[Moscow]: Izogiz, 1935. Item #1113
208 pp.: ill. 30x21,5 cm. In original printed wrappers. Very good, minor fragments of spine lost, slightly soiled.
A valuable piece of a historical evidence on Moscow reconstruction of 1935, Ginzburg’s constructivist project of Moscow- Donbass Highway and Khiger’s civil housing critics (communal houses). Illustrated throughout with black and white photographs, plans and drawings. One of 6000 copies. Wrappers and title page by I.F. Rerberg (1892-1957), master of the Soviet wrapper design.
The collection was published by the Union of Soviet Architects (the union was formed in 1932 after the demolition of all other architectural unions). It’s interesting that in the preface it is stated that a few statements from the authors are controversial (regarding historical aspects) but they were not removed to generate a healthy creative discussion.
The edition is divided into two sections - a historical part includes works on Egyptian architecture, sculpture in architecture, architecture and planning of Versailles Park, but most valuable articles in the second part on architectural reconstruction of Moscow (by Vladimir Semenov), architectural design of Moscow-Donbass Railroad (by famous Soviet architect Moisei Ginzburg), problems of civil housing on Soviet architecture (by Roman Khiger, architecture critic and writer).
“Moscow must become the best city in the world” - that was the intent of a massive reconstruction planned in 1935. It was the first complex reconstruction plan of Moscow. Semenov was one of the architects responsible for the General plan. In his article he describes the problems, tasks and aims, gives statistical data but the most interesting part is a short analysis of 7 competition projects by Le Corbusier, Ernst May, Hannes Meyer, Nikolai Ladovsky and others. For every project a plan is given. For example, Le Corbusier’s plan was rejected because he wanted to redo the existing radial-circular system of the city and create a new one according to his urban views, and the main point of the General plan was to keep the existing system and improve it. None of the competition’s projects announced earlier was recognized as sufficiently convincing to become the basis of the future real plan for the reconstruction of Moscow. Semenov and another responsible for the final plan architect Sergei Chernyshev were consulted by many eminent architects, including constructivists Nikolaev, Vesnin brothers, Kolli. The city’s shape was improved and became cleaner by the end of the decade, and that look was unchanged for many decades.
This article is very important as one can see what Moscow could have been looked like and what it was supposed to look like according to architect of the General plan, what they had in mind when planning the new look of the capital.
Simple yet striking designs by Moisei Ginzburg for Moscow- Donbass Railroad stand out in this edition. In the article the architect stated that was a completely new task for Soviet architecture. Ginzburg with such architects like Vesnin brothers, Golosov, Nikolaev, Ladovsky (all from the Union) started to work on the project in 1933. The most difficult thing, he said, is the achievement of integrity and architectural unity of all structures. The article provides wonderful constructivist designs of stations, technical departures, apartment houses, roadblocks, road houses, dorms (communal houses), dining rooms.
Khiger gives a detailed analysis of civil housing starting from pre-Revolutionary buildings and discussing reconstructive period of the second half of 1920s - search for a new forms of housing due to a new socialist alteration of the day to day life.
Worldcat locates copies in NYPL, Princeton, Getty, Columbia, Cornell and University of Michigan.