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Socialist Moderne / Socialist Brutalism Russian Architecture, Mid-century modern

“Druzhba Holiday Center Hall” (Yalta, Ukraine, 1984)© Frederic Chaubin. This one is the hotel “Friendship”, build during Soviet era, and it was considered by CIA as some strange military object. Alexanderplatz, East Berlin The Ostankino Tower, 561m, designed by Nikolai Nikitin, Moscow, 1967 (wow!!!)
Government Building of Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek Polytechnic University (Minsk, Belarus, 1981) © Frederic Chaubin  
East Berlin Alexanderplatz, East Berlin East Berlin
The architect who designed this building was influenced by a sketch of an imaginary city drawn by a Russian artist. “Roads Ministry” (Tbilisi, Georgia, 1975) © Frederic Chaubin   Youth Palace, Yerevan, Armenia
The Novgorod regional Drama Theatre named after F. Dostoevsky , 1987    
administrative building in the town of rapla, estonia. completed in 1977 and designed by another local star, toomas rein. Local people call this building the Monster.. “Soviet Palace” (Kalinigrad, Russia, 1975) © Frederic Chaubin the huge linnahall building in tallinn, originally the palace of culture and sports, completed in 1980 and designed by the soviet-time star architect raine karp with riina altmäe.
Housing, 1980, Moscow Monument to the Conquerors of Space in Moscow, 107m, 1964 hotel olümpia in tallinn- completed in 1980 and designed by estonian architects toivo kallas and rein kersten. it has been renovated and now looks a whole lot better.
Wedding Palace (Tbilisi, Georgia, 1985) © Frederic Chaubin BELEXPO, Minsk, Belarus, USSR, 1988 Tblisi, Georgia, 1980- For five years "The Ears of Andropov" served as the grandstand for the Leaders of the Realm on the occasion of the Great Russian Revolution Parade.
 
The Radical Ambiguity of Stalinist Architecture


Tblisi, Georgia, 1980

I was sent a link yesterday to a page of quite remarkable buildings from the arse end of the Soviet Union, a bestiary of truly remarkable structures, all united only by an extravagantly SF appearance. Quite what spurred this on is rather mysterious- a response to the identikit housing blocks that made the term 'bloc' so appropriate, an expression of frustration at Brezhnevian stagnancy, technocratic romanticism..? Peculiarly, there seems to have been rather a lot of this in the late Brezhnev era, much of which seems similarly fortress like, futuristic and millenarian- such as this astoundingly brackish theatre in Grodno or this one in Novosibirsk- as if all this were a response to the reheating of the Cold War at the turn of the 80s.


The Moscow Olympic indoor arena, 1980

Inexplicably, last year the uninteresting sophisto-lads mag An Other Man featured a lavishly illustrated eulogy to the Soviet Republics' 'local moderns', usually vast complexes built in the likes of Almaty or Tashkent which welded together a recognisably Central Asian form with an unrelentingly futurist bent. The slogan of Stalinist socialist realism was 'National in Form, Socialist in Content': a vague, politically dubious phrase, though a possible explanation in its sheer impossibility for such works. While the postmodernist attempt to fuse a future of financial hegemony and a cap-doffing to the past usually resulted in utter blandness, these places, driven by a smilar impulse, seemed to capture the most wildly despotic forms of both.

Alexanderplatz, East Berlin
 
 
It isn't just through these late flourishes that Stalinist architecture differs so radically with that of Fascism and particularly Nazism. Nazi architecture, whether in its urban, neo-Classical version or in its ruralist manifestation, was always determinedly middlebrow. Cottages, follies or buildings of state were sober, based firmly on tradition, faithful to it. Compare this with Stalin's phantasmagorias, with their excresences and eclecticism. The awe-inspiring (for various reasons) film below, New Moscow of 1938 encapsulates this. Made a couple of years after the vanquishing of Constructivism and at the height of the purges, it imagines a future that evokes the lumbering attempts at historical continuity of London's 80s, the visions of a mutant New York in Metropolis, and the neo-classical desolation in de Chirico, and seems to think this is a thing to celebrate.
 
Thanks to http://nastybrutalistandshort.blogspot.com