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DESIGNING THE REVOLUTION This exhibition is organized by building type and presents years of Soviet architecrute through vintagephotographs from Shchusev State Museum of Architecture and the nowadays photographs made by Richard Pare, which illustrated their condition today. Constructivism - was a new, radical visual language that proclaimed the world of Soviet Socialism. Very complex and contradictory era of the early XX century has left us a legacy of eternally youthful revolutionary art - Russian avantgarde, with the most striking manifestation - Constructivist architecture.Although constructivism is Soviet art, its ideas have arisen before.For example, you can see some signs of this style even in the Eiffel Tower. But, of course, in the development of innovative proletarian art, the USSR was ahead. Brothers Leonid, Viktor, and Alexander Vesnins, Michail Ginzburg, Konstantin Melnikov, Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin - the most famous artists, who developed this style in its various manifestations, such as architecture, aesthetics, design, drawing, painting and photography. These creative people of 1920-1930 rejected the principle “art for art’s sake” and decided that art should bring exclusively a practical idea. Geometrism, flat roofs, abundant glass, non-traditional forms, the total lack of decor - are the distinguishing signs of this architecture. Constructivism was also a reaction to the aristocratic and merchant architecture, very arrogant, pompous and classically traditional.Unusual for new buildings were not only the shape but also types of buildings: homes, communes, dormitories - it all reflects utopian ideas of new, revolutionary life, where is no place for anything to bourgeois and individual. People should be together and have a common life. In 1924 Ginzburg and brothers Vesnins create Union of Modern Architects, which consisted of best constructivists. The had their own magazine since 1926, titled “Modern Architecture”, thatexisted only five years. Constructivism is a phenomenon and even a little bit romantic, because of its remarkable and rebellious spirit. May be in the life the consequences of this revolutionary spirit are very questionable, but the art of this time left us its unusualness and brightness. The fresh new wind that blew merchant nap - a bird that for flying should eat its own meat (it’s a metaphor for the destruction of old thing, that referred Paperny) - it was just the direction to the infinity. These strange, even by today, buildings give us feeling of coldness and heartless, almost lifeless, mechanical world - like barns and barracks. M. Ginzburg wrote: « It is a continuous mechanization of life, and the machine is a new element of our everyday and ordinary life, psychology and aesthetics. “


1928-1932 In 1928-30, Moisei Ginsburg and Milinis built Narkomfin Building on Novinskiy Boulevard in Moscow. This building was a ‘social condenser’ as attempt to embody socialist and principles in its structure. That’s why house was designed for living without interrupting the production - it has several buildings with different funtcions. The apartment blocks were built for employees of the Commissariat of Finance (or ‘Narkomfin’), and featured collective facilities, roof gardens and a parkland setting. There were a living area, dining room, gym, library, social services, nursery, kindergarten and workshops. Now days, the building is in dilapidated state, almost in ruins. Most of the apartments are now empty, but because is a beautifull and very important representant of constructivism is on the UNESCO´s “Endangered Buildings” list and theres an international camgpain to save it.

Top: view from south Bottom: view from east



1927 Life, work and creativity was trying to unite in his famous homestudio in Krivoarbatsky lane the chief architect of the Russian avantgarde - artist Konstantin Melnikov. It’s one of the archetectural masterpieces of the 20th century. Located in the Arbat, aristocratic quarter of Moscow. It is amazing building with lots of round hexagonal small windows. But the people, that were inside this house, said that this impression is false, Melnikov’s house quite spacious. It consist of two interlocking cylinders, that were built of brick covered with stucco in the manner of Russian churches. The architect loved his family and wanted to join a workshop and living space, and at the same time to make the way of life perfect. At his lecture about this masterpiece of constructivism, he told many interesting things. For example, Melnikov thought that people spent a lot of time doing nothing, during sleep. He worked a lot trying to find out how man can use a sleep, but could not find out it. Melnikov lives in this house until his death in 1974, and then his son until he died in 2005. The house itself is built as two interlocking brick cylinders, the front one lit by a glazed straight wall at the front of the house, the back one by geometrically arranged hexagonal windows. The interior is equally as unconventional, with all the family sleeping in one large room, painted yellow with softened corners.

At present the rate of the House’s wear is assessed as high. There is a threat of the building collapse – due to the complicated geological conditions of the underlying land plot and because of the active construction work started right nearby. According to Melnikov´s will, the State Museum of the Melnikovs, father and son, should be established in the House. However, the State has never taken any steps towards establishing the Museum due to the unsettled situation with the ownership rights for the whole house and the property.At present Konstantin Melnikov’s granddaughter Ms. Karinskaya resides in the House and is responsible for its preservation and security.



Complex composition Melnikov’s Rusakov Workers’ Club (1927-1928) on the Strominka street in Moscow makes a very strong impression. Workers’ Club was named in memory of the leader of Bolshevik’s organization. Despite the complexity, this building looks very solid and dynamic. From the first veiw it impresses with its three white balconies, audiences that are connected to the auditorium. The club is built on a fan-shaped plan, with three cantilevered concrete seating areas rising above the base. Each of these volumes can be used as a separate auditorium, and combined they result in a capacity of over 1,000 people. At the rear of the building are more conventional office. “The aesthetic of theater is not beauty, but the force of maximal possibilities; that which people can only dream of in their everyday lives can be incarnated in the theater. To enable people to witness events that are changing with incredible speed and yet to remain alive and unharmed will be the goal of contemporary theatrical spectacles. “The theater is necessary so as to express with special force the moral substance (ideinost) of the moment, so the viewer, regar less of his individual desire, would be penetrated by one concentrated thought, along with everyone sitting with him. The theater must be convncing for everyone in it; if its persuasiveness is debatable and subject to differing interpretations, it would not be a theater. “ (- Konstantin S. Melnikov. from S. Frederick Starr. Melnikov: Solo Architect in a Mass Society. p153.)

Top: front view Bottom: side view



Another creation of Melnikov is located near Bahmetevsky bus park This is a garage for cars, its name - «Intourist». It is interesting that Melnikov joined this project only on the last stage - he needed just to draw facade, without affecting on the whole building’s construction. The facade is presented as a screen that displays cars which are passing on the internal spiral. The paradoxical idea of foreign tourism in the closed country, Melnikov saw like this: “The way of tourist has showed as infinity, that starting with a sweep of the curve and raised from a rapid pace up the space.”

Top: representation by artist PETRUS Bottom: front view



A new type of buildings of this new era - the factory kitchen - along with the house-commune - illustrates the idea of socialization of life. In small dorm rooms people had to spend a little bit of their time, and most of theirs lifes had to be held in society: to work - at the factory, to eat - in the factory-kitchen. Sometimes, these institutions were part of the building, sometimes - in a separate building. This factory kitchen was built under the slogan “Down with kitchen slavery!� by architect Meshkov. This kitchen was the first in Moscow and a third in the USSR and produced 12,000 meals per day. In the 1970s the building was rebuilt.

The Zuyev Workers’ Club



From William Veerbeek Personal Flickr Page

Zuyev Workers’ Club was built for the workers of the Union of Communal Services between 1927 and 1929, to enlighten, educate and entertain them in line with the revolution. Somewhat run down, and after interior renovations in the 1970s (which filled in extensive glazing on the northeast facade, the left of the picture above), it is still a cultural center today, with a children’s theater and a comic theater The Zuyev Workers’ Club in Moscow is a prominent work of constructivist architecture. It was designed by Ilya Golosov in 1926 and finished in 1928. The building was designed to house various facilities for Moscow workers, and utilises an innovative glazing treatment at its corner which has proved very photogenic and so the building has been seen as an iconic work of Soviet avant-garde architecture.

From Wikipedia

Golosov was an enthusiast for expressive, dynamic form rather than the logics of Constructivist design methods. The building facade consists of cylindrical glazed staircases interecting with stacked rectangular floor planes to create a dramatic composition. A sequence of club rooms and open foyers lead to an 850-seat auditorium. Today some of the fenestration has been bricked up, lessening the original perforated cubic mass into a more solid box.

The Zuyev Workers’ Club



From Wikipedia

The Svoboda Factory Club, conceived as Chemists Trade Union Club, also known as Maxim Gorky Palace of Culture was also designed by Konstantin Melnikov in 1927 and completed in 1929. The concept for Svoboda Club was a flat elliptical tube raised above ground floor pilotis. The main hall inside the tube could be used as a single arena. Each end of the tube terminated in a cubical block housing stage mechanisms and smaller halls. A perfectly symmetrical structure was visually centered with two curvilinear staircases connecting the raised main hall to the ground. In the age of total steel rationing, the tubular concept was immediately blocked. Melnikov had to minimize the use of steel to the bare minimum. The central rostrum column balanced left and right halves of the structure. They are not identical: north side end block is considerably higher than the opposite one; central rostrum hides this discrepancy.

From Wikipedia

Izvestia 1926

Izvestia was the official newspaper of the Soviet government (in contrast to Pravda which was the Party newspaper) from the 1917. The Izvestia buidling in Pushkin Square was built ten years after the Revolution to house both the offices and printing presses of Izvestia and other papers. The goverment gave a very small piece of square for this building, so the architect Grigory Barkhin in the 1927 have to realize main idea but to do it more compact. The building facade is heavily glazed and asymmetrical in the Constructivist style, based on a square grid of reinforced concrete. The circular windows in the top floor are for the editorial offices of the paper. This building even now work as a presses’ office.

Vladimir Shukhov, Shukhov Tower, 1922, Moscow, Russia. © Richard Pare, 2007

Shukhov Tower



Shukhov Tower was created in 1920-1922 years bythe talented Russian architect Vladimir Grigorievich Shukhov. This tower of Moscow is considered one of the most beautiful and famous works of engineering genius in the world. In his book “One Hundred Masterpieces of Soviet avant-garde” Shabolovskaya tower occupies second place among 100 other architectural masterpieces of Russian’s 20th century. Shukhov’s Tower was the first Russian TV tower, but now its main function - Broadcasting radio. The height of the tower is 148.3 meters, although by the first idea it had to be 350 meters in height. Decision of the necessity of building a new radio tower was taken by Bolshevik government in 1919. The creating was often interrupted because of the lack of materials. In those years, Shukhov Tower was the highest tower in Russia, and also very beautiful because of the unusual design. The originality of the architectural and engineering solutions Shukhov’s tower is also in design that will achieve the minimum wind load, which is the main threat to such high construction. Openwork steel structure combines strength and lightness. This is evidenced by the fact that the unit height of the Shukhov’s Tower spent three times less metal than the unit height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. According to the first draft of the Shukhov tower at a height of 350 meters, it was supposed to weigh only 2,200 tons, and the Eiffel Tower at a height of 300 meters weighs 7,300 tons.




For the burial of the Father of the Revolution, something special had to be arranged. Immediately after his death in 1924, a wooden mausoleum was erected on the square. In 1929, architect Aleksei Shchusev was commissioned to design a more lasting home for the body. The result, unveiled a year later, is a squat but attractive pyramid in layers of red, grey and black granite that harmonizes remarkably well with the Kremlin buildings behind it, despite its clear Constructivist influences. Shchusev’s wooden structure was built in the shape of a cube; the symbol of eternity, and Lenin’s body was placed in a glass sarcophagus past which thousands of people filed each day in mourning. Despite the objections of Lenin’s widow, Nadezhda Krupskaya, the former leader’s party colleagues saw a way to manipulate Lenin’s death to their own political advantage and decided to attempt the embalming of his body. Shchusev designed a larger mausoleum, still made from wood but this time forming a stepped pyramid from the top of which party officials could gather and make speeches on important Soviet holidays. When it became apparent that the embalming process had been successful,Shchusev began work on a stone replica of the mausoleum, which was constructed between 1929 and 1930. The mausoleum is a step-pyramid of cubes faced with red granite and black labradorite.It bears the simple inscription “Lenin” over its bronze doors, which were originally flanked by a guard of honor, who changed every hour on the hour.



Mosselprom fisrt in it days of glory, and down here, the actual estate of the building.

Communal House of the Textile Institute

communal house of the textile institute IVAN NIKOLAEV


Communal House of the Textile Institute (also known simply as Nikolaev’s House) is a constructivist architecture landmark located in the Donskoy District of Moscow, Russia. The building, designed by Ivan Nikolaev to accommodate 2000 students, was erected in 19291931 and functioned as a student dormitory until 1996.[1] As of August 2008, parts of the building are leased as office space, while the main residential block is abandoned and gutted inside; the current owner, Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, plans to rehabilitate the dilapidated structure into a modern campus.

Photo- montage of the nerver builted building designed by El Lissitzky



Constructivist building, 5 Novaya Basmannaya Street, Moscow, Russia

russian railway huoses IVAN FOMIN


Vestibule of the moscow metro



Kauchuk Club in Moscow, by Melnikov



Red Gates Square, Moscow, Russia - Headquarters of Russian Railways







Top: view from the back Bottom: front view

from Richar Anderson personal flickr

The building was one of a few showcase projects designed when Kharkiv (Kharkov) was the capital of the Ukrainian SSR. Built by a architects Sergei Serafimov, S.Kravets and M.Felger in only three years. It was to become the tallest structure in Europe for its time. Its unique feature lies in the symmetry which can only be felt at one point, in the centre of the square. The use of concrete in its construction and the system of overhead walkways and individual interlinked towers made it extremely innovative. It was rated by Reyner Banham as one of the major architectural achievements of the 1920s in his Theory and Design in the First Machine Age and comparable in scale only to the Dessau Bauhaus and the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam.[1] This allowed the structure to fully survive any destruction attempts during the Second World War. The Dezhprom complex was used as a symbol of modernity in films such as Dziga Vertov’s Three Songs about Lenin and Sergei Eisenstein’s The General Line. The building’s notability was overshadowed following the 1936 move of the Ukrainian capital to Kiev, the later denunciation of Constructivism by Stalinist Architecture and the Second World War. More recently one of its towers was used as a television centre and a TV relay tower was built on its roof.

from Igor Palmin´s personal flickr

tsentresoyuz building LE CORBUSIER, NIKOLAI KOLLI


The Tsentrosoyuz Building or Centrosoyuz Building[1] (Russian: Центросоюз) is a government structure in Moscow constructed in 1933 by Le Corbusier and Nikolai Kolli. Centrosoyuz refers to a Soviet bureaucracy, the Central Union of Consumer Cooperatives. The building included office space for 3,500 personnel, as well as a restaurant, lecture halls, a theater, and other facilities. The address of the building is 39 Ulitsa Myasnitskaya. Currently it is the home of Goskomstat (Russian: Госкомстат), the Russian State Committee for Statistics.

There were three architectural competitions for the project beginning in 1928. Le Corbusier won all three. Upon his victory in the third competition in 1928 he wrote: “I shall bring to this task all that I have learned in architecture. It is with great joy that I shall contribute what knowledge I possess to a nation that is being organized in accordance with its new spirit.” The project applied on larger scale Le Corbusier’s architectural principles: pilotis, curtain-wall façade, free floor plan, ribbon windows and flat roof. It was to accommodate 3500 people and Le Corbusier considered the question of circulation as of main importance. The system of pilotis for the accommodation of people and cars was proposed and proved to be very effective by allowing multiple access points to the building. The ramps were proposed by the architect for the interior circulation between the floors, detail that links back to his Villa Savoye. Le Corbusier said: “We have approached the problem as urban planners, that is, we have considered that corridors and stairs are, so to speak, enclosed streets. In consequence, these streets are 3.25 meters wide, and are always well lit. Moreover, we have replaced tiring flights of stairs with gently sloping (14%) ramps that allow for free and easy circulation.” In 1929, the complete set of construction plans for the Tsentrosoyuz building was sent to Moscow and work was started. However, delays were encountered due to the materials shortages caused by Stalin’s First Five-Year Plan. The building is made of reinforced concrete, with sixteeninch-thick blocks of red tuff stone from the Caucasus serving as insulation. The glass façade was intended to include an innovative heating and ventilation system. The respiration exacte (mechanical ventilation system) and the murs neutralisants (neutral walls, heating/cooling pipes between the layers of glass), both Le Corbusier’s latest inventions, as well as Gustav Lyon’s aeration ponctuelle method were considered for heating and refrigeration of the glass prisms and the interior. These innovations were rejected, in part due to the materials shortage, and in part due to the experimental character of the proposed technologies (including a critique of the systems by the experts from the American Blower Corporation as unpractical and expensive). Instead, a system of radiators was introduced for heating, and roller blinds and translucent glass meant to protect the building from heat (which proved ineffective in the hot summer months). The building was criticized by fellow Swiss architect Hannes Meyer as being “an orgy of glass and concrete”. Russian constructivist Alexander Vesnin however called it “the best building to arise in Moscow for over a century”

from Igor Palmin´s personal flickr

TROPICAL CONSTRUCTIVISM In the moment I saw the first picture of russian constructivist arquitecture my mind went back inmediatly to my hometown Caracas. And after thinking about I realize that there exists this kind of arquitecture in my country, so far away from Rusia, also because of political reassons. From 1948 til 1958 there was a dictator in Venezuela, Marcos Perez Jimenez, and whit his comunist ideas, and all the money comming from just discovered oil exploitation, he invested a lot of energy into building a country and so you could start seeing examples of “social arquitecture” in Venezuela. I guess it also has a lot to do whit the fact that the russian arquitects were the absolut fathers of modern arquitecture, and everything people did from their apparition and on in time has no way to escape the constructivist style, and Caracas is a very very modern city, so this would be the most antique kind of buildings in Venezuela. Of corse this trend was seing in Latin American way later than in the Soviet Union. This examples of modernism date from the decade of the 50´s and 60´s. Its very important to take in consideration than Venezuela was now a very wealthy country because of the oil exploitation, so there was a lot of money to invert and for the first time we see goverments reallly building a city and a country. Fruto Vivas, Tomás José Sanabria, Carlos Raul Villanueva, Jimmy Alcok , Gustavo Legorburu, Artur Khan, are some representatn of what I like to call tropical constructivism.

árboles para vivir, Fruto Vivas. Lecherías, Venezuela.

Edificio La Paz, arquitecto Alejandro Pietri, Caracas, Bello Monte, 1950

Edificio Aralar, Juliรกn de Urzurrunzaga. Caracas, 1950

Edificio Claifornia, urbanizaci贸n Las Mercedes

Nombre: Quinta Olary, o Villa Monzeglio Fecha: 1953. Moderna Autor: Nigra Montini, arquitecto (Italia)

Edificios Okendo, Elkano, Cuyuní y Yuruari. L. de Basaport. Caracas, 1948. EDIFICACIONES CIVILES / ARQUITECTURA URBANA / ESCENA URBANA Nombre: Edificios Okendo, Elkano, Cuyuní y Yuruari Fecha: 1948. Moderno Autor: L. de Basaport, arquitecto.

Quintas Aereas del Paraíso, ARQ. NATALIO JUNIS, 1958

Nombre: Quinta L y M Fecha: 1953. Moderna Autor: Guinand, Benacerraf & Vestuti, arquitectos.

Teatro Teresa Carreño,Tomás Lugo Marcano , Jesús Sandoval y Dietrich Kunckel, Caracas, Venezuela, 1984

Tomás José Sanabria, Torre Humbolt, 1957

REVOLUTION OF DESIGN Lenin created the first truly modern propaganda machine, and its most colorful, dramatic and original form was the poster. Although posters were produced in Russia before the Revolution, they were overshadowed by the remarkable propaganda posters of the Soviets. Lenin takes responsibility for creating the first truly modern propaganda machine, from postage stamps and Mayday parades to monumental sculptures. Perhaps its most colorful, dramatic and original form was the poster. Through it, the greatest artists of the time proclaimed government policies, asked for support, and demanded greater efforts - all with the goal of building Soviet power.

Soviet posters are a relatively new area of collecting. Virtually unavailable in the West until Perestroika, they were thoroughly researched by Stephen White in his 1988 monograph The Bolshevik Poster. With the decline of Communism, there is more interest than ever in the images from this bold social experiment. Although most Soviet posters were issued in editions of 5,000 to 50,000, they are extremely rare today. The primary reason is that most posters - as intended - were posted, and survived only weeks or months. The remainder were generally not recognized as valuable historical documents or collectibles at the time they were printed. They usually were recycled or lost due to the ravages of war or neglect. Others were destroyed for political reasons (it was dangerous to keep images of Trotsky after 1928, for example). The mid-’80s saw a steady trickle of images out of Russia, but that trickle has slowed, and many of the highest quality pieces are already unavailable. The works of Rodchenko, Lissitsky and Klutsis can reach into the tens of thousands, but many museum caliber pieces from before World War II are available at $300 to $1500. The Bolshevik period is particularly filled with collecting opportunities. Post WWII images can be found at less cost, but still are fascinating and valuable as collectibles

Georgi and Vladimar Stenberg

Inside double page spread from “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan� designed by Varvara Stepanova, Russian Constructivist 1932. The photomontage of Constructivism.

Novyi Lef cover designed by Alexandr Rodchenko, Russian Constructivist 1928.

Top: Older Lef (Left Front for the Arts) cover designed by Rodchenko, Russian Constructivist 1923. Bottom: Cover for “Children and the Cinema� designed by Varvara Stepanova,



a compendoium of examples of this marvelous architecture style that totally change the curse of building for ever....