Репринт Журнала Современная Архитектура [Reprint of the Journal Modern Architecture] (1926-1930)

I came across this advertisement yesterday while searching online for any articles on the early Soviet periodical Modern Architecture.  For those who don’t spend their time painstakingly researching long-dead avant-garde movements, this publication might not mean much.  However, it’s of great historical and theoretical importance — a project featuring a truly spectacular cast of characters.  The main organ for the OSA group of architectural Constructivists, Modern Architecture was edited first by the legendary theoreticians and architects Moisei Ginzburg and Aleksandr Vesnin, later coming under the editorship of Roman Khiger, after 1928.  Its layout was designed by Aleksei Gan, author of the seminal text on Constructivism in art, Конструктивизм (1922).  A number of young Soviet modernists contributed pieces to the journal: Mikhail Barshch, Ivan Leonidov, Nikolai Krasil’nikov, Kazimir Malevich, etc.  Articles by some of the most extraordinary foreign avant-garde architects and artists were also included: Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe, and Fernand Léger.

Needless to say, I was immediately overcome with excitement. You see, last winter I spent weeks at the New York Public Library, poring over their microfiche collection of the 1927-1930 editions of Modern Architecture (they didn’t have the volume for 1926).  I sat there using their clumsy old machines, struggling to center the pages exactly and bring them into focus by using the different microscopic lenses, only to make poor-quality printouts in the end.  So now that Tatlin press is re-releasing it in full, 80 years after Stalin’s government forced them to cease its publication, I can honestly say I’m stoked.  Here’s the description included in the ad:

ISBN 978-5-903433-12-4

редактор составитель — Эдуард Кубенский
вступительная статья — Жан-Луи Коэн
5 томов, 1076 стр., 24.0х34.0 см,
мягкая обложка, футляр, рус./фр./нем./англ.

Современная архитектура — иллюстрированный журнал «Государственного издательства», выходивший в Москве с 1926 по 1930 годы 6 раз в год. Журнал освещал вопросы современного градостроительства, жилой, промышленной и сельской архитектуры, типового проектирования, истории и теории архитектуры и строительства. Несмотря на короткий срок своего существования, журнал Современная архитектура — журнал-эпоха. В его реализации принимали участие ведущие мастера эпохи авангарда. Среди выдающихся имен, имевших отношение к журналу, можно назвать архитектора и бессменного редактора журнала Моисея Гинзбурга, автора проекта Дома Наркомфина; художников Алексея Гана и Варвару Степанову, занимавшихся версткой и дизайном издания и других. На его страницах публиковали свои работы Иван Леонидов и братья Веснины, Ле Корбюзье и Мисс Ван дер Роэ. Отдельной темой выступает в издание его графический строй, являющийся образцом передового дизайна своего времени. Сегодня эти журналы стали библиографической редкостью: растет цена информации, размещенной на их страницах. Об актуальности всего, что связано с эпохой русского авангарда в мире, не приходится говорить, это давно сформировавшаяся позиция. Анализ этого явления и его актуализация сегодня поможет еще раз осознать место России в мировом архитектурном пространстве.

5 thoughts on “Репринт Журнала Современная Архитектура [Reprint of the Journal Modern Architecture] (1926-1930)

  1. You may already know of this by now, but a Russian site is currently posting PDF scans of full issues of CA. Many issues of Архитектура СССР, too- as well as a wealth of other magazines from the Soviet era. Wonderful stuff. And they’re free to download. Some are PDFs while others are .djvu files. The only drawback is that there are some ads to be clicked through and “verification” numbers to be entered before each download begins. The URL: http://journal-club.ru/

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Actually, the scans of СА that are available for download on this site are the same ones that I originally uploaded here. The issues aren’t 100% complete, but all of the major text portions are included. I’m not just looking to be acknowledged and take credit for uploading these files, however; I think it’s great that the word is getting out there and that they have been spread around.

  2. Ha! Yes, I thought they must be yours. I just discovered your posting after my last comment. I wish that I had found them on your site first.

    I’m glad, too, that they are out there amongst a broader audience. Thanks for bringing them to light for us. It’s valuable to see these exciting architectural designs in the context of their times, rather than in the usual cherry-pickied academic format. I look forward to more!

    Meanwhile, if you are interested in well-illustrated German architectural journals of the same period, here is a link to the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin for an archive of Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau (1914-1931) in PDF format: http://opus.kobv.de/zlb/abfrage_collections.php?coll_id=58&la=de

    And this archive of the Zeitschrift für Bauwesen (1851-1931) from the same source: http://opus.kobv.de/zlb/abfrage_collections.php?coll_id=1579&la=de

  3. Hello, I see that one of the languages listed under this is “анг”. Do you know if these documents actually in English or if it’s just a few descriptions which are also in English? I’m looking to translate this document for my thesis as a double major in Russian and Urban Studies but I can’t do it if it’s already been done for this edition! I was looking to do the first edition from 1926, if that matters. Thanks for any info you might have!

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