Nikolai Ladovskii’s studio at VKhUTEMAS (1920-1930)

With an original translation
of Ladovskii’s 1921 program

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Image: Photograph of Nikolai Ladovskii
during his professorship at VKhUTEMAS

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Special thanks are due to Monoskop for pointing out to me a number of new images, as well as to TotalArch for providing Selim Khan-Magomedov’s selected Russian text online to translate for this post.

Nikolai Ladovskii and students at VKhUTEMAS, 1922

Nikolai Ladovskii and students at VKhUTEMAS, 1922

“On the program of the working group of architects” (1921)

The task of our working group is to work in the direction of elucidating a theory of architecture. Our productivity will depend on the very rapid articulation of our program, on clarifying the investigative methods to be used and identifying the materials we have at our disposal to supplement the work. The work plan can be broken down into roughly three basic points:

I) aggregation of appropriate theoretical studies and existing theories of architecture of all theoreticians,
II) excavation of relevant material from theoretical studies and investigations extracted from other branches of art, which bear on architecture, and
III) exposition of our own theoretical perspectives to architecture.

The result of these efforts must be the compilation of an illustrated dictionary that establishes precisely the terminology and definitions of architecture as an art, its individual attributes, properties etc, the interrelation of architecture with the other arts. The three elements of the work plan relate, in the case of the first, to the past, to “what has been done”; in that of the second, to the present, and “what we are doing,” and in that of the third, to “what must be done” in the future in the field of theoretical justifications of architecture. A commission, which might be necessary to set up for the program’s elaboration, must build upon the foundations we have suggested.

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