Color and light in modern architecture

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In 1929, the Soviet avant-garde journal Modern Architecture (Современная архитектура, or СА) published a special issue devoted to color and light in design. Below is an embedded link to the full issue on Scribd, as well as some lower-quality scans of individual pages. More later. Enjoy these for now.

Soviet Constructivist Architecture – Blueprints and Realizations

The following pictures are examples of architecture built in the Soviet Constructivist style, a style founded by the Vesnin brothers (Aleksandr, Leonid, and Viktor) along with Moisei Ginzburg between 1923-1925.  Officially, the Society of Modern Architects (OSA) was the main organ for all Constructivist architecture.  However, I have also included pieces which clearly exemplify the Constructivist style, even if the architects involved were not technically members of OSA.  Both blueprints and photographs of the eventual realizations of their plans are shown here:

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“КУДА итти?”/“WHERE are We Going?”

Original title of the piece

Из Современная архитектура —  (1930) — № 1/2

Pg. 4

И деревня и город—обе эти старые формы расселения не отвечают потребностям настоящего дня. Они МЕШАЮТ правильному размещению промышленности и сельского хозяйства, мешают развитию новых общественных отношений людей.

Старое жилище патриархальной или мелкобуржуазной крестьянской семьи, старое мещанско-семейное жилище рабочих к служащих разлагается на наших глазах, бешено сопротивляясь неизбежному. Замена старого жилища подновленной рабочей казармой с огороженными или полуогороженными индивидуальными нарами — казармой под вывеской «Дома – Коммуны», на словах — коммуной  на деле казармой не радует больше ни потребителя — рабочего и служащего, ибо она не удобна, ни производителя, ибо она дорога.

Продолжать СТРОИТЬ ПО-СТАРОМУ значит РАССТРАЧИВАТЬ [sic] сотни миллионов, пускать на ветер МИЛЛИАРДЫ рабочих рублей из фондов КАПИТАЛЬНОГО СТРОИТЕЛЬСТВА, из фондов индустриализации, значит многовековый опыт российской технической и экономической отсталости приспособлять к новому или — что одно и то же — новым требованиям размещения производства, новым требованиям строительной техники, новым отношениям людей в производстве, новым отношениям людей между собой противопоставлять старую технику размещения, старую технику производства. Наступила пора разочарования а той якобы коммуне, которая отнимает у рабочего жилую площадь В ПОЛЬЗУ КОРИДОРОВ И ТЕПЛЫХ ПЕРЕХОДОВ. Лжекоммуна, позволяющая рабочему ТОЛЬКО СПАТЬ в своем жилище, лжекоммуна уменьшающая и площадь и личные удобства (очередь на умывальник, в стоповою, уборную, вешалку) начинает вызывать массовое безпокойство в рабочей среде. Экономическая невозможность создания даже таких ничтожных удобств встала со всей ясностью и перед руководящими хозяйственными органами.

А жилищная нужна растет. Промышленность борется с ней, напрягая все силы…растет и жилищная скученность…Все и вся ее усиливают.

ЧТО ДЕЛАТЬ!

КУДА ИТТИ?

Both the village and the city — neither of these old forms of settlement meet the needs of the present day.  They INTERFERE with the correct distribution of industry and agriculture, interfere with the development of new social relations between men.

The old dwelling of the patriarchal or petit-bourgeois peasant family, the old petty family-dwelling of workers to employees decomposes before our very eyes, furiously resisting the inevitable.  The replacement of old homes by refurbished workers barracks with enclosed and semi-protected individual bunks — a barracks in the guise of “House-Commune,” in words — a commune, practically a barracks, does not gladden the worker and the employee, since it is not convenient, any more than it does the manufacturer, because it is expensive.

To continue TO BUILD IN THE OLD WAY means WASTING hundreds of millions, to release into the wind THOUSANDS of the workers’ rubles from the funds of CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION, from the funds for industrialization, and consequently the age-old experience of Russian technical and economic backwardness in adjusting to the new or — what is the same — placing new demands on production, new requirements of construction equipment, a new relation of people in production, new relations between people to oppose the old placement techniques, the old production techniques.  There arrived a day of disillusionment with this supposed commune, which deprives the workers of living space IN FAVOR OF CORRIDORS AND WARM PASSAGES.  The pseudo-commune allows workers ONLY TO SLEEP in their dwellings, the pseudo-commune reducing both the total area and the private facilities (in all a washstand, a bin, restrooms, and a coat-hanger) begins to cause massive unrest in the working environment.  The economic impossibility of such poor facilities rose clearly to the state and economic organs.

But housing needs to grow.  The industry is struggling with it, straining its every nerve…and the growth of overcrowded housing…The whole thing increases.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

WHERE ARE WE GOING?

(Anonymous author, February 1930)

Lev Rudnev’s “City of the Future” (1925), before his turn to Stalinist neo-Classicism

Modernist architecture archive

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IMAGE: Lev Rudnev’s City of the future (1925),
before his turn to Stalinist neoclassicism

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An update on the Modernist Architecture Archive/Database I discussed a couple posts ago.  I’ve begun work on it, and have uploaded almost half of the documents I intend to include.  Only a few of the Russian ones are up yet, but I’m hoping to post them over the next couple days.  There are many more on the way.

Anyway, anyone interested in taking a look at this archive (arranged as a continuous text) can access it here.

However, this might not be the most convenient way to browse through it all.  For a more manageable overall view of each of the individual articles (detailing the author, title, and year of publication), click here.