Lidiia Komarova, architectress of the Soviet avant-garde

Lidiia Komarova
is one of my favorite architects of the Soviet avant-garde, even if the vast majority of her work was, as with so many others, never realized. She was a student Ladovskii and Dokuchaev in the “rationalist” camp of ASNOVA for most of the 1920s, but eventually migrated over to “constructivist” school of OSA headed by Ginzburg and Vesnin by the close of the decade.

Her drawings, models, and floor plans were some of the best to come out of VKhUTEMAS-VKhUTEIN during its brief ten years of existence. They stand as a testament to what once seemed imaginable, even in an economically impoverished, technologically backward country encircled by its would-be gravediggers.

Very few of her designs ever saw the light of day, as was stated earlier, and none of her more modernist compositions. Only in 1932 did her first building begin construction. This, as with the rest of her commissioned work over the next two decades, closely resembled the “empire style” then prevalent in Stalin’s USSR.

For better or worse — okay, for worse — architecture remains something of “a man’s world.” More so than the other arts, its main representatives have been overwhelmingly and disproportionately male. Why this is still the case today is something of a mystery to me. Regardless, Komarova’s work is on par with or better than any of her male colleagues’, even Lamtsov’s (her classmate). It would have been interesting to see how things played out had the Stalinist reaction in the cultural realm not taken hold, though perhaps by this point it was already inevitable.

Lidiia Komarova during the late 1930s

Lidiia Komarova during the late 1930s

Komarova died just recently, in 2009.

5 thoughts on “Lidiia Komarova, architectress of the Soviet avant-garde

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