Moscow: Gosstroyizdat, 1934. Item #1228
192 p.: ill. 29,5x21,5 cm. 1 of 4000 copies. Original cloth binding. No dust-jacket. Some soiling, but otherwise very good. Contemporary owner’s inscription on the title page (A. Molokin, 1931).
Provenance: the book belonged to the well-known Kharkiv-based architect professor Alexander Molokin (1880-1951), the contributor to the ‘Sovetskaya arkhitektura’ magazine, the author of several important constructivist projects in Kharkiv including the complex of buildings for the students’ dormitories ‘Gigant’ (1928-1930).
First edition. One of 4000 copies. Very rare.
This influential work of architectural theory by one of the founders of Soviet constructivism in architecture Moisei Ginzburg (1892-1946). The early theoretical works by Ginzburg have been compared to Le Corbusier’s texts for their influence on Russian architectural thought. Ginzburg is mostly famous for the Narkomfin building in Moscow. He was the founder of the OSA Group (Organisation of Contemporary Architects), which had links with Vladimir Mayakovsky and Osip Brik’s LEF Group. The OSA experimented with forms of Communal apartments to provide for the new Communist way of life. Its magazine ‘‘SA’’ (Sovremennaya Arkhitektura [i.e. Contemporary Architecture]) was created by Ginzburg, Vesnin brothers, Aleksei Gan, Varavara Stepanova, Alexander Rodchenko, it featured discussions of city planning and communal living, as well as the futuristic and avant-garde projects by Ivan Leonidov, Le Corbusier, Ivan Nikolaev and others.
This is the program work for Ginzburg, documenting his activities in late 1920s-early 1930s. The book is dedicated to the problem of habitation, the house in its entirety from the cultural aspects to mathematic calculations of the optimal cubature in one-bedroom apartment. Ginzburg tries to provide evidence for every aspect of the habitation: when describing the interior designs, he shows the reader the examples of cars and planes that should inspire the architect; when choosing the materials for the basements, the chemical proof is given.
The book is an encyclopedia of Soviet living in late 1920-early 1930s from architects point of view. Also mostly the good examples of houses, communes, clubs and other buildings are given. 238 photos, plans and sketches provide better perspective on the visual side of things. The separate chapter is dedicated to the building of Magnitogorsk. The table of content and the list of illustrations are in French and German as well as in Russian.
Photos of the process of building the ‘2nd house of SNK’ is photographed by Valentin Gruntal, who is famous for his cine-poetic children’s books and photomontages [the most famous being ‘Chto eto takoe’]. The layout go p.112-113 remind us on the cine-poetic layouts in his other books.
Worldcat locates copies in Getty Research Institute, University of Michigan, Columbia University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Canadian Centre for Architecture (Canada).