Moscow: Gosstroiizdat, 1934. Item #291
172 pp.: ill., 5 ill. 29,5x21,5 cm. In publisher’s cloth with red lettering. General soiling, title page is toned, owner’s signature on the front board and title page.
First edition. One of 4000 copies. Illustrated throughout with numerous black and white drawings and photographs.
The main subject of this textbook is a series of aspects of spatial composition in architecture. The author based this material on his own 10 year experience of teaching at Moscow architecture university first year students basics of composition (the discipline was called “Space”). First this discipline appeared in VKHUTEIN in 1923 ‘as a result of a long fight at the architecture department between different views on architectural method’.
The author used materials from that discipline, ‘the most valuable parts’. In general the book is dedicated to simply what resources and tools to use and how an architect can operate them. It became important not to lose touch with the reality, but also he stated “you can’t design and build only based on studies of spatial composition (it becomes formalism), but you can’t manage without it”. This textbook does not renounce the experience and heritage of constructivism of the 1920s but he strongly against formalism in the future. This textbook laid grounds for future architects of 1930s and 1940s.
The book is illustrated throughout, and the most impressive are combinations of old and new architecture on one page or a turn, like Parthenon frieze and The Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (designed by constructivist architects Viktor Vesnin and Nikolai Kolli), or Palazzo Valmarana and Le Corbusier’s house, or The Admiralty building in St. Petersburg and The Derzhprom building in Kharkiv, or Novgorod cathedral and Konstantin Melnikov’s club in Moscow. The book’s application is also worth attention: it includes tasks for students and examples of their solutions (practical work for first year students of “Space” discipline at VKHUTEIN 1923-1933). The most interesting part are photographs of architectural models which are basically exemplary task solutions (see photos).
Vladimir Fedorovich Krinsky (1890-1971) was one of the prominent representatives of the architectural rationalism (one of the main architectural groups in 1920s-30s). He was a professor at VKHUTEMAS in 1920s and a head of the United workshop (‘Obmas’) with Ladovsky and Dokuchaev. During his work at VKHUTEMAS he made a significant contribution to improving the methods of developing spatial thinking among future architects. He himself experimented a lot with the volume, color and texture of the material, revealing the artistic possibilities of these means of architectural expressiveness and developing the most effective methods of teaching. This experience was summed up in this book (together with I.V. Lamtsov and M.A. Turkus) approved for the architectural universities.
Worldcat locates copies at Columbia, Getty, Arizona State University.