The Soviet city that was never built: six visions of Moscow from the great architects of modernist Russia
After the October Revolution of 1917, Lenin moved the Russian capital from the imperial, westward-looking city of St. Petersburg back to Moscow, the traditional heart of Russia. Moscow was to be the ideal Soviet city, its factories, theaters, communal housing and government buildings representing the strength and potential of a new revolutionary society.
Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution explores Moscow as it was envisioned by a bold generation of architects in the 1920s and early 1930s. Featuring rarely seen material, this book portrays a vision of the Soviet capital that was never realized but which still haunts the city today.
Imagine Moscow focuses on six unbuilt architectural landmarks, each telling its own story about the city: Ivan Leonidov’s Lenin Institute (1927), El Lissitzky’s “Cloud Iron” (1924), Nikolai Ladovsky’s Communal House (1919), Nikolai Sokolov’s Health Factory (1927), the Vesnin brothers’ Narkomtiazhprom (1934) and Boris Iofan’s Palace of the Soviets (1932). Each of these projects introduces a theme relevant to life and ideology in the Soviet Union: collectivization, urban planning, aviation, communication, industrialization, communal living and recreation.
Large-scale architectural plans, models and drawings are placed alongside propaganda posters, textiles and porcelain, contextualizing the transformation of Moscow as a city reborn. Edited by curator Eszter Steierhoffer, this book includes essays by writer Deyan Sudjic and architecture historians Richard Anderson and Jean-Louis Cohen.
Eszter Steierhoffer is Curator at the Design Museum in London. She holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art in Critical and Historical Studies and her research interests include the history of modern and contemporary architecture exhibitions. She has organized numerous exhibitions and symposia with architectural foci, including Corner, Block, Neighbourhood, Cities. Álvaro Siza in Berlin and The Hague (2015); Zoo-topia. On Zoo Architecture as Taxonomies of National Representation (2012); and Anatomy of a Street (2010).
Richard Anderson is Lecturer in Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh. He specializes in the history of modern and contemporary architecture in North America, Europe and Eurasia. His essays have appeared in AA Files, Grey Room, Log and Future Anterior, among other journals and edited volumes. He is editor and principal translator of Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Metropolisarchitecture and Selected Essays (2012) and the author of Russia: Modern Architectures in History (2015), a cultural history of Russian architecture from 1861 to the present. His current research explores the global effects of the Soviet architectural system.
Jean-Louis Cohen, trained as an architect and historian, has been Chair for the History of Architecture at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts since 1994. Since 2014, he has been a guest professor at the Collège de France. His forty books include Architecture in Uniform (2011), The Future of Architecture Since 1889 (2012), and Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes (2013). He has curated numerous exhibitions, including Scenes of the World to Come at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (1995), Interférences / Interferenzen – Architecture, Allemagne, France at the Musées de Strasbourg (2013), and L’Aventure Le Corbusier at the Centre Pompidou (1987).
Deyan Sudjic is Director of the Design Museum. His career has spanned journalism, teaching and writing. He was the editor of Domus magazine from 2000 to 2004, and founding editor of Blueprint magazine. He has published many books on design and architecture, including The Edifice Complex (2005), The Language of Things (2008), Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture (2010), Shiro Kuramata (2013) and B is for Bauhaus (2015). His most recent book, Ettore Sottsass and the Poetry of Things, was published by Phaidon in September 2015.