OSA’s Modern Architecture (Современная архитектура) Free PDF Download/бесплатно скачать

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This post is dedicated to Owen Hatherley of the blog Nasty, Brutalist, and Short, the Kosmograd newsfeed, Doug Spencer of the Critical Grounds blog, the brilliant Vladimir Paperny (for his help and insight), and anyone else who’s interested in Marxism and modernist architecture:

First, I would like to apologize to everyone who follows my blog for the long absence.  The reason I’ve been gone the last two weeks is that I’ve been meticulously putting together some PDFs of the early Soviet architectural journal Modern Architecture, the main periodical published by the Constructivists in OSA.  Needless to say, this was an extraordinarily time-consuming process.  Nevertheless, I am hoping to return to posting fairly regularly, and to write a long-delayed contribution to Renegade Eye.

Modern Architecture was edited by Moisei Ginzburg and the Vesnin brothers, until Roman Khiger took over in 1928, and was throughout the leading architectural avant-garde journal in the USSR.  From February 1926 to the end of 1930, six issues of the journal were published annually.  It provided an outlet for architectural theory and design for both Soviet and Western European architects, pursuing a distinctly internationalist program of design.  The journal was unfortunately shut down toward the beginning of 1931, replaced by the All-Union journal Soviet Architecture, which gradually shifted in the direction of neoclassicism.

The following are nearly full-text PDF versions of some of the journal’s most outstanding issues, capturing almost its entire run.  As the gaps will suggest, the following issues are missing: 1926, № 2; 1927, № 4/5; 1928 №  2 & 5.  In addition, I mostly just included those pages which have sizable blocks of text in them, or which form part of an article in the journal.  Many of the pages that were solely devoted to illustration have been omitted.  This is because the focus of my research is centered on the writings of the modernist architects more so than their designs.  Still, Modern Architecture was fairly text-heavy, and most of the time at least two-thirds of each issue are reproduced, along with images.

The images comprising the pages of each PDF were gathered from photos I took of the various issues, which I then edited and rearranged.  The quality of the images varies, though they get notably clearer toward the end.  Part of this owes to my own lack of skill as a photographer, and the other part to the notoriously poor quality of early Soviet print.  Every page has been cropped, rescaled, and clarified as much as possible, before finally being run through some Cyrillic text-recognition software.  Some sections remain difficult to read, however, and are not quite as reliable.  Even for those who don’t read Russian, they still are worth taking a look at, if only for the masterful layout designed by Aleksei Gan.

And so, without further ado:


Современная архитектура — (1926) — № 1

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 2 (missing)

Современная архитектура — (1926) — № 3

Современная архитектура — (1926) — № 4

Современная архитектура — (1926) — № 5/6


Современная архитектура — (1927) — № 1

Современная архитектура — (1927) — № 2

Современная архитектура — (1927) — № 3

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 4/5 (missing)

Современная архитектура — (1927) — № 6


Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 1

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 2 (missing)

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 3

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 4

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 5 (missing)

Современная архитектура — (1928) — № 6


Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 1

Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 2

Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 3

Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 4

Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 5

Современная архитектура — (1929) — № 6


Современная архитектура — (1930) — № 1/2

Современная архитектура — (1930) — № 3

Современная архитектура — (1930) — № 4

Современная архитектура — (1930) — № 5

Современная архитектура — (1930) — № 6


8 thoughts on “OSA’s Modern Architecture (Современная архитектура) Free PDF Download/бесплатно скачать

  1. Hi Ross,

    About making available soviet journals, I read you photographed the pages. Do you also know how to copy from microfilm? And afterwards, what Cyrillic text-recognition software did you use?

    • Hey Noa,

      Yes, I copied a bunch of microfiche from other obscure Soviet avant-garde journals. The first posting of the results can be found here, but there are several more subsequent postings. I used ABBYY FineReader.

  2. Do you think that the microform scanners always produce shoddy facsimiles? Hopefully a library with modern microform reader/scanner equipment which connects directly to a USB -stick will do better. I myself am not able to access the desired material, so I’m more asking in order to get a picture for what it would take for someone else to do it. Can you scan more than one page at a time, how much time does one scan take, etc. such minor issues. In total from 1922 to 1929 PZM (The google books site gives snippet view for issues after 1931) counts an estimated 16000 pages, but many articles are already available (this needs more research though) or can be dropped as uninteresting. The flip-side of this option is that it would require more carefulness in selecting titles compared to the automatic copying of everything, so making it perhaps very difficult for a non-Russian reader to do.

    • Well, the approach I used to digitizing microform was admittedly extremely primitive, given the very low (only 4x) optical zoom of my digital camera. Thankfully, I was able to magnify the camera lens through a 28-40x zoom lens, which allowed me to take pictures of each individual frame. The main difficulty I encountered was that obviously flash didn’t work, and so I had to have a very steady hand while photographing each frame. So I ended up just taking at least 2-3 photos of every frame so that at least one of them would probably be clear.

      In terms of microform scanners, the only one I have experience with is the one at Columbia University (I am a student at UChicago, but am living in New York continuing my research). The quality varies, and usually has a lot to do with the original quality of the microform being scanned. For example, I was able to make many quality scans of the Gosplan journal Plannovoe khoziast’vo (issues from 1929-1931, though the journal had a long run). By contrast, the scans I made of the short-lived journal Revoliutsiia i kul’tura were of terrible quality, but this was because the microform had either degenerated, or was never that good to begin with.

  3. Hi, It looks like the links above no longer work- Is there any way you could check- I’d love to have a good look. Thanks

  4. Hi, I was really enthusiastic when I finally found the downloads of Modern Architecture. However, the links do not seem to work. Are the PDFs still available for download? I am doing a study on Ginzburg, I am an architectural researcher.
    Thank you!

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