Dublin Castle, June 2 - 04, 2016
Deadline: Sep 30, 2015

Beyond Constructivism: Soviet Early-Modernist Architecture Revisited
Panel at European Architectural History Network 
Fourth International Meeting Dublin Castle
Panel organizers:
Tijana Vujosevic, University of Western Australia
tijana vujosevic@uwa.edu.au

Alla Vronskaya, ETH Zurich

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should    be submitted to the 
conference     website along with applicant’s name, professional 
affiliation, title of paper or position, a C.V. of no more than five 
pages, home and work addresses, e-­mail addresses and telephone numbers.

Architectural production of the two decades after the October 
Revolution is often, from the perspective of a Western architectural 
historian, neatly divided into two eras: that of “Constructivism” in 
the 1920s and that of “Socialist Realism” in the 1930s. However, this 
periodization might be considered too neat. The dichotomy of 
Constructivism and Socialist Realism is based on an assumption that the 
course of Soviet architecture directly mirrored the changes in the 
political regime—an assumption that simplifies the complex and 
complicate character of early-Soviet architectural theory. For example, 
whereas Classicism and Expressionism enjoyed a noticeable presence in 
Soviet architecture during the 1920s, in the subsequent decade, the 
former avant-gardists created prominent experimental works that offered 
their vision of the new Soviet architecture. Moreover, in subsuming all 
avant—?garde production under the notion of “Constructivism,” 
architectural history follows a tradition developed by art historians, 
who singled out a movement that, as it seemed, presaged the forms of 
post-Second-World-War American art. In fact, however, apart from the 
work of the Constructivist OSA group, Soviet architectural avant-garde 
entailed a vast variety of non-Constructivist movements and practices, 
such as Nikolai Ladovskii’s Rationalism, Il’ia Golosov and Konstantin 
Mel’nikov’s neo-Expressionist fascination with form, or Iakov 
Chernikhov’s architectural fantasies. By challenging reductive 
periodization, architectural historians can better grasp the complexity 
of Soviet early-modernist architectural landscape, stylistic overlaps, 
and the diversity of practices and theories that constituted it.
The aim of this panel is to go beyond the notion of Constructivism as a 
style-based label for the Soviet avant-garde and to present to the 
public academic work on the rich and stylistically and ideologically 
dissonant field of architectural innovation in design education, visual 
repertoires, politics of artistic production, and design for everyday 
life. We welcome papers that present alternative accounts of Soviet 
Interwar modernity and its relationship to institutions of power and 
the scientific, artistic, political discourses of the time.


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