SOVIET MODERNISM 1955 – 1991: UNKNOWN STORIES

by Miryam Muller in


The Western perception of the Soviet Union was one to be buttoned-down under tight control for any signs of unorthodoxy. While this may have been true politically, the same can’t be said for the architecture of the time, especially in the farther-flung reaches of the massive empire.

As constructivism and Stalinist architecture has largely been included in western architectural history, the Soviet modern architecture of the second half of the 20th century had remained practically unknown to date, "Modernism 1955 – 1991" tells the unknown stories about the exploration of architecture in the non-Russian Soviet republics that had been completed between the late 1950s and the end of the USSR in 1991.

Spanning Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan, the show includes photography, film and drawings of lesser-known architecture projects from the period.

Working in collaboration with local experts and architects, a research group at the Architekturzentrum Wien has pursued the specialities in the architecture of the period and its ‘stories’. Interviews conducted with eyewitnesses of the time have been documented in writing.

Time is running out as the poor construction techniques of these rapidly aging buildings is threatening their existence, so these photos might soon only be photos...

The exhibition runs through 25 february, 2013 at the ARCHITEKTURZENTRUM WIEN - old hall and is curated by Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro Obermair and Alexandra Wachter.