Friday, July 20, 2007

The Lost Vanguard opened this week at MoMA: a photo exhibition by Richard Pare which documents Soviet architecture from 1922-1932.

In terms of pure creative energy, few periods of the 20th century can match the architectural ferment that began with the dizzying upheavals of Russia's 1917 revolution and ended in 1932, crushed under Stalin's heel.

The sheer range of visions, encompassing everything from the cool functionalism of the early Constructivists to the radical formal experiments of Konstantin Melnikov, would suffice to mark the era as one of the most fruitful in modern architecture. What distinguished it was the passion of its conviction, however naive, that architecture could be an agent for profound social change. That this vision was stillborn only adds to its allure: as an incomplete experiment, it potentially could be renewed by future generations.

Read on + slideshow at The NY Times.

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