Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fantasy and Construction

I was pleased to find what appears to be a reprint of Catherine Cooke's AD profile of Yakov Chernikhov, one of the leading avant-garde architects of the early Soviet era.  Like many of these architects, his ideas remain largely on paper as the rise of Soviet realism in the 1930s had little room for these "futurists," with their ideas being absorbed by European schools like the Bauhaus in Weimer Germany.  The Architectural Design Profile is pretty hard to find these days and fetches a collector's price, but the Dom book is readily available.

I don't talk much about architecture in this blog, but it was a major component of the early Soviet period, with architects like El Lissitzky working with Mayakovsky on For the Voice, a pamphlet that evocatively captured the era.  Here is a wonderful short animation feature based on the book.  Lissitzky would eventually have a profound influence on European modern movements, particularly in his use of the "proun."

Chernikhov did get at least one project built - this water tower for the Red Nail Maker's Factory in St. Petersburg.  Like so many of the projects from that era it was constructed in reinforced concrete and has managed to weather the test of time.

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