Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Save the Russian Constructivist Masterpieces!

The ten years following the October Revolution in Russia were among the most fecund periods in architectural creativity. The attendant enthusiasm of reinventing a new world promised by the communist revolution spawned an avant-garde group of artists and architects that sought to express art as a relationship between sculptural objects rather than pictorial representation. This big conceptual leap called Constructivism influenced subsequent modern architecture in Europe in the late twenties and thirties, and today's elite designers borrow heavily the stylistic cues from this movement. Because it was mostly 'paper architecture', in that it was rarely ever built, it is sad to see such rare examples in such disrepair. Upon consolidating his power, Stalin pretty much ended the avant-garde movement by exclusively commissioning buildings in an austere neo-classical style. It embodied power and authoritarian values, not dynamism and abstraction. What a shame...


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