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  2. Stalin

Stalin: The Latest Architecture and News

This Public Transit Series Celebrates Moscow's Contemporary Metro Stations

06:00 - 12 July, 2018
This Public Transit Series Celebrates Moscow's Contemporary Metro Stations , © Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media
© Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media

Beautifully integrating graphic design and architecture, the newest release from Blue Crow Media's transit series recognizes a selection of the most unique public transit stations in Moscow. Moscow Metro Architecture & Design, the second installment in the series, was curated by architectural historian Nikolai Vassiliev with photography by Alexei Narodizkii. It features the most unique and influential examples of architecture and decoration across what is widely considered to be "the most impressive network of stations in the world."

© Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media © Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media © Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media © Alexei Narodizkii for Blue Crow Media + 10

These Drone Photographs Reveal the Hidden Geometries of Late Soviet Modernism

10:30 - 20 December, 2015
These Drone Photographs Reveal the Hidden Geometries of Late Soviet Modernism, © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko
© Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko

Though the ahistorical dogma of modernism would seem a perfect fit for the Soviet Union’s mandated break with traditions, the architectural history of the USSR was somewhat more complex. Stalin’s neoclassically-inflected socialist realism superseded the constructivist heyday of the early Soviet Union, only to be replaced by a return to modernism under Khrushchev, facilitated by an opening to the West. Architectural photographers Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko recently used a drone to capture photographs of several landmark structures of the Khrushchev-era return to modernism, focusing on how these aerial views reinforce their rational geometries and regimented forms. Until the recent advent of satellite imagery and commercially available drones, these were views that were only ever seen by the architects, and the officials who reviewed the plans. Even so, the photographer notes that these methodical forms must have been very attractive to the state officers tasked with implementing Khrushchev’s mandated aesthetic.

The photographs, taken in and around Moscow, include works by several prominent Soviet architects. Leonid Pavlov’s long career spanned the full spectrum of state-sponsored architectural styles, starting as a constructivist, and moving into more historicist designs under Stalin, before emerging as one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent post-war modernists. Similarly, Yuri Platonov’s work received extensive state recognition, earning him the title of “People’s architect of the USSR,” as well as awards such the Silver Medal of the Arts Academy of the USSR, the USSR State Prize, and the State Prize of Russia.

Druzhba Multipurpose Arena / Y. Bolshakov, and I. Rozhin. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko Orlov Museum of Paleontology / Yuri Platonov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko V. I. Lenin Museum in Gorki / Leonid Pavlov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry / Yuri Platonov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko + 33

Why Putin Likes Columns: 21st Century Russia Through the Lens of Architecture

00:00 - 15 January, 2015
Why Putin Likes Columns: 21st Century Russia Through the Lens of Architecture, Rendering of the proposed Lakhta Center in St Petersburg. Image Courtesy of www.proektvlahte.ru
Rendering of the proposed Lakhta Center in St Petersburg. Image Courtesy of www.proektvlahte.ru

In August 1932, Stalin, holidaying in Sochi, sent a memo containing his thoughts on the entries for the competition to design the Palace of the Soviets, the never-to-be-built monument to Lenin and center of government. In this memo he selected his preferred design, the colossal wedding cake of a tower topped with a 260-foot (79-meter) high statue of Lenin, designed by Boris Iofan. Just over 80 years later, Sochi again hosted the architectural whims of a powerful Russian leader for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. An oversimplification? Probably. But it’s got nice symmetry to it.

The Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, one of the most famous examples of the Stalinist "Wedding cake" style. Image © Flickr CC user Sergey Norin The Mountain Cluster of the Sochi Olympic Village. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia user Ivanaivanova Drawing of the proposed Palace of the Soviets by Boris Iofan. Image Courtesy of http://russiatrek.org Moscow's International Business Centre in 2011. Image © Flickr CC user Andrew Beirne + 7