporter from Ogoniok magazine, “Who decided that it is an interesting build­ ing? There should be clear classifiers of ob­ jects that are truly monuments. Such as the UNESCO list. Why should the city die like Venice? Why should we not build beautiful new houses?” Chapter 3: Rebirth For those responsible, the razing of Voyent­ org was not a demolition, but a very intensive renovation. The building that eventually re­ placed the military department store was de­ signed to replicate many of its distinguishing features, while expanding and updating its fa­ cilities. This approach was written into the re­ construction from the start. The city govern­ ment’s decree concerning the redevelopment of Voyentorg, makes it explicit: Given the great importance for the 130 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

cityscape in the historic center of Moscow of preserving [Voyentorg], the proposal by the Department of City-Planning, Develop­ ment and Reconstruction of the City of Mos­ cow and by the Central Military Department Store Emporium Joint Stock Company con­ cerning the reconstruction of the building is to be accepted [...] viz. the demolition of all buildings on the site […] with the con­ servation of the most valuable architectural elements of the facade when designing and constructing a retail and office complex with an underground parking lot in their stead.” The property development company AST Group commissioned Mikhail Posokhin to design the new, expanded Voyentorg. His scheme replicated several of the original’s features, including its entrance, facade pan­ els and sculptures, clerestory central atri­ um space, the building envelope, and cen­ tral staircase. But the new building differed drastically in its material finishes and scale. With almost 70,000 square meters of floor space, Posokhin’s new Voyentorg is almost five times the size of the original, not includ­ ing its a five-story underground car park. In the spring of 2008, the real estate com­ pany Jones Lang LaSalle presented the new Voyentorg retail and office complex to the business community. The building opened later the same year. According to AST, over­ all investment in the project was around $140 million. At the time of the opening, the period for return on the developer’s invest­ ment was set for five years. In 2009, Moscow Times reported that AST had sold the build­ ing to Suleiman Kerimov’s Nafta Ko holding company. Details of the deal were not made public, but Mikhail Gets, managing partner of the real estate agency Novoye Kachestvo, estimated that the property was worth about $650 million, prior to the financial crisis, but was probably worth about $300 million to $350 million at the time of sale.

THE RUNDOWN

The Vozdvizhenka Сenter Location: Central Moscow Year constructed:: 2008 Building type: Mixed use Combined floor area: 66,700 m² Elevator count: 24 Parking: 540 space, underground Features: • 8 above-ground stories of total area 39,100 m² • 5 below-ground stories of total area 27,600 m² • Class A “premium” office space (on the 3rd-8th floors) of area 28,500 m² • An arcade of exclusive boutiques (1st and 2nd basement levels); 6,600 m² • Functional and flexible open floor plates; • Efficient column grid — 8.4 m x 8.4 m; • Unbeatable underground parking ratio of 1:66; • Stunning atria maximizing the use of natural light throughout the building; • Fiber optics connection; • Central HAVC: ventilation system with noise reduction capabilities; • High speed state-of-theart SCHINDLER elevators with traffic management systems; • Sprinkler system; • Fire detection/alarm systems and building autoimmunization systems by HONEYWELL; • Superior computerized Building Management System; • Café (1st floor), restaurant (2nd floor) and open terrace VIP lounge-restaurant (7th and 8th floor) for office tenants and guests; • Canteen for office tenants – over 300 seats; • Wonderful views of the Kremlin and New Arbat


Getting around preservationist protection: an insider’s view At the time of demolition, Voyentorg was classed as “a newly identified architectural monument”. Despite this, its developers were successful in razing a landmark and building an entirely new structure in its place. Financial Solutions specializes in providing its clients the strategy and legal expertise required to pull off a project like this. To provide additional insights into their process, we are reprinting part of an interview conducted in Project Russia magazine (issue 29) with Alexei Komech (1936–2007), a member of the Presidium of the Expert Consultative Board to the Mayor of Moscow, the body responsible for the conservation of the historic fabric of the city, who witnessed the process firsthand. The central military department store was built 1912-14 on the corner of Vozdvizhenka and Bolshoi Kislovsky Pereulok to the designs of Sergei Zalessky. The shop, which functioned up to 1994, subsequently became the property of the Moscow city government, after which it was closed and all but abandoned. The Central Administration for the Protection of Moscow’s Monument Buildings (GUOP) performed a survey and discovered that remains of 18th century vaulted chambers and a residential wing of 1828, acknowledged to be a valuable element in the historic streetscape of the site, had been incorporated into the complex. By a decree of the Moscow City Government dated June 17th 1997, Voyentorg became part of the Kremlin conservation area. Experts declared the building ‘a fine example of a public building in the Art Nouveau style,’ and it was placed on the list of buildings to be considered for historic status. GUOP appealed to the municipal authorities to restore the building carefully. Nothing, it seemed, could undermine the stately senescence of this noble masterpiece; but suddenly a fence was erected around the building and the demolition men got to work. PR: What is the legal side of the situation with Voyentorg? AK: It is GUOP’s job and obligation to conduct a survey of the building

in question in order to determine its importance and to make a case for it to be added to the state register of historic buildings. Experts review this register every now and then. Those to which they consider it necessary to award protected status are discussed at a sitting of the regional – in this case Moscow – commission of the historic building conservation body. This commission has the right to award them the status “newly identified object of cultural heritage” while the final decision is pending. Naturally, it is impossible to be “newly identified” forever. By law this status can only last for one year. At the end of the year the building has to be awarded proper protected status. But in actual fact this procedure lasts for decades. Let’s say the historic buildings conservation body of a subject of the federation submits a list of 200 buildings for consideration. And when the local government is in the process of passing the legislation, the bodies reviewing and authorising the list remove some of the buildings. This was why the hotel Moskva never reached the commission, and this was evidently done on purpose. And then the hotel, like Voyentorg, was removed from the list of protected buildings. This can’t be done with buildings which already have full listed status, as that can only be removed by decision of the Federal Government, but as for newly identified buildings, a decision by local government, unfortunately, suffices. PR: Is it in principle realistic to create a properly effective mechanism for protecting historic buildings, including newly declared ones? AK: The mechanism exists, it has been created. Laws have been passed that offer 100 percent protection. Only they are not used, and everybody steps aside from implementing them. I cannot blame investors for what is happening: the investor has the right to take up any commission – the bigger the better. I can only blame the authorities, because the protection of historic buildings is their responsibility. PR: [Former Moscow mayor] Yury Luzhkov says that he perceives the city entirely in terms of facades. So

why indeed not destroy a building, replace all its innards and then recreate the facades? AK: Only someone born and brought up in the Soviet Union perceives the city in terms of facades. When our historic cities fell into the hands of workers and peasants after the Revolution, they threw out all the rich people who lived in sumptuous interiors and then destroyed these interiors. The world over interiors form an entire stratum. We are a nation that has been deprived of this notion. Secondly, anything that has been produced in recent years bears all the signs of modern technologies, whether high or low, and they are completely different from the crafts practised by previous centuries. A sham replica is a lifeless copy and no more. But the attitude here in Russia is – there wasn’t any heritage, but there will be! There’s no need to take any care of the original, because we can always make a new one that’ll be more robust, like in the case of the building on the corner of Stoleshnikov Pereulok. Luzhkov asked whether it was an historic building. He was told that it was. ‘Well then,’ he said, ‘we need to raze it to the ground and build another one just like it.’ When someone from the historic buildings preservation department told him that it was forbidden, that it is illegal to destroy an historic building, he replied, “We’re not destroying it, we’re restoring it.” There you are. And this can be done at any time: there was no Cathedral of Christ the Savior – here you go, there is now! We’ll rebuild anything that’s been demolished. If Moscow is anything to go by, it looks as if we shall soon have the newest ancient heritage in the world.

Ilya Voznesensky Alexei Muratov

June 4-8 2014

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CASE STUDY

Russian Federal SSR’s Industry pavilion, 1950s.

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VISIT U-VDNKH AT BOOTH D4

75 Years of Success U-VDNKh

The All Russian Exhibition Center (formally known as VDNKh) is Russia’s most prestigious and successful exhibition venue. Located in the northeast of Moscow, it is one of the city’s most significant cultural, technological, and architectural sites. For its start in the late 1930s as a temporary agricultural exhibition, U-VDNKh has grown together with Russia, reflecting and projecting shifting cultural priorities. In the post-Soviet age, U-VDNKh was maintained a high profile by adjusting to changing times and tastes and continuing to provide its city and its citizens with a place of education and exchange. The layers of its rich history remain in tact, a unique resource for exhibitors to embrace or ignore. For our final case study, the science and technology scholar Sonja D. Schmid examines the development of VDNKh’s exhibition on atomic energy as an exemplar of the center’s past and present. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 133


CASE STUDY

Celebrating Tomorrow Today: The Peaceful Atom on Display in the Soviet Union1 by Sonja D. Schmid

O

ne of the best-known Soviet sculp­ tures, the ‘Worker and Collec­ tive Farm Woman’, was first pre­ sented to an international audience at the World Fair in Paris in 1937, where it faced the swastika on top of the German pavil­ ion. The monumental steel structure, cre­ ated by the celebrated Soviet artist Vera Mukhina, until recently guarded the orig­ inal entrance to the ‘Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy of the USSR’ (VDNKh SSSR). In the sum­ mer of 2003, the monument was disman­ tled for restoration, and is scheduled to be mounted on top of a shopping mall cur­ rently under construction at that same lo­ cation, which would elevate the sculpture to a height close to its original level.2 The ‘Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy of the USSR’ is a remarkable ensemble of pavilions, demonstration facilities, parks, and foun­ tains in north-east Moscow, and extends over more than 2 km2 (200 hectares). It has been characterized as ‘a crazed So­ viet visionary’s wonderland’ or as ‘Soviet 134 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

Disneyland’. Its name suggests that it was a show of Soviet achievements, but it was at least as much a materialized vision of the glorious communist future, a beautiful demonstration of future happiness. I first visited this place in 1994, and was immediately captivated by the traces of bygone glory, blending uncomfortably with the ubiquitous evidence of unleashed petty capitalism. Along the majestic alleys flanked by carefully arranged ensembles of palace-like buildings (pavilions), there are hundreds of small stands, lavki, lined up like a permanent camp. Even inside the gigantic pavilions, the halls are now sub­ divided into tiny cubicles crammed with imported consumer goods. This ‘Exhibi­ tion of the Achievements of the People’s Economy’, as it was known for most of its history, had been designed to represent the splendor of the entire Soviet Union in miniature.3 In today’s Moscow it seems to live up to this claim; perhaps more than ever, it epitomizes the uneasy coexistence of distinct, contradictory, and potential­ ly incompatible cultural, ideological,

economical, and even architectural styles pervasive in post-socialist Russia. I have two goals in this paper. First, I aim to uncover the history of a unique mu­ seum of nuclear energy, the Pavilion for Atomic Energy at the VDNKh, and to ex­ plain its function within the Soviet system of science popularization. In particular, I explore how the pavilion’s activities re­ flected Soviet concepts of learning, teach­ ing, and entertainment, and how they were accommodated to the rhetoric of “educating and empowering the masses”. Against this background, I focus on the envisioned roles of “ideal visitors” — that is, on the social, cultural, and political re­ lations embedded in this vision. I attempt to unpack the kind of social order that was implied by the organization and activities of this peculiar space — explicitly, in line with the dominant doctrine of ‘molding new Soviet citizens’, and more implicit­ ly, in the way visitors to the pavilion were envisioned and how their experiences were shaped. A key event in this context was the severe accident at the Chernobyl


Image courtesy of the GAO VVTs

nuclear power plant in April 1986, an un­ precedented crisis also for the display of nuclear power. This failure revealed the pavilion’s ‘normal’ function, namely the unconditionally optimistic representation of nuclear energy. By exposing the inade­ quacy of this approach, it posed a severe challenge to the symbolic authority of the pavilion’s exhibitions. The Pavilion for Atomic Energy was a highly visible museum, and as such af­ forded its exhibitions importance and prestige. While its representative location is comparable with the Smithsonian In­ stitution, cultural traditions, and admin­ istrative and institutional practices, dif­ fer markedly. Museums ‘form part of the social fabric’ to different extents, and de­ pend ‘on combinations of institutional structures and political factors’ unique to each country. By investigating the specif­ ic ways nuclear energy exhibitions were deployed to enroll visitors in the com­ mon project of constructing communism, I hope to convey the particularities that ensued from the special status of science and technology in the Soviet context. Ulti­ mately, my project can be read as a test of supposedly universal analytical tools de­ veloped in the West. It explores how this historical case study speaks to contempo­ rary museum theory, and how it qualifies our understanding of the popularization of science and technology, especially in comparison with ‘propaganda’ (I will re­ turn to this ambiguous term — suffice it here to plead for suspending our common understanding of propaganda as “deliber­ ately erroneous information”). Imagined Visitors Recent work in museum studies has demonstrated that an idea of pro Recent work in museum studies has demonstrated that an idea of prospective visitors guides the design of exhibitions from very early stages.4 Exhibitions frame their visitors in ways similar to the construction of the pub­ lic in expert-lay interactions. Brian Wynne refers to such framings as ‘implicit models of agency’, imposed on a group of actors; for example, ‘the public’.

Symbol of the VDNKh, 1976

Whoever visited the VDNKh was sup­ posed to experience ‘a peculiar kind of joy’ that the Exhibition organizers skill­ fully turned into sentiments of awe and pride.5 The Exhibition’s architectural lay­ out with its spectacular buildings, foun­ tains, ponds, and recreational facilities was consciously designed to provide vis­ itors with a beautiful environment, deci­ sively different from their everyday lives.6 The VDNKh’s architecture — like that of world fairs — became an important visu­ al element of Soviet cultural iconography: in the context of reconstructing the capi­ tal city, it served as a showpiece of Stalin­ ist aesthetics. Its visual culture featured prominently in a series of popular mov­ ies during the 1940s.7 Explicit theatricali­ ty was a central feature of this place. The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition ... showed the characteristic features of the ‘ideal city’ of that time: orderliness, ex­ aggerated spaciousness, pompous monu­ mentality, and gloriously shaped buildings ... It was the model of a city of permanent celebration, of a happy and distinct tomor­ row that had been transferred from the distant bright future into the present ... Grand portals gave the buildings a touch of sacredness. The demonstrative luxury

of this fairy-tale Exhibition city was far re­ moved from the every-day reality at the beginning of the 1950s. But it was not un­ derstood as reality, but as promising and reassuring myth.

As this quote nicely illustrates, visitors to the VDNKh recognized its theatrical char­ acter. Nevertheless, the combination of these beautiful surroundings with the cel­ ebratory display of the Soviet economy’s achievements was conducive to the emer­ gence of unreserved enthusiasm. In the 1950s, this atmosphere of Utopian opti­ mism, specifically with regard to nuclear energy, was by no means restricted to the Soviet Union. Rather, it was a constitutive feature of any modernist state. An intrigu­ ing representation of nuclear enthusiasm in popular culture is the Russian version of Woody Guthrie’s anthem to the peace­ ful atom, Chto ne mozhet sdelat’ atom [One Thing the Atom Can’t Do], released in 1980 by the famous Russian singer songwrit­ er Alia Pugacheva.8 The message implicit in this display of Soviet happiness was, of course, the palpable vision of “the bright communist future”, the future social or­ der in neat miniature.9 As James Scott has June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 135


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observed, such miniatures — ‘small, easily managed zone[s] of order and conformi­ ty’ — often rose to great prominence. For­ eign guests were presented with perfect miniature versions instead of actual farms or factories. Scott argues that such minia­ tures ran smoothly, because enough con­ tingent factors could be eliminated. The symbol (or emblem) of the VDNKh was meant to condense the idea that sci­ ence and technology were the driving forces of economic and technological progress, which, in turn, would lead to so­ cial transformation. Nuclear energy took center stage in this vision: United they stand  — the worker, the collective farm woman, and the scientist ... Next to them, there is a miner’s pick, a sheaf of golden corn. In one impulse, they fling up their working-class hands toward the ... symbol of the atom ... the symbol of the Soviet man’s tireless creative search, of his effort to get to the foundation of the world’s secrets, to make them instru­ ments of social progress ... That is the em­ blem of the All Union Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy of the USSR.10

Driven by this spirit of optimism, the VDNKh’s second objective was education. Visitors could browse pavilions that ex­ plained the inner processes of meat pro­ duction, apiculture, horse breeding, or nuclear reactors. But they were not just invited to be dazzled, they were encour­ aged to actively join the project of con­ structing communism. As a French jour­ nalist put it in the early 1960s, everyone who visited the Exhibition started to think like a statesman, to feel responsible for the entire country, and, more importantly, was expected to do so. The pavilions’ ex­ hibitions and the surrounding education­ al activities served the goal of familiariz­ ing visitors with scientific disciplines, and of rendering sophisticated technologies accessible. But the celebratory display of Soviet achievements was designed to in­ duce more than just passive acceptance: it aimed to transform visitors’ attitudes, and “[n]othing short of full hearted commit­ ment would do”. The Pavilion for Atomic Energy dealt 136 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

This ‘Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy’, as it was known for most of its history, had been designed to represent the splendor of the entire Soviet Union in miniature. In today’s Moscow it seems to live up to this claim; perhaps more than ever, it epitomizes the uneasy coexistence of distinct, contradictory, and potentially incompatible cultural, ideological, economical, and even architectural styles pervasive in post-socialist Russia.

with problems strikingly similar to those at Western science museums, and it an­ ticipated crucial features of contempo­ rary exhibition practices. Sharon Macdon­ ald’s description of the exhibition Food for Thought that opened at the Science Muse­ um in London in 1989 resonates with the aims and activities of the pavilion’s staff: The kind of visitor envisaged here is rather different from that of traditional glass case and diorama display techniques. Where these allowed visitors, rather as in the early department stores, to gaze rev­ erentially and deferentially at sanctified objects, Food for Thought invites visitors to get close to the objects, to handle — and even to smell — at least some of the goods, to enjoy themselves, to make a noise, to have fun, and ... to be ‘busy’.

In this context, Macdonald raises the question whether ‘the casting of visitors as “customers” and the emphasis on “con­ sumer choice’” helps to democratize sci­ ence and to empower the public. She con­ cludes that ‘supermarket exhibitions’ can have quite opposite effects: they prom­ ise to democratize museums by shifting authority from producer to consumer, but they also place ‘responsibility for so­ cial and individual ills at the door of the

individual while ignoring the part that producers and the State may play’. The resulting conflation of pleasure and de­ mocracy leads to a ‘prescriptive consum­ erism’ that defines personhood in enter­ prise culture. To push Macdonald’s department store analogy a little further, let us recall the way Soviet stores were run. In contrast to their Western (and post-Soviet) coun­ terparts, Soviet stores involved a com­ plex system of standing in line, identify­ ing available items, ordering them, pay­ ing for them, and actually receiving them, which effectively blurred any clear assign­ ment of responsibility (usually for the lack of available goods). Although I hesitate to infer a conscious program of fusing edu­ cation and entertainment (the central dis­ cussion in much of Western museum stud­ ies), the VDNKh in general, and the Pavil­ ion for Atomic Energy in particular, were designed in stark contrast to the Sovi­ et everyday shopping experience. Here, people were offered help and guidance; they received information brochures, and were shown movies. They were invited to ask questions and even to make sugges­ tions for future improvements. However,


responsibilities were by no means more visible in the pavilion than in a depart­ ment store. What, then, was an obligatory definiens of being ‘a Soviet man’, and which role did the exhibitions in the pavilion play in sug­ gesting, or even constituting such a ‘pub­ lic identity’? Rather than envisioning the pavilion’s visitors as consumers, the So­ viet ‘model of agency’ envisioned them as learners in a traditional enlighten­ ment version. Not unlike in Western sci­ ence museums, visitors were expected to deepen their understandings of the top­ ics on display. But ‘learning’ in the Sovi­ et context had several dimensions, not all of which could be found in a Western set­ ting. First, there was a cognitive impera­ tive: visitors were expected to attain a cer­ tain level of scientific literacy, and to then function as multipliers. This did not just apply to teachers — literally everyone was supposed to acquire and to disseminate knowledge. The second aspect was a prac­ tical imperative: visitors from industry were expected to facilitate the actual im­ plementation of the new technologies on display. This orientation toward practical applications has been described as one of the defining characteristics of Soviet sci­ ence. The final aspect, which also formed the basis of the first two, was a moral im­ perative: visitors were expected to be en­ thusiastic, feel pride, and become loyal supporters of the communist project. In a way, this was almost a religious impera­ tive (comparable with a view of London’s Natural History Museum as a ‘cathedral of nature’)  — a curious feature in the con­ text of an explicitly atheist State. The VDNKh’s approach to science pop­ ularization was thus not entertainment, and presumably not even persuasion, but was one that emphasized the overwhelm­ ing authority of “scientific exhibitions” themselves. This authoritative image of science was effectively invoked despite the fact that what constituted science in a so­ cialist society had been a contested issue. The display of Soviet science and technol­ ogy was intended to enroll visitors: to in­ spire, convince, and mobilize them to

become creative participants in the con­ struction of Communism. Theoretical Framework An integral part of any museum is an ef­ fort to discipline the visitor’s gaze, and to shape the visitor’s experience. The choice of artifacts, the labeling of exhibits, and the spatial and logical connections among them, reflect the agendas of exhibition or­ ganizers, sponsors, or political patrons. Yet to an even greater extent, exhibitions mir­ ror their intended publics. Every public dis­ play projects its visitors’ desirable activities in and around the exhibition. Museums are therefore crucial places for negotiating identities. On the basis of predominantly Western case studies, museum researchers have developed a series of theoretical con­ cepts for analyzing the display of science, which take into account the perceptions of visitors, the influence of economical fac­ tors, and political agendas.11 They have identified fundamental tensions between representing and celebrating science, and between the impulse to educate and the at­ tempt to entertain. Some of these tensions have intensified historically (for example, the discussion about interactive exhibits and their alleged failure to convey histor­ ical dimensions of science. It is legitimate to ask whether such Western concepts are applicable to the Soviet context, and for which period, but I have found these ap­ proaches useful for two reasons. First, Soviet scientists have always had a good reputation among international exhibition-makers for their creative and inspired ways of popularizing science and technology. Science popularization in the Soviet Union was something that helped rather than hurt a scientist’s career. There is a long tradition of Russian, and later So­ viet, scientists who supported the science popularization movement and considered popularization an integral part of their work. The political ramifications and con­ straints in the Soviet Union notwithstand­ ing, science popularizers there have faced the same challenges as they would any­ where else. For example, they must figure out how to phrase and visualize complex

scientific contents in ways intelligible to a lay audience, and how to arouse the au­ dience’s curiosity and enthusiasm. Soviet science generally was very explicit about its educational objectives, which were of­ ten synonymous with straightforward po­ litical goals. Science education therefore was both an enlightenment activity and a political goal; scientific literacy was con­ sidered a contribution to the political vi­ sion of a communist society. There is some confusion about the ex­ act meaning of the term ‘propaganda’, even in the Soviet sources I used, but it is crucial for understanding science popular­ ization in the Soviet context. In its original meaning, “propaganda” denotes dissemi­ nation (from Latin propagare: to disperse, diffuse, disseminate) of political, scientif­ ic, and other knowledge, views, and ideas. In a more specific sense, propaganda can be focused on production and technol­ ogy (propaganda proizvodstvenno-tekhnicheskaia), with the explicit goal of sup­ plying workers with technical knowledge, which is supposed to overcome existing differences between mental and physi­ cal work, and to raise ‘communist aware­ ness’ among the masses. Propaganda also has the goal of affecting people’s mindset and of stimulating active responses. Com­ munist propaganda had the explicit goal of enlightening, educating, and mobiliz­ ing the masses, “by enrolling them into the practical fight for socialism and com­ munism”. The criterion for assessing the effectiveness of communist propaganda was ‘the level of social activity among the masses’. Bourgeois propaganda, by con­ trast, was depicted as an instrument used by the ruling classes to present their in­ terests as those of everyone. At the same time, bourgeois propaganda allegedly de­ nounced ‘propaganda’ as an instrument to manipulate mass consciousness in the in­ terest of certain political groups. In con­ trast to some Western science-populariz­ ers, who to this day claim to be politically neutral,12 the Soviet popularizers explic­ itly supported mixing science popular­ ization with political ideology. They con­ sidered ‘scientific objectivity’ a bourgeois June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 137


CASE STUDY

concept to be replaced with a desirable ‘proletarian bias’. The second reason why I have found Western museum theory valuable for an­ alyzing this Soviet case is that a common origin in world fairs links science displays worldwide. There is an extensive body of literature on world fairs that examines the relations between science, the state, and the public. This literature shows how the display of science relates to the projection of social order. Robert Rydell has shown that world exhibition promoters were of­ ten explicitly motivated by economic ideas. World fairs “showed off the nation’s economic strength and artistic resourc­ es, highlighting new architectural forms and offering models for urban planning”. In addition to emphasizing economic mo­ tives, Rydell argues that they provided a “cohesive explanatory blueprint of social experience”. Although clearly not all mu­ seum exhibitions were equally influen­ tial, some of them represented authorita­ tive means to shape, sustain, or change so­ cial order. The VDNKh was an attempt to sketch a communist social order based on sound scientific and technological perfor­ mance, and to assign visitors new subject positions within that order. Sources In winter 2001, I conducted research for this project in the scientific technical li­ brary and the archive of the VDNKh. The VDNKh’s official publications espouse a rhetoric of openness, stressing the unusu­ al degree of technical information made available to visitors — even foreigners. I was granted access to all archival docu­ ments I requested. I was able to study an­ nual reports about exhibition activities in and around the pavilion; to read provision­ al and final plans of the exhibits, texts, and models on display (so-called ‘tematikcheskie plany’, preliminary drafts of exhibition concepts, and ‘tematiko-ekspozitsionnye plany’, revised and authorized versions of the former), and to study lists of actu­ al exhibits and the original labels to the exhibits, as well as guest books.13 In the VDNKh’s scientific technical library, I read 138 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

official publications including guidebooks and journals published by the VDNKh. I also looked at brochures and catalogues for the Pavilion for Atomic Energy — ma­ terial that was more explicitly targeted at a specialized audience. The library also holds a list of legal decisions pertaining to the VDNKh, which allowed me to quickly identify relevant decrees issued by the Cen­ tral Committee and/or the VDNKh admin­ istration. Finally, I asked archivists and li­ brarians about their experience working at the VDNKh both prior to and following the perestroika years. I talked to former ad­ ministrators of individual pavilions, and to a former curator and guide of the Pavilion for Atomic Energy. The Academy of the People In 1959, the Soviet government under Khrushchev had scheduled a 7-year plan for 1959-65. The motto was once again to ‘catch and overtake’ the most developed capitalist countries. The Communist Party had used this slogan since the late 1920s, ironically calling for overtaking capitalist societies by reaching their very goals. The VDNKh was supposed to exhibit past suc­ cesses, but also ‘to tell about the way to­ morrow will look like in the Soviet Union’. The creative efforts undertaken to reach this goal were described in an illustrat­ ed brochure, VDNKh SSSR, published in four foreign languages and Russian, which compared the Exhibition ensemble with an ‘academy of the people’, and portrayed it as ‘the anthem of Soviet man who has ap­ proached the threshold to Communism’. Workers, farmers, and intelligentsia were to be united: ‘the character of labor is be­ ing transformed fundamentally; the cultur­ al-technological level of workers is rising, and the prerequisites are created to level out the differences between mental and physical work’. The first steps to establish an ‘AllUnion Agricultural Exhibition’ (Vsesoiuznaia SeVsko-KhoziaistvennaiaVystavka, VSKhV) had been taken in the mid1930s: the Exhibition had opened in 1939. During World War II, the Exhibition was evacuated to Chelyabinsk, and reopened

in Moscow in August 1954. In 1956, the ‘All-Union Industrial Exhibition’ (Vsesoiuznaia Promyshlennaia Vystavka, VPV) was launched in the same territory. Its buildings, including the original Pavilion for Atomic Energy, were clustered around ‘Mechanization Square’. In the summer of 1959, these two exhibitions (and the All-Union Construction Exhibition that was moved from the Moscow river bank) were united to form the ‘Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy’ (Vystavka Dostizhenii Narodnogo Khoziaistva, VDNKh). Even before this merger, guidebooks portrayed them as a single ex­ hibition ensemble. Complete tours includ­ ed pavilions of both the Industrial and the Agricultural exhibitions, following pre-se­ lected routes. From 1959 to 1963, the VDNKh con­ sisted of four sections: union and nation­ al pavilions (the Russian Federal SSR had three), industry and transport (the former Industrial Exhibition), agriculture (the former Agricultural Exhibition), and con­ struction (the former Construction Exhi­ bition). The pavilions’ contents tended to change frequently; the pavilion hous­ ing Atomic Energy since 1964, for exam­ ple, was originally designed to exhibit the Black Soil Region, and served as the Rus­ sian Federal SSRs industry pavilion until 1964. In his Kul’tura ‘dva’, a structuralist analysis of Stalinist architecture, Vladimir Paperny argues that the VDNKh was de signed as a miniature Soviet Union with­ in the Union’s capital Moscow. He stresses that the central republic, the Russian Fed­ eral SSR, was originally not represented by its own pavilion. Castillo calls the ab­ sence of a pavilion dedicated to the Rus­ sian republic ‘something of a Soviet ex­ hibitionary tradition’. However, he also reports the creation of a pavilion repre­ senting the Russian Federal SSR in 1954. Since the establishment of the Pavilion for Atomic Energy in 1956, the Russian Fed­ eral SSR was in fact represented — it even featured three pavilions. In April 1963, a decree issued jointly by the Central Com­ mittee and the Council of Ministers end­ ed the mini Union model in an attempt to


systematize the assignment of pavilions.14 A section for science and culture replaced the section of union and national pavil­ ions — a symbolic move indeed! The VDNKh was managed by a com­ mittee including leading representatives from the Ministries, State and departmen­ tal committees, the Party organization, and trade unions. This committee was in charge of defining the major directions of the VDNKh and determined its fundamen­ tal tasks, which can be summarized as showing the achievements of each of the economy’s branches and their prospective development in its entirety — that is, dis­ playing the full historical scope of each branch’s development. Together with reg­ ular museum activities (setting up exhi­ bitions) the VDNKh’s tasks also included pedagogical activities (teaching special­ ists from the respective branches) and — the most original aspect — providing a fo­ rum to facilitate the exchange of experi­ ence. This practical orientation of science is a Stalinist legacy, and has been charac­ terized as a defining feature of Soviet sci­ ence. Technical documentation was to be distributed through the exhibition, and the fastest introduction into production was to be rewarded with medals and di­ plomas. Each republic was expected to send representatives to Moscow to visit the VDNKh, to take part in seminars, and to learn about the latest innovations. A Place for Atomic Energy The original Atomic Energy Pavilion was part of the All-Union Industrial Exhibi­ tion (VPV), which represented the ma­ jor branches of Soviet industry from 1956 until 1959. The pavilion was located on a side street in the vicinity of Mechanization Square, and today houses exhibitions on (of all themes) environmental protection. In 1959, the first year of the VDNKh, the adjacent pavilion was annexed and the la­ bel changed from ‘Atomic Energy’ to ‘Atom­ ic Energy for Peaceful Purposes’. Neither the archival documents nor the published sources I consulted attribute the empha­ sis on peaceful applications of nuclear en­ ergy to attempts to ‘detract popular atten­

tion away from the image of science bent on nuclear war and destruction’. Instead, the Soviet Union was being associated with peaceful nuclear applications in industry, agriculture, and medicine through a con­ sistent emphasis on the scientific character of Soviet industrial planning. Military ap­ plications were stressed as primary goals of the USA, which in turn legitimated Soviet efforts to defend peace against imperialis­ tic aggression. In 1964, as a consequence of the de­ cree mentioned above, ‘Atomic Energy’ moved to a new building altogether. This new building was located on the central

square, close to the main entrance. Since 1989, it has been used for commercial purposes only. In recent years, even the la­ bel ‘Atomic Energy’ was replaced by one indifferently stating ‘Pavilion No. 71’. On the following pages, I will outline the ‘in­ ner workings’ of the Pavilion for Atom­ ic Energy — how exhibitions were orga­ nized, and who the actors and their tasks were.15 All of these aspects, especially the pavilion’s spatial and logical arrange­ ment, and the organization of interac­ tions within the pavilion, provided a rep­ ertoire of actions for both visitors and staff, thus contributing to the conception

VDNKh’s atomic energy exhibition extended far beyond its appointed pavilion. For a time, all pavilions were instructed to demonstrate modern methods of production with the use of the “peaceful atom”. Here is the Dairy Industry Pavilion’s convincing attempt. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 139


CASE STUDY

of the ideal visitor. A detailed examination of the pavilion’s activities will reveal the models of agency implied by the pavilion’s exhibitions. Ordering Space The pavilion’s spatial organization was de­ signed to provide a stable framework that would reliably direct visitors through the exhibition, whether on guided tours or on their own. The original building (1956-63) had four halls, and visitors were guided through all of them in a circuit. The entry hall displayed scientific exhibits on the ba­ sic structure of atoms and the mechanics of nuclear fission, chain reaction, fusion, and so on. It also displayed the development of Soviet nuclear physics and particle phys­ ics, with due reverence to past and current Party leaders. In the second hall, one could find samples of uranium minerals and ores, and information about how they were pro­ cessed and applied in chemical processes and nuclear reactors. A working reactor took center stage in the next hall, the section on nuclear power engineering. The reactor was submerged in a basin filled with water, which simulta­ neously served as moderator, coolant, and shielding. The basin was 6 m deep and 4 m in diameter, and the reactor’s nominal power was 100 kW. A technician was in charge of operating the reactor, and con­ ducted small experiments for the visitors. Visitors were invited to witness the Che­ renkov effect, a bright blueish-green shin­ ing caused by the partial transformation of the reactor’s radiation energy into light. The explicit rationale for putting a nuclear reactor on open display was ‘to enable vis­ itors to get to know the construction and operation of a nuclear reactor more graph­ ically’. According to both archival docu­ ments and published sources, it was the most popular exhibit for years, and when the VDNKh’s management (note: not the pavilion’s) ordered the reactor to be shut down in 1962 without giving reasons, the pavilion reported many complaints from disappointed visitors. While the display of this reactor was unique, given the state of the art of 140 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

radiation safety at that time (1956-62), it was not the first demonstration reac­ tor exhibited in public. In 1955, at the First Geneva Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the USA had dis­ played a working reactor. This Geneva re­ actor, referred to as ‘Project Aquarium’, was a temporary exhibit that was accessi­ ble to the general public only for a limit­ ed time. Apparently, it inspired the orga­ nizers of the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, who planned to set up a working reactor as the centerpiece of the Science Hall. The idea was abandoned only after the Belgian king vetoed it. References to the US reac­ tor displayed in Geneva are missing in the Soviet documents I read. The section on nuclear power engineer­ ing also exhibited a large model of the Soviet Academy of Science’s experimen­ tal nuclear power station (1:40 scale), as well as smaller models of experimental and research reactors and of fusion reac­ tors. In addition, there were detailed dis­ plays of Soviet nuclear power plants then under construction: the stage of their com­ pletion was meticulously updated every year. The section also featured a model of the nuclear icebreaker Lenin, which was in later years replaced by its successors, Arktika and Leonid Brezhnev. The final hall showed various research and diagnostic instruments based on the use of radioac­ tive isotopes. Only some of the objects on display had already been introduced to the economy. Others were inventions pending their pat­ enting, and improvements or prototypes awaiting their actual implementation. In 1979, for example, the pavilion featured a model of the RBMK-2400 (a scaled-up ver­ sion of the graphite water reactor RBMK1000), which was never actually built.16 There was no clear spatial separation of tasks between the original and the second, adjacent, building. It was not until 1963 that the pavilion’s management decided to use the second pavilion as a separate lo­ cation for a thematic exhibition. When nu­ clear energy moved to the new building in 1964, the possibility of reaching vari­ ous halls independently opened up new

perspectives for organizing space, and thus for addressing different audiences. In some years, the new pavilion’s floor space was even ‘rented out’ for non-nuclear exhi­ bitions: in 1977, for example, the pavilion hosted an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Russian Federal SSR.17 Structuring Experience From its outset, the pavilion had featured a remarkable variety of exhibitions, with constantly changing layout, function, and intended audience. There was always one main exhibition, which had a permanent character although it was updated annu­ ally. Special exhibitions were part of the main exhibition. In 1978, for example, the pavilion organized a special exhibition on ‘Peaceful Nuclear Explosions’.18 In 1983, a special exhibition posthumously honored the 80th birthday of one of the ‘fathers’ of the Soviet atomic bomb, Igor V. Kurchatov, who was revered as the archetype of the loyal, upright Soviet scientist, and as the main promoter of peaceful nuclear appli­ cations.19 Thematic exhibitions were target­ ed at particular audiences who were likely to play a role in the future implementation of the technology displayed. In 1984, for example, the pavilion featured a themat­ ic exhibition on nuclear energy in the food processing industry. The first traveling exhibition (‘The Atom for Peace’) was orga­ nized in 1964. Such mobile exhibitions were shown in cities all over the Soviet Union in order to reach people outside the capital. The annual report for 1971 men­ tioned an increase in active marketing measures for traveling exhibitions.20 Mov­ ies were introduced to accompany and ad­ vertise the shows, the host cities provided well-equipped meeting rooms, and the ex­ hibitions themselves included price lists of available products, as well as informa­ tion on vendors. Both thematic and travel­ ing exhibitions had the goal of conducting effective scientific and technological pro­ paganda: to celebrate past achievements, to educate visitors about the advantag­ es of nuclear energy applications, and to promote the future adoption of innovative technologies.21


Among the services offered by the pa­ vilion were guided tours, small experi­ ments or demonstrations performed by technicians, short movies, and a variety of free information brochures. In addi­ tion, there was a bookshop and an infor­ mation point near the entrance. Practi­ cal changes came about relatively late, in 1980: instead of closing the entire pavil­ ion for several months each year, parts of the pavilion’s exhibition remained acces­ sible while others were renewed. The pa­ vilion also accommodated lectures, work­ shops, and seminars, ranging from one to five days. Such events included ‘The Day of the Exhibitor’, and ‘The Day of the Pro­ pagandist’. I am not clear what the ul­ timate goal of these workshops was. It seems likely that they had the pragmatic aim of getting orders placed for new tech­ nologies, but my sources lack definite in­ formation on what happened next. Were requests handed over to the relevant min­ istries? Who decided what to implement where, and when? And, in a centrally planned economy, how autonomous were representatives from industry or public health in deciding which apparatus or in­ strument they wanted to order and apply to industry? Judging from my material, the pavil­ ion’s activities became more sophisticat­ ed starting in 1964, with the move to the new building. Together with an increas­ ing emphasis on advising specialists, ques­ tions about patents, licensing, and visi­ tor service were being discussed. It seems puzzling that this leap to professionaliza­ tion went hand-in-hand with appeals for a more centralized administration and coordination of exhibition activities, for an evaluation of the pavilion’s activities, and for Exhibition-wide standardized reg­ ulations.22 At first glance, this may seem like a naive attempt to secure a set of ob­ jective procedures in the context of in­ herently unstable and unpredictable po­ litical patronage. However, the archival documents suggest that this endeavor to adopt standardized rules was a strategic maneuver. Starting in 1982, the pavilion’s staff used the same VDNKh regulations it

The VDNKh was an attempt to sketch a communist social order based on sound scientific and technological performance, and to assign visitors new subject positions within that order.

had promoted earlier to put pressure on the State Committee for the Use of Nucle­ ar Energy (Gosudarstvennyi komitet poispoVzovaniiu atomnoi energii, GKAE). This agency had been established in 1960 un­ der the Council of Ministers, replacing its predecessor, the Chief Administration for the Use of Atomic Energy (Glavnoe Upravlenie poispoVzovaniiu atomnoi energii, GUIAE). The GUIAE had been part of the Ministry for Medium Machine Building (MinSredMash), one of the most power­ ful Soviet ministries that administered the entire nuclear military industrial complex. In 1965, the GKAE lost its independent position under the Council of Ministers and was reintegrated into MinSredMash. By invoking official regulations, the pa­ vilion’s staff urged the GKAE to carry out its tasks and to take its duties seriously, for example to deliver models on time,23 to provide the pavilion with new techni­ cal equipment, and to renew popular sci­ entific movies shown to the visitors, which they labeled ‘morally and physically out­ dated’.24 Despite these efforts, the GKAE’s special status was cemented in 1984: it was officially exempted from VDNKh regulations.25 Taking Parts The Pavilion for Atomic Energy was man­ aged by a collective headed by a designat­ ed director and a chief curator. The cura­ tors — most of whom had backgrounds in physics or science education  — selected and arranged the individual exhibits, draft­ ed the labels to the exhibits, designed the exhibition layout, wrote exhibition plans,

and scheduled tours and movie screenings. Administratively, the pavilion was account­ able to the State Committee for the Use of Atomic Energy (GKAE) and to the VDNKh Committee. In 1978, the annual report an­ nounced a more restricted inter-branch technology transfer. From that year on, implementations were regulated by cer­ tain rules, and responsibilities were more clearly defined. It was made explicit that there were ‘open’ and ‘classified’ develop­ ments, with the pavilion’s role defined as promoting the non-classified technologies. This marked an important shift, as duties were moved away from the pavilion (and the VDNKh) to the GKAE. Whereas before, nuclear energy had been referred to as a branch of industry like any other, it was now considered ‘special’.26 This was prob­ ably not a true adjustment, but neverthe­ less this ‘special status’ needed some clar­ ification, even to the actors immediately involved. The pavilion’s annual report for 1980 contains an illuminating passage: the pavilion’s management had written an official letter to the GKAE to find out why they no longer received any informa­ tion about the effects of implementing the technologies displayed in the pavilion.27 In response, they were told that there was a difference between the ‘real’ nuclear pow­ er business and the VDNKh exhibits. This marked a turning point in the pavilion’s self-perception, and had important con­ sequences for its position within the Sovi­ et science system. Since its inception, the pavilion had considered this kind of feed­ back vital for one of its key tasks: facilitat­ ing the active and open exchange of infor­ June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 141


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mation and experience about the technical performance and economical effective­ ness of new technologies. Now, it had to find a way to legitimate why — in con­ trast to most of the other pavilions at the VDNKh — it did not exhibit the results of its popularization and promotion efforts.28 As a result of these changes, the arrange­ ment of special exhibitions and accompa­ nying seminars to exchange professional experience was handed over to the GKAE as well.29 In 1981, the pavilion abandoned the practice of identifying ‘pioneering col­ lectives’ (the first who implemented new technologies) on the VDNKh’s ‘All-Union Board of Honor’.30 And in 1982, the pa­ vilion discontinued making recommen­ dations for the introduction of particular exhibits — potentially a concession to the increasing difficulties encountered with their actual implementation.31 The pavilion’s managing collective wrote plans for every exhibition sever­ al months in advance. These plans com­ prised details of the objects to be dis­ played, including their labels and the in­ stitutes and factories that provided them. Members of the GKAE and the VDNKh committee revised these plans twice be­ fore approving them, and visited the pa­ vilion before the exhibitions officially opened. The pavilion’s staff also had to submit an annual report to these agen­ cies, which was usually about 15 pages long and summarized the pavilion’s ac­ tivities over any given year, complete with basic statistics on visitors, exhibitors, and awards. They listed thematic, special, and traveling exhibitions, identified the most popular exhibits, reported on particular­ ly successful events, and commented on the guest book entries. They also identi­ fied problems and made suggestions for handling them in the future. It seems that for the pavilion’s manag­ ers, writing these reports was both a te­ dious obligation to their superiors, and an opportunity to reflect upon and evalu­ ate their own work. Apparently, there was hardly any feedback to these reports: in 1966, the pavilion’s director specifically asked for a response to the annual report, 142 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

and when there was none, the 1967 re­ port shrunk to a meager three pages. Two years later, the files included a re­ sponse from a VDNKh administrator — with hand-written annotations from the pavilion’s staff. This again illustrates that the pavilion’s administration cared about their work; they were determined to es­ tablish explicit criteria for quality con­ trol. A related problem that was repeat­ edly addressed in the annual reports was the lack of autonomy in decision making. The pavilion’s staff clearly felt restrict­ ed by the amount of red tape they had to deal with, and by the lack of distinct regulations for exhibitors. In some years, the opening date of an exhibition had to be postponed due to delays in the deliv­ ery of exhibits. Despite the fact that there was obvious (and due to the bureaucrat­ ic procedures very laborious) top-down control, the pavilion’s superiors displayed a striking lack of interest in the actu­ al results of the shows they presumably supervised. The pavilion’s guides were particularly relevant for interacting with visitors: they told their groups previously approved sto­ ries, showed them short popular scientific movies, and handed out brochures. Com­ ing from more diverse backgrounds than curators, they received intensive addi­ tional training, both in specially devised courses and through expert consultations ‘on site’. Guides were audited for political loyalty, and had to demonstrate on a reg­ ular basis their command of the technical knowledge that was deemed relevant for the current exhibition. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several of the pavilion’s guides successfully took part in VDNKhwide competitions for ‘best guide’.32 Other actors who worked in the pavilion includ­ ed operators and technicians who per­ formed live demonstrations in the exhibi­ tion halls, specialists from the GKAE who operated the information point in the pa­ vilion from 1965 on, and exhibitors — sci­ entific institutes, construction organiza­ tions, factories, and production compa­ nies who supplied the exhibits. Who, then, were the visitors  — the

people the pavilion wanted to reach with its exhibitions? The pavilion’s annual re­ ports generally distinguished two main categories: specialists and non-special­ ists. Engineers, physicians, ship builders, or military personnel were identified as specialists, whereas schoolteachers, stu­ dents, workers, as well as regular mem­ bers of the Party and trade unions, were characterized as non-specialists. While the former received individual consulta­ tions upon request, the latter were offered standardized tours. Other categories of visitors mentioned in the pavilion’s doc­ uments were foreigners, both as official delegations and individuals, and prom­ inent scientists. For example, in 1972, members of the Academy of Sciences vis­ ited the pavilion, and in 1973, the pavilion proudly reported a visit by physicist Sergei P. Kapitsa, the son of Nobel laureate Petr L. Kapitsa. The VDNKh’s management was ob­ sessed with counting: part of the stan­ dardized format of an annual report was to chronicle meticulously the number of visitors, exhibits, exhibitors, square me­ ters of exhibition space, and so on. As far as I can tell, the purpose of this kind of documentation was not just to show off, but to anticipate future resource al­ locations. However, as Steven Solnick has shown convincingly, the pressure to meet and even over-fulfill plans rendered this bureaucratic mechanism virtually ineffec­ tive. In 1981, the pavilion proudly report­ ed an increase in visitors, which was sub­ sequently explained by the pavilion’s ex­ tended opening hours. My interest here is different from what has become known as ‘visitor stud­ ies’. Visitor studies are more or less sta­ tistically oriented and quantitatively ana­ lyzable polls. By contrast, I tackle the no­ tion of ‘the visitor’ that ‘visitor studies’ operate with. And although I did not in­ tend a quantitative assessment of visi­ tors, I did count the visitors to the pavil­ ion: from an all-time record of almost 1.5 million in 1959, the numbers decline consistently, dropping below 1 million in 1969 (with the exception of 1981: ca.


1.07 million). In 1985, the numbers were below 200,000; they jumped back up in 1986 (370,000), and there are no data available for the pavilion’s final years. The number and circulation of available infor­ mation brochures, by contrast, increased steadily.33 The numbers cited in the an­ nual reports indicate that individual visi­ tors always outnumbered those who came as organized groups. The pavilion’s guides gathered individual visitors into groups whenever possible (guided tours had an average of 20 participants), but the vast majority of visitors still browsed through the halls on their own. Visitors were ex­ pected to listen attentively, to learn, but also to ask questions and request more in­ formation. Young children in particular were encouraged to push a few buttons and to operate the hands-on exhibits. Visitors were also invited to write their comments into a guest book, which was diligently read by the pavilion’s staff and probably by other authorities as well. The pavilion emphasized that the relation­ ship between visitors and pavilion staff was determined by a ‘common interest’ — the wish to know and celebrate Soviet achievements in nuclear technology  — where the visitors’ interest was presum­ ably distilled from guest book comments. The guest books contained additional in­ formation on individual visitors, since vis­ itors usually signed their comments with their name, place of residence, profession, and employer. However, guest books are a precarious source. It is unclear who ac­ tually wrote the comments, let alone how representative or accurate they were. There are good reasons to assume that many of these comments, rather than ex­ pressing individual visitors’ opinions, re­ flect ‘desirable’ reactions and were care­ fully crafted along approved lines of of­ ficial ideology: one needs to consider that the writers disclosed their full iden­ tity, and they were well aware that their comments would actually be read. On 22 December 1980, for example, for the Den’ energetiki [Day of the power engineer], I found the following entry in the guest book:

The construction specialists of the Kursk, Chernobyl’, and Smolensk nu­ clear power plants ... express deep ac­ knowledgment and gratitude for a well-organized exhibition and a high quality seminar. Broadening one’s horizon regarding the applications of nuclear energy will certainly have a positive influence on improving the design quality and the safe opera­ tion of nuclear power plants. For 60 specialists from the Institute ‘Gidro­ proekt’, Director of the Technical De­ partment on Nuclear Power Plants [followed by a signature].34

This comment is worth mentioning be­ cause it surpasses the usual expressions of gratitude and contains some hidden criti­ cism by implying that quality and safety in the nuclear power industry might be en­ hanced. Also, the author considers it nec­ essary to hedge his comment by mention­ ing that he is writing in the name of 60 (!) specialists. The ‘common interest’ could thus have been — and most likely was — an artifact of the specific setting.35 The guest-book readers not only ticked the comments off, they actually reacted to them: I came across one case in which a guide who had repeatedly received negative visitors’ com­ ments was subsequently fired.36 Visitors’ comments played an increasingly import­ ant role. In 1978 and 1979, the VDNKh conducted a competition for best visitor service, and in 1980, during the Olympics, visitor service was once again improved. This time, service for foreign visitors was emphasized by putting guides through some sort of intercultural training; the re­ port also stresses a massive clean-up pro­ gram in and around the pavilion.37 The emphasis on staff training apparently paid off: from 1976 on, the pavilion’s guides regularly won awards for ‘excellent visitor service’.38 I found the only explicit image of an ideal visitor in the annual report for 1984, where visitors were envisioned as learn­ ers: ‘The exhibition in the Pavilion for Atomic Energy has not just scientific char­ acter; it also has an enlightening func­ tion for various kinds of visitors: foreign tourists, visitors from the masses, and

students’.39 The expositions, conceptu­ alized to be intrinsically scientific, were intended to ‘deepen the visitors’ under­ standing of the topic’. However, this was a different kind of learning than in earli­ er years, where the emphasis had been on the actual adoption and implementation of innovations.40 In 1984, visitors were no longer envisioned as active collaborators, but as more passive spectators who were expected to look, to acknowledge, and to feel proud. As Brigitte Schroeder-Gudehus and David Cloutier found, at world fairs during the Cold War ‘the function to con­ vey effective knowledge declined, [but] there remained — and prospered  — the function of conveying convictions’. The VDNKh never seems to have lost its en­ lightenment mission. The significance of the practical imperative of learning

Ticket for Pavilion of Atomic Energy, 1957. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 143


CASE STUDY

Demonstration reactor on open display in the Pavilion for Atomic Energy, 1957.

decreased, while the cognitive and mor­ al imperatives remained important. This shift might be interpreted as reflecting the stabilization of the nuclear industry by 1984 and its successful integration into the Soviet economy. It could also be at­ tributed to the restricted role the pavilion had been assigned during the late 1970s, when the GKAE had taken over the tasks of training and implementation. Thus, we can read changes in the projection of the ‘ideal visitor’ as reflections of the pavil­ ion’s shifting role within the system of sci­ ence popularization, and as reactions to the overall development of the branch of industry that the pavilion represented. While visitors were being assigned cer­ tain models of agency, a parallel develop­ ment involved the pavilion’s staff: their own professional identity as ‘populariz­ ers’ of nuclear energy was gradually tak­ ing shape. They came to occupy a peculiar position in the hierarchy of Soviet institu­ tions, where they negotiated exhibition designs with responsible State and Party agencies. They also communicated with research institutes and design and con­ struction bureaus about possible ways of 144 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

visualizing complex theoretical concepts and of exhibiting highly specialized, ex­ pensive frontier science. In addition, the pavilion had to carve out its own niche as an educational enterprise while cooperat­ ing with universities and different types of schools. Setting Goals The pavilion was pursuing a series of tasks. First, it was expected to serve the techni­ cal progress of Soviet industry. The exposi­ tions were to show the latest achievements in automation, mechanization and other forms of progress, facilitate the distribu­ tion of technological know-how and the promotion of new developments, and tes­ tify to the increased speed of applying the latest scientific and technical innovations to production processes. In this context, the pavilion was also a zone of coordina­ tion — at least in its early years. It received reports from companies and factories, where workers and engineers had success­ fully adopted new technologies they had learned about at the VDNKh. This feed­ back was incorporated into the next ex­ hibition when models or prototypes were

exhibited next to successfully implement­ ed technologies. Another major goal was to introduce workers and specialists from industry, agriculture, unions, and Party organizations to the world of nuclear en­ ergy. They were addressed as multipliers and expected to spread the word in their respective spheres of influence. The third task was to facilitate the exchange of expe­ rience with new technologies, with a clear emphasis on economic efficiency. As early as 1968, the stress on economic efficiency and profitability was perceived as too dom­ inant and at odds with ‘the original idea of the VDNKh,’ which had been to link the demonstration of achievements with their actual implementation.41 This kind of eco­ nomic thinking might have been perceived as incompatible with the idea of progress along logical, scientific lines. The significance allotted to these dif­ ferent tasks shifted over the years. In 1964, the emphasis was clearly on teach­ ing and on consulting specialists. For these ends, the pavilion maintained suc­ cessful cooperation initiatives with sever­ al educational institutions. 1964 was an important and innovative year for sever­ al reasons. It was the first year in the new building, at a new location, but it was also the year the first traveling exhibition was designed (which was handed over to the Polytechnic museum42). A pavilion-wide radio system was set up. The pavilion pushed a new organizational structure, claiming the VDNKh-wide coordinating role for all things nuclear, including medi­ cal, biological, agricultural, and industrial applications that other pavilions had giv­ en some attention. The pavilion’s manage­ ment explicitly set out the goals of stan­ dardizing regulations for exhibition ac­ tivities, identifying economically efficient exhibitions, and significantly increasing the number of visitors. The management also filed complaints about out-dated bro­ chures, and requested additional staff members. The flexibility, or smennost’, of an exhibition became a key criterion. The archival material does not con­ vey these developments as reactions to changes in overall regime policy, but the


concurrent economic reforms, including the reintegration of the GKAE into an es­ sentially classified ministry, are likely to have had repercussions for the pavilion’s work. Also, the international exchange of museological concepts and practices fol­ lowing the first three Geneva conferences on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (in 1955, 1958, and 1964), which involved exhibitions on nuclear themes, may well have advanced and accelerated these in­ ternal improvements. By 1966, ‘repre­ senting nuclear energy in its entirety’ with a linear historical narrative was consid­ ered the foundation for teaching and for the exchange of experience.43 The reports started complaining about overlaps in the development and production of technol­ ogies. Responsibilities were unclear as to who produced and who distributed tech­ nologies. As an ‘inter disciplinary’ pavil­ ion, the Pavilion for Atomic Energy suf­ fered directly from conflicts of interest among different ministries.44 The stress on exhibiting and the unclear jurisdiction also prompted a request for more research on visitors’ responses.45 The task of ‘exchanging ground-break­ ing experience’ that had been the funda­ mental impetus for the original pavilion had disappeared from the annual reports by 1976. Instead, the exhibition’s tasks were explicitly determined as ‘active pro­ paganda of the latest achievements of nu­ clear science and technology, and teach­ ing of workers from different branches of the people’s economy’.46 Gorbachev’s perestroika in the 1980s involved the reor­ ganization of the entire system of educa­ tion, and the pavilion was determined to establish itself as a permanent actor under the modified circumstances. The curators envisioned the pavilion’s role as attract­ ing new cadres to the field of nuclear sci­ ence and engineering. Therefore, they or­ ganized ‘days of knowledge’, a kind of ori­ entation event for high school graduates who were considering studying nuclear physics or a related discipline at an insti­ tution of higher education.47 In 1986, the pavilion’s annual report recounted that during that year:

Curators and guides had the spe­ cial responsibility to inform [visi­ tors] about the accident at the Cher­ nobyl nuclear power plant and about the mitigation of its consequences. Us­ ing trustworthy information, the pavil­ ion’s staff clarified the announcements made by the Council of Ministers and the speeches given by members of the governmental commission at spe­ cial Politburo meetings regarding this problem.48

I find it noteworthy that the authors used such expressions as ‘to explain’, ‘to lay out’, and ‘to clarify’, in order to charac­ terize their activity. Why their information sources were trustworthy or what these sources said, remained unmentioned in the report. Nevertheless, despite a lack of clear and consistent instructions from above, the curators and guides seemed to have taken up the challenge of mediating between the State officials, scientific ex­ perts, and the citizens who flooded the pavilion and inundated them with ques­ tions.49 Almost two years into perestroika (the 1986 report was written in spring 1987), the pavilion’s staff must have been aware of the potential consequences of the Chernobyl disaster for their project. Consequently, the 1986 report advanced a remarkable suggestion, namely, to shift the exhibition’s emphasis from the cele­ bration of past achievements and the pro­ motion of future benefits to commenting on current problems of the nuclear indus­ try and nuclear power, including the ecol­ ogy of nuclear power, radiation control, and resource management.50 Although the pavilion’s guides were instructed to adapt their stories, and to include reports on the Party’s decisions about increasing the reli­ ability of equipment and the safety of op­ erations at nuclear power plants,51 the pa­ vilion’s general settings proved slow, or al­ together resistant, to change. In the report for 1987 any reference to Chernobyl was dropped, and with the exhibitions of 1989 the pavilion’s museum activities quietly ended, as did the documentation on them. Against the backdrop of Chernobyl, the ‘models of agency’ that the pavilion had developed for its visitors — of enthusiastic spectators and credulous learners — went

out of balance. The cognitive imperative to learn about the Soviet Union’s nuclear achievements lost its relevance when peo­ ple wanted to know what had led to the Chernobyl disaster; the moral imperative to support the Soviet polity could only turn into outright cynicism given the scale of the accident and the lack of reliable information about it. The popularizers’ credibility had suffered a severe blow. In the face of Chernobyl, they could no lon­ ger rely on technical performance — nei­ ther as a source of legitimacy, nor as a rea­ son to celebrate and unconditionally sup­ port Soviet science and technology. Conclusions: Handling Failure? The impulse to celebrate the State, to demonstrate and display technological prowess, along with an emphasis on ‘na­ tional’ distinction, never lost its relevance for the VDNKh. The archival material tes­ tifies to enormous leaps in professional so­ phistication, but the Pavilion for Atomic Energy continued to remain faithful to the world’s fair model. And although there was clearly more to world fairs than the cele­ bratory facets that I emphasize here, it is difficult to imagine a self-critical world fair. The Pavilion for Atomic Energy was incapable of including the display of fail­ ure, partly because of its being tied up in the larger, deeply modernist VDNKh proj­ ect, and partly because of the fusion of ed­ ucational, economical, and political objec­ tives characteristic of Soviet state ideology. Having addressed earlier in this paper some apparent parallels to Western dis­ cussions in museum studies and the Pub­ lic Understanding of Science literature, I now want to stress several distinctive features of the Pavilion for Atomic Ener­ gy and the VDNKh. First, the pavilion had to deal with a constantly changing, com­ plex, and often overlapping institutional hierarchy, while being deprived of rudi­ mentary managerial autonomy. Not only did the pavilion have to negotiate its ex­ hibitions with a variety of partially com­ peting authorities  — the main VDNKh administration, several ministries, the GKAE, publishing houses, export agencies, June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 145


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universities, production firms, scientif­ ic research institutes, unions, the cen­ sorship agency, and various Party orga­ nizations52 — there was also no clear as­ signment of responsibility for taking final decisions. At the same time, the VDNKh’s general orientation of representing Soviet state ideology remained essentially static. The problems facing Soviet populariz­ ers of nuclear energy were therefore quite different from those of their colleagues, say, from the Museum of Science and In­ dustry in Chicago, where private com­ panies designed entire sections. At the VDNKh, exhibitions were prepared with­ out straightforward conflicts of interest: supposedly the Party, the country, the VDNKh, and even the visitors, had one common interest (see my discussion of guest books above) — taking part in the construction of a communist society. Iron­ ically, the lack of transparent structures of accountability might have provided space for the preservation of an enduring tech­ nological enthusiasm on the part of the pavilion’s staff, which in turn facilitat­ ed a possibly unintentional conformity to the official version of Soviet uses of nucle­ ar energy. It was only after Chernobyl that the pavilion’s staff began to question this view openly and to consider other options of displaying the blessings and quandaries of nuclear energy. In many ways, Cher­ nobyl shook the faith in modernity, and unlike the nuclear industry itself, nucle­ ar power’s celebratory representation did not survive the combination of the most severe accident at a nuclear power plant, a struggling economy, and a political system turned volatile. A second distinguishing feature of sci­ ence on display is the Soviet concept of public education. The rhetoric of ‘educat­ ing and empowering the masses’, while in many ways similar to modernist ideas elsewhere, rendered learning and teach­ ing immensely powerful. By diminishing the relevance of aspects such as enter­ tainment or consumption that dominat­ ed many Western discussions on science popularization, the Soviet model was both more patronizing and more effective. It is 146 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

precisely propaganda in its broader sense that was at work here: by disseminating political ideas through the lens of success­ ful nuclear science and technology, the VDNKh specifically aimed to influence the public’s consciousness and to mobilize them morally, in order to get them active­ ly enrolled in a common objective. The visual display of new develop­ ments in nuclear science and technolo­ gy in the pavilion symbolized a success­ ful Soviet industry orchestrated by the Communist Party, and lent the exhibits the status of established knowledge, even though many of these models were still in the planning stage.53 But if the Soviet state and its leaders wanted to draw on science as a powerful publicly accessible and universally valid rhetorical resource to legit­ imize their power, they needed a stage and some kind of public performance. On the pavilion’s stage, the boundaries be­ tween already adopted innovations and future perspectives, between experience and expectation, were consciously blurred in order to create an image of linear, rapid progress. The nuclear industry represent­ ed in the pavilion was by nature scientif­ ic and peaceful, and it promised improve­ ments in everyone’s life, despite or even because of its technical sophistication. The pavilion’s exhibitions reinforced a vision not only of particular technolo­ gies based on the use of nuclear energy, or of the country’s scientific and techno­ logical potential, but also of a social or­ der. The peaceful atom was displayed in order to create and reinforce confidence based on scientific evidence, and as a con­ sequence a strong common identity. The VDNKh’s Pavilion for Atomic Energy was one of the most prominent places war­ ranting this interpretation. In their paper on the 1958 world fair in Brussels, Schro­ eder-Gudehus & Cloutier (1994: 170) de­ scribe the Belgian organizers’ directive to display ‘what you are’, rather than ‘what you do’ as an attempt to prevent a showdown among the two main Cold Warriors. Like the fair’s organizers, the authors in­ terpret the Soviets’ response — to exhib­ it their latest scientific and technological

developments — as showing ‘what we do’, thus violating the directive. I think they are mistaken: ‘what we are’ in the Sovi­ et case was denned precisely by ‘what we do’: namely, science and technology, with huge Cyrillic letters (SSSR) printed on the artifacts displayed. Nuclear energy, staged as pivotal to technical progress, contributed signifi­ cantly to the Soviet political vision. Ian Welsh refers to the period from the late 1930s to the late 1970s as ‘peak moderni­ ty’, a period ‘when the ideological objec­ tives of nation states and the scientific am­ bitions and aspirations of various constit­ uent sciences were united behind visions of the planned transformation of society by rational, scientific means’. He sees this commitment to ‘heroic scientific projects intended to modernize the world’ as fair­ ly universal, encompassing both capitalist and socialist countries. In the Soviet case, however, science and technology were not only invoked as sources of legitimacy, but were considered the foundations of social theory itself: Marxism was considered a science.54 The pavilion spoke in the name of science and the State, and by address­ ing different groups of visitors in skillful­ ly customized ways it emphasized each in­ dividual’s potential contribution to and re­ sponsibility for the communist project. It thus aimed at enrolling all Soviet citizens in a joint politico-technological program. As I have shown in this paper, the pavil­ ion did not envision a homogeneous type of visitor. Rather, it addressed heteroge­ neous audiences, different implicit visi­ tors, in sophisticated ways. Of course, the call to implement new technologies was primarily directed toward specialists, and they were awarded medals and diplomas if they were successful. But non-specialist visitors were addressed as well. They were encouraged to feel proud and enthusias­ tic about being part of a great historical project, and responsible for the construc­ tion of a just society. The old claim that science could develop best in a democra­ cy was contested by portraying ingenui­ ty as a character trait specific to the Sovi­ et man. This constituted a strong incentive


The former Atomic Energy pavilion, now home to the “Republic of Song” weekend club

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 147


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to identify with the implied socio-techni­ cal model — even if the technical infor­ mation displayed was beyond an individu­ al’s grasp. In a sense, then, the exhibition’s effect on non-specialist visitors, ‘mold­ ing’ them into Soviet citizens, was poten­ tially even more profound than it was on specialist visitors. While specialist visi­ tors could focus on the cognitive and/or practical imperative, lay visitors had to fo­ cus on the moral imperative — or become cynics. Did the ‘disciplining of the visitor’s gaze’ work? The pavilion’s reaction to Chernobyl suggests that it did not. If the exhibitions had been a powerful instru­ ment for shaping public opinion, there would have been no reason for the respon­ sible agencies to discontinue using the pa­ vilion as a nuclear energy museum. Eco­ nomical crisis cannot be blamed, as the Soviet economy had been in trouble long before the perestroika years, and had still considered funding the VDNKh worth­ while. But Chernobyl was not the only problem that became visible as a conse­ quence of glasnost (transparency). In her study of regional protest movements un­ der Gorbachev, Glenys Babcock pointed out that ‘not even the most cynical Sovi­ et citizens could have imagined the mag­ nitude of environmental problems in the country or the enormous risks taken in the name of progress’. The VDNKh’s Pavilion for Atomic En­ ergy had shown the ‘technological fix’ to the problems facing the people’s economy that science and technology offered, and simultaneously had reinforced the faith in science propelling progress. The admin­ istration did not manage to accomplish their maneuver of adjusting the pavilion’s identity to the grim new realities of the post-Chernobyl nuclear era. It seems that even during advanced perestroika, it was impossible to render uncertainty, contro­ versy, and failure visible at the VDNKh. Ironically, but typically for Soviet history, crisis revealed the ‘normal’: the intended function of the VDNKh in general, and the pavilion in particular. This place had been created to show achievements, to impress 148 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014

through the public display of success. Vis­ itors were envisioned as enchanted spec­ tators, as curious spirits whose eagerness to learn was to be stimulated, whose pride of national accomplishment and distinc­ tion was to be substantiated, and whose creative participation in the construction of communism was to be enlisted. Which models of agency would a ‘problem show’ have implied? Perhaps critical minds, skeptical observers, or, to use Yaron Ezra­ hi’s (1990) terminology, attestive observ­ ers of transparent decision-making pro­ cesses? Criticism of science and technolo­ gy would have been incompatible with the Party’s authority, and ultimately with the perceived foundation of the Soviet state it­ self. Neither the late Gorbachev adminis­ tration, nor post-Soviet governors of the Russian Federation or Moscow were pre­ pared to assume the respective roles in such a scenario. And yet, the implied models of agency have changed dramatically since the dis­ integration of the Soviet Union. While in the previous model the State used to be depicted as a caretaker, ensuring that so­ ciety developed in scientific, logical, and therefore predictable stages, it almost dis­ appeared in the prevailing post-Soviet model of agency, leaving citizens alone in a struggle for survival. The imperative to morally support a larger social vision, the main moral directive back then, has com­ pletely vanished from the new model. In spite of that disappearance, beliefs about the State’s responsibility to take care of so­ ciety persist in today’s Russia, even when articulated as a desideratum. In combi­ nation with a nearly unshattered faith in technocratic expertise, this reflects a sur­ prisingly enduring confidence in the fea­ sibility of a just polity by rational, scien­ tific means. It also shows the persistence and continuity of modernist beliefs. Exhi­ bitions at the VDNKh today either contin­ ue along the conventional enlightenment format, which envisions visitors as enthu­ siasts (but has to allow for potential disin­ terestedness or cynicism), or they follow a clearly defined consumer model in the tra­ dition of trade fairs, addressing specific,

professional target audiences. In gener­ al, today’s exhibitions aim at showing and selling, not at enrolling (that is, inspiring, convincing, and mobilizing) their visitors. So have learners become consumers? Has the market model seamlessly super­ seded the celebratory model? It is an in­ teresting paradox that during the VDNKh days, when visitors were envisioned as active, engaged learners, they were en­ rolled as committed, creative citizens by the Soviet state, and yet that same State deprived them de facto of the most basic forms of meaningful participation.55 To­ day, visitors to the VDNKh (or the WTs) are imagined as consumers: they are (al­ most with ostentation) let believe what­ ever they want. Learning, knowing, or be­ coming active in a political sense is con­ sidered optional, or even undesirable, behavior. If anything, they are ‘enrolled’ in celebrating the market and indulging in consumption. It is a bitter irony that due to an inability to spend money, their par­ ticipation in this model of agency is just as severely limited as in the previous one. Notes 1 A note on terminology: I use exhibition to refer to a coherent whole that is exhibited (or displayed) at a certain location, for a certain time (Exhibition with a capital ‘E’ sometimes stands for VDNKh). An exhibit is one part of such an exhibition, an object or a set of objects. Curator refers to a person responsible for the conceptual work preceding an exhibition, and the management of ongoing exhibitions. Exhibitors are the individuals, institutions, and organizations providing exhibits for an exhibition. All translations from Russian and German are mine, unless otherwise noted. I use the US Library of Congress conventions for transliterating Russian words, except in those instances, where they have entered habitual language use in a different version (for example, Chernobyl, glasnost). 2. In 1992, the ‘Exhibition of the Achievements 2 Since this essay was written, the ‘Worker and Collective Farm Woman’ statue to which Schmid refers has indeed been reconstructed. The revealing of the restored monument was held on the evening of December 4, 2009, accompanied by fireworks. The restored statue now stands atop a museum and exhibition center. - Ed.


3 In 1992, the ‘Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy of the USSR’ (VDNKh SSSR) was renamed the ‘AllRussian Exhibition Center’ (Vserossiiskii Vystavochnyi Tsentr, WTs). Since the Pavilion for Atomic Energy as such existed only until 1989, I have used the label ‘VDNKh’ throughout this paper, except in the archival references, where I use the current acronym. 4 See, for example, Karp & Lavine (1991) and Macdonald (1998a). Note also a renewed interest in and emphasis on ‘users’ and ‘publics’ in Science and Technology Studies (Wynne, 1995; Kline & Pinch, 1996; Yearley, 2000; Oudshoorn & Pinch, 2003), and the strong orientation towards readers in contemporary literary studies and the new rhetoric (for example, Nelson et al., 1987; Gross, 1990; Simons, 1990; Selzer, 1993; Gross & Keith, 1997). 5 Otchet o rabote pavil’ona za 1973 g. [Report on the Pavilion’s Work in 1973], RGANTD (Samara) f.127, op.3, t.3, d.5158. I will henceforth refer to these documents as ‘reports’: they are annual descriptions of the pavilion’s activities produced by the pavilion’s staff. RGANTD stands for Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv nauchno tekhnicheskoi dokumentatsii [Russian State Archive for Scientific and Technical Documentation]. Pre-1974 archival documents pertaining to the history of the VDNKh have been transferred to the Samara branch of the RGANTD for reasons of storage capacity. Post-1974 documents are kept at the Archive of theW Ts (AWTs) in Moscow. 6 For an historical account of Soviet fairground architecture, with a focus on the development of national styles, see Castillo (1997). 7 For example Svetlyi put’, General’naia liniia, Svinarka i pastukh (Noever & MAK, 1994). 8 Anna Kotomina called my attention to Pugacheva’s song. 9 Other examples of miniature celebrations of Soviet glory are Moscow’s (and St Petersburg’s) subway stations; see Jenks (2000) and Neutatz (2001). 10 Compared with Mukhina’s earlier sculpture, this might indicate a shift from ‘native’ to ‘professional’ identities. I owe this speculative idea to Dmitrii Saprykin. 11 See Beetlestone et al. (1998), Bradburne (1998), Durant (1992), Farmelo & Carding (1997), Karp & Lavine (1991) and Persson (2000). 12 On Frank Oppenheimer’s Exploratorium, see Macdonald (1998a: 16) and Barry (1998). 13 All these sources are clearly fragmented: for example, I was not able to look at all documents from before 1974 (which are kept at the RGANTD in Samara). 14 Postanovlenie SM SSSR iTsKKPSS

No. 452 ‘Operestroike raboty VDNKh’ [Decree issued by the USSR Council of Ministers and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR ‘On the Reconstruction of the VDNKh’], 18 April 1963. 15 I use the word ‘actors’ not only in a performative sense, but also as a term denoting people involved with the pavilion’s activities. However, given the staged character of the pavilion, the dramaturgical allusion is not completely unintended. 16 AWTs, f.4, op.35, ind.21, ed.khr., 1.5. 17 AWTs f.127, op.4, d.3394. 18 Cf. report 1978, AWTs f.4, op. 35, ind.20, ed.khr.4, 1.2-3. 19 Cf. report 1983 (AWTs, f.4, op.35, ind.25, ed.khr.3,1.3). 20 Report 1971 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.3, t.l, d.1575). 21 Cf., for example, the 1985 report (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.27, ed.khr.3). 22 Reports 1968 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.2, t.4, d.6315) and 1972 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.3, t.2, d.3526). 23 Report 1982 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.24, ed.khr.5, 1.20). 24 Reports 1980 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.22, ed.khr.4,1.23), and 1981 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.23, ed.khr.6,1.19). 25 Report 1984 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.26, ed.khr.6,1.11). The State Committee existed until 1986, when after Chernobyl the Soviet nuclear industry’s management was reorganized (Sidorenko, 2001). 26 Report 1978 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.20, ed.khr.4, 1.7). 27 Report 1980 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.22, ed.khr.4, 1.13-14). 28 Report 1983 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.25, ed.khr.3, 1.14). 29 Report 1980 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.22, ed.khr.4, 1.21). 30 Report 1981 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.23, ed.khr.6, 1.3). 31 Report 1982 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.24, ed.khr.5, 1.18). 32 Cf. on 1960, RGANTD (Samara) f.127, op.l, t.2, d.1627. 33 Report 1981 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.23, ed.khr.6, 1.19). 34 VDNKh SSSR, PaviVon ‘Atomnaia Energiia’, Kniga otzyvov ipredlozheniiposetitelei pavil’ona, AWTs f.4, op.35, op.22, ed.khr.15. 35 Report 1985 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.27, ed.khr.7, 1.18). 36 Report 1968 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.2, t.4, d.6315). 37 Report 1980, AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.22, ed.khr.4, 1.3. 38 Unfortunately, I do not have comparative data for other pavilions, nor have I been able to identify criteria for how these prizes were awarded. 39 Report 1984 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.26,

ed.khr.6,1.23). 40 For concepts of learning in museums developed in Western contexts, see especially Hein (1988) and Hein & Alexander (1998). 41 Report 1968 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.2, t.4, d.6315); see alsoTikhanov (1957: 3) and Petrunia (1973: 3-4). 42 Today, the Polytechnic museum has the only publicly accessible permanent exhibition on nuclear energy in Moscow that I am aware of. Nuclear energy is part of a hall devoted to energy production, and features a number of models. There is also a high quality exhibition administered by the Division of Exhibitions and Marketing (Vystavochno-marketingovyi otdel) within the Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy (the former Ministry for Atomic Energy, MinAtom. I am grateful to Galina V. Gorshtein for introducing me to this exhibition in the summer of 2004). 43 Report 1971 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.3, t.l, d.1575, 1.1). 44 Report 1966 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.2, t.2, d.2752). 45 Report 1966 (RGANTD [Samara] f.127, op.2, t.2, d.2752, 1.15). 46 Report 1976 (AWTs f.127, op.4, ed.khr.1707, 1.4). 47 Report 1987 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.29, ed.khr.9, 1.10). 48 Report 1986 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.28, ed.khr.3, 1.14). 49 Personal communication with a former guide and curator, Moscow, January 2001. 50 Report 1986 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.28, ed.khr.3, 1.25). 51 Report 1987 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.29, ed.khr.9, 1.9). 52 This phenomenon has been thoroughly described for Western contexts (Schroeder Gudehus, 1978; SchroederGudehus & Rasmussen, 1992; SchroederGudehus et al., 1993; Lewenstein, 1996; Molella, 1997, 1999; Gieryn, 1998). 53 See report 1980 (AWTs f.4, op.35, ind.22, ed.khr.4, 1.2) and Biagioli (1990). 54 For post-Stalinist struggles between scientists and Marxist philosophers over the authority to define what ‘science’ was or should be in a socialist society, see Ivanov (2002). 55 I am indebted to Charles Thorpe for emphasizing that the very idea of a workers’ democracy clashed with the reality of the authoritarian, bureaucratic Soviet state.

Originally published in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Jun., 2006). New York: Sage Publications, Ltd. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 149


How I Do It

A master explains his methods and madness

Iakov Chernikhov on How to Bridge Fantasy and Functionality For decades, Iakov Chernikov’s artistic and educational experiments have been influencing designers, architects, and illustrators around the world. They reveal that, through rigorous adherence to constructive principles, namely the linking of all formal, com­positional, and technical elements into a single coherent whole, architects can be liberated to explore the deepest recesses of their aesthetic fantasies while remaining confident that their proposals will be perfectly functional, once the correct technological or programmatic circumstances are in place. In this imaginary interview, based on fragments of the architect’s writing, the founder of Chernikhov Creative Solutions talks to Fair Enough about his inspirations, techniques, and the nature of beauty.

150 · Fair Enough · June 4-8 2014


VISIT CHERNIKHOV CREATIVE SOLUTIONS AT BOOTH A6

June 4-8 2014

Fair Enough 151


HOW I DO IT

What I am trying to do is establish the clear and precise basis for constructive concepts and principles, and to elucidate their essence, their logic, their rules and their laws.

Iakov Chernikhov

152 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014


Fair Enough: Chernikhov Creative Solutions specializes in a design approach that you call ‘constructive’. What exactly is constructive design? Constructive principles are as ancient as man’s creative abilities. Primitive man, in building his dolmens, triliths, crypts, and other erec­ tions was unconsciously operating with exactly these principles. Over the centuries, the forms generated by those principles have become complex and highly differentiated, in propor­ tion to the differentiation of cultures over that period. In many creative works of the histor­ ic past, constructive elements were not clearly expressed or displayed in their own right, but were masked by decorative treatments. Under­ neath the surface of great works of any style, however, one finds that the overall design of a building, in its plan, elevations and three-di­ mensional composition, unquestionably pos­ sesses that unity which derives from a basis of constructively connected planar and spatial elements. Today, Man’s need to construct the objects that surround his life imperiously dictates that he seek a rational and principled exit from what has become a vague and indefinite situ­ ation. Both the mighty construction effort and the grandiose technology of our time are ad­ vancing at such a pace that man, surrounded by them, must grasp, understand and study all the stages, laws and qualities of how ob­ jects are constructed. We not only want to know the fundamentals underlying con­ structive work; we must know them. In oth­ er words, the need to understand constructive principles has become the paramount need of our time. What I am trying to do is establish the clear and precise basis for constructive concepts and principles, and to elucidate their essence, their logic, their rules and their laws. This effort you describe, to define the laws of constructive designs, is inspired and influenced by your role as a teacher, at the Moscow Architectural Institute, among other places. How do you instill these principles in an unfamiliar young designer? Every individual has the capacity of imagina­ tion, since it is a characteristic derived from na­ ture. The task of manifesting each person’s cre­

Iakov Chernikhov, The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 26.

Iakov Chernikhov, The Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms, pg 33.

The Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms, pg 29.

Iakov Chernikhov, The Art of Descriptive Drawing, pg 7.

ative capacities, however, is a very exact and difficult one. The whole question demands that we examine very carefully the tasks that occupy a student during architectural educa­ tion, and the kind of objects which the student is called upon to depict. Unquestionably, one of the best means of nurturing a new type of architect and design is the conscious application of those forms which are in general termed ‘non-objective’. Specific functions or subject matter as such do not play any part in this course of teach­ ing. Not once do we use real briefs or prob­ lems. The whole methodology is based upon the development of ‘combinations’ and ‘as­ semblages’ of lines, planes, and volumes, in­ dependent of what the given elements may represent. Just as an appropriate assembly of sounds gives us musical products, so too we construct and assemble a representation in which lines, planes and volumes can be musi­ cally tuned. Thus we create a skilled compos­ er of new forms. But isn’t one of architecture’s defining aspects its responsiveness? As your compatriot Alexey Shchusev once said, an architect is unlike other artists in that he is forced to take his creative motive from without, in an externally defined task. Even a correctly analyzed brief cannot have any formal expression if the executant is not sufficiently the master of the disciplines of spatial and formal invention. The develop­ ment of a live capacity for fantasy must be the central theme of all our work. The inter­ esting result of this non-objective approach is that we produce an executant who is freely ca­ pable of handling tasks that are based on real subject matter, for the non-objective and real are erected upon identical principles of form. With the help of so-called non-objective el­ ements we have the possibility of creating a series of the most fantastic formal construc­ tions which are not initially constrained by any direct practical application, but in return possess properties which make them avail­ able for real and direct application in the fu­ ture. Having been trained through the de­ velopment of multiple series of constructive structures and through designing multiple di­ verse combinations, we shall be fully equipped

The Art of Descriptive Drawing, pg 25.

The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 21.

The Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms, pg 139.

June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 153


HOW I DO IT

Everything is beautiful which follows regular laws and anything which follows regular laws is also functionally appropriate.

154 路 Fair Enough 路 June 4-8 2014


for the moment when a completely new and original formal solution is required of us in the future. By this training in the free genera­ tion of logically constructed fantasies, our in­ ventive capacities will be developed to their full potential. How exactly do you do that? To achieve the specific objective which I have outlined, it is necessary to set tasks in the ‘con­ struction’ of planar and volumetric solutions. We define ‘ construction’ to be a combination of surfaces and volumes in which one part of a body or surface is rationally, compactly and in­ tegrally linked to another. Initially we set tasks in construction with line, in the ‘the construc­ tive solution of planes in space’. From the con­ struction of planar solutions we then move on to studying construction with volumes. In par­ allel, we compose the depiction as a whole, and manipulate it constructively as a ‘composition of colors’. The end products of this process can be quite amazing images. So producing amazing images is the goal of this approach? The point of these exercises is not just to achieve compositions that please us. All con­ structions will be built on sets of rules govern­ ing the compositions as a whole, and also on sets of rules governing the detail of form and color. We shall bear in mind that in general everything is beautiful which follows regular laws and that anything which follows regular laws is also functionally appropriate. As a total process, this will give us the pos­ sibility ‘to become accustomed to assembling’ a representation, and to inoculate the pupil with a feeling for form, volume, and space — a feeling for rhythm and a feeling for beauty. But emphasizing functional appropriateness and regularity has produced many buildings that are not particularly beautiful or inspiring. At some point, following regular laws can become an alibi for formulaic design. The constructive approach by no means de­ nies art nor supplants it by technology and en­ gineering, nor does it ignore aesthetic content and the means of artistic effect, as is main­ tained by certain art historians of our time. It

The Art of Descriptive Drawing, pg 10.

The Art of Descriptive Drawing, pg 15.

The Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms, pg 221.

does not seek to solve particular aspects of a problem in isolation, but aims at the best uti­ lization of all the possibilities, both the formal and compositional, and the technical and con­ structional, by linking them together in a cre­ ative process of synthesis. The task of the architect is all the more complex precisely because it must have a mea­ sure of both practical utility and art. Architec­ ture becomes an art from the moment when the form or image it has created is perceived as an entity ‘of an artistic order’. The art of the architect is manifest in his capacity to utilize artistically the practical possibilities which are available to him. Leo Tolstoy regarded art as that activity through which one person consciously trans­ mits, through certain eternal signs, the feel­ ings he has experienced, and other people are infected by those feelings, which then in­ fluence their lives. In this definition, there is already a clear conception of the greater so­ cial mission of art. Art socializes human feel­ ings, on the basis of a collaborative living ex­ perience, on the basis of the ‘infectiousness’ of the beautiful. Equally important to a correct understand­ ing of the nature of art and the essence of the beautiful are the views developed by Marx, as the first to see art as a part of the superstruc­ ture of the economic base, and those others who endorsed the materialist analysis of the history of art. Considering your own position in that history, what do you feel now defines beauty? The conception of beauty in our time is not de­ termined by the cost of materials, not by their richness and variety, but by the composition­ al and constructive appropriateness, or by the expressiveness, level of resolution and formal consistency with which the final object mani­ fests its function and social purpose. Thus the architect is required to create an object that answers aesthetic concerns and the requirements of convenience to an iden­ tical degree, and gives a clear visual answer to both.

The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 52; 76.

The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 80.

The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 96.

The Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture, pg 77.

Based on translations of Chernikhov’s writings by Catherine Cooke. June 4-8 2014 · Fair Enough · 155


Last words


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Magazine of "Fair Enough" exhibition  

This is the official magazine of the exhibition "Fair Enough" in the pavilion of Russian Federation at the XIV International Architecture Ex...

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