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Soviet Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

New Short Film Explores The Urban Landscapes of Ukraine’s Socialist Era

The built manifestation of an ideology, the urban landscape left behind by the socialist regimes around Europe are removed from the aspirations of contemporary urban living, thus trigger a unique process of re-appropriation of the post-soviet landscapes. The short film Landscape Architecture: Rethinking The Future out of a Totalitarian Past created by Minimal Movie invites a conversation around urban planning, cultural identity, and community building relating to the urbanism and architecture of Ukraine's Socialist Era.

Courtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal Movie+ 8

The Winding Saga of the Restoration of the Narkomfin, an Icon of Soviet Constructivism

If you wandered down Novinsky Boulevard in central Moscow five years ago looking for the Narkomfin building, you’d have been greeted by a sorry sight. The Narkomfin, the poster child for Constructivist architecture designed by Moisey Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinis in 1928, had been slowly falling into a state of dereliction after being left unloved for 45 years. Paint peeling, concrete crumbling, and windows broken—not to mention the numerous, muddling alterations made to the block of flats, including a completely new ground floor.

The apartment block is raised on pilotis, a hallmark of High Modernism. An indoor bridge connects this main structure to an ancillary building, which was originally designed to contain communal spaces. Image © Ivan MuraenkoOne of the 44 apartments in the building. Private kitchens were gradually added since the building’s opening in 1930–32. Image © Ivan MuraenkoA common area in the ancillary structure, whose curved, glazed facade contrasts with the residential block’s curvilinearity. Image © Ivan MuraenkoA view from the roof, looking north, with the Stalin-era Kudrinskaya Square Building in the left background. Image © Ivan Muraenko+ 5

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Sci-fi Cinemas

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Cinemas.

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Communist Culture and Socialist Sports

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Communist Culture and Socialist Sports.

Eastern Bloc Buildings: Monolithic Housing Blocks

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Monolithic Housing Blocks.

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Eccentric Urban Buildings

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Eccentric Urban Buildings.

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Colossal Libraries

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Colossal Libraries.

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Futuristic Hotels and Avant-Garde Resorts

This article is part of "Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era", a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Futuristic Hotels and Avant-Garde Resorts.

The American-Inspired Russian Architecture

Boris Iofan’s winning proposal for Palace of the Soviets. Image Courtesy of Arkadi Mordvinov, Vyacheslav K. Oltarzhevsky/Tchoban Foundation
Boris Iofan’s winning proposal for Palace of the Soviets. Image Courtesy of Arkadi Mordvinov, Vyacheslav K. Oltarzhevsky/Tchoban Foundation

From the famous Kitchen Debate between Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon to the popularity of Henry Ford within the USSR, the hundreds of factories designed by Detroit engineer Albert Kahn for Soviet Russia, and skyscrapers erected in Moscow, the Cold War had a peculiar side to it, that is the Russian fascination with American culture and technology.

Moscow's Underappreciated Architecture Now in Digitalized Book

After the success of the original guide-book on underrated Soviet architecture, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is publishing an English version of the bestselling guide: Moscow: A Guide to Soviet Modernist Architecture 1955–1991 in a new digitalized format with six new chapters.

© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art+ 10

Abandoned Soviet-Era Infrastructure Captured by Danila Tkachenko

Last week, we covered the work of Moscow-based visual artist Danila Tkachenko, whose “Monuments” project appropriated abandoned Russian Orthodox churches with abstract modernist shapes. Tkachenko’s further work, “Restricted Areas” is equally as impressive, focusing on the human impulse towards utopia through technological progress.

The “Restricted Areas” photography set distills humanity’s strive to perfection through recording abandoned Soviet infrastructure. Traveling to now-deserted landscapes which once held great importance as centers of technological progress, Tkachenko captured images of “forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity” and a “technocratic future that never came.”

© Danila Tkachenko© Danila Tkachenko© Danila Tkachenko© Danila Tkachenko+ 15

The Doomed Monuments of Revolutionary Europe Through the Lens of Darmon Richter

British researcher Darmon Richter has recently released Monumentalism, a visual study of over 200 photographs featuring socialist architecture and designs built by 20th century regimes around the world. These photos were taken in more than 30 different countries and show a broad range of subject matter, from military parades in the former Soviet Union to revolutionary memorial sites. See more after the break.

Monument to the Nine Kherkheulidze Brothers. Image © Darmon RichterDudik Memorial Park. Image © Darmon RichterArmenian Genocide Memorial. Image © Darmon RichterGates of Artsakh. Image © Darmon Richter+ 11

Celebrate Ukraine's Soviet Brutalist Architecture with this New Short Film

The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991 came not only with political, economic, and social implications but also left behind a distinctive style of architecture. This architecture, under the Soviet regime, was a system that relied on quantifiable targets, such as the Five Year Plan. These quotas forced architects to evaluate building projects in terms of material and labor costs, number of units, volume of skilled and unskilled labor, and so forth. As a result, architecture across these regions became an industrial commodity, an outward flex of power and technological innovation, and a collective of architects executing a Stalinist vision.

7 Sites in Havana That Tell the Story of Cuba’s Rich Architectural History

Havana is often referred to as a time machine that transports visitors to a particular moment in history, seemingly frozen in time. While it is a city that boasts an exhaustive timeline of imported styles, Havana in the present day is not defined by a singular historical era—either in its political climate or in its architectural zeitgeist.

Over the decades, the Cuban Revolution has had powerful domestic and international repercussions. In particular, it transformed Cuba’s relationship with the United States. But efforts to improve diplomatic relations have gained momentum in recent years, with the teetering lift of the embargo that exacerbated a David and Goliath situation and left a lasting economic impact on the Cuban people. Havana’s skyline has hardly altered since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the city became shut off from the rest of the world, having to rely heavily on its own resources. Today, the government in Havana occupies the gap between the last stance of post-Cold War communism, and the looming influence of Capitalism, a situation which reveals itself in the variety of distinct architectural styles. These seven sites in the island nation’s capital best explain the story about where Havana has been, and offer a prediction as to where it may head next.

© Evan Chakroff© Evan Chakroff© Evan Chakroff© Evan Chakroff+ 30

How Slovakia's Soviet Ties Led to a Unique Form of Sci-Fi Architecture

Memorial and Museum of the Slovak National Uprising, by architect Dušan Kuzma, 1963-1970. Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. Image © Stefano Perego
Memorial and Museum of the Slovak National Uprising, by architect Dušan Kuzma, 1963-1970. Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. Image © Stefano Perego

The history of Slovakia is riddled with political unrest and unwanted occupation, with the Slovak people having repeatedly been denied a voice throughout history. In the years following World War I, Slovakia was forced into the common state of Czechoslovakia; the territory was dismembered by the Nazi regime in 1938 and occupied by the Nazis for most of the Second World War, before being eventually liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces in 1945. Over the next four decades of communist rule—first by communists within Czechoslovakia itself and then later by the Soviet Union—the architecture of Slovakia came to develop into a unique form of sci-fi postmodernism that celebrated the shift in industrial influence at the time.

Photographer Stefano Perego has documented the Slovakian architecture from the 1960s–80s and has shared some of his photos with ArchDaily.

Slovak Radio Building, by architects Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič and Barnabáš Kissling, 1967-1983. Bratislava, Slovakia. Image © Stefano Perego"UFO", by sculptor Juraj Hovorka, 1979. Restored in 2014. Bratislava, Slovakia. Image © Stefano PeregoBridge of the Slovak National Uprising, by A. Tesár, J. Lacko and I. Slameň, 1967-1972. Bratislava, Slovakia. Image © Stefano PeregoFountain of Union, by sculptors Juraj Hovorka, Tibor Bártfay, Karol Lacko and architects Virgil Droppa and Juraj Hlavica, 1979-1980. Bratislava, Slovakia. Image © Stefano Perego+ 18