Moscow: Gosizdat, 1924. Item #338
238 pp.: ill. 22x18 cm. In contemporary binding (cloth spine, cardboards; original wrappers are not preserved). General wear of the binding, scuffed rear board, tear of the rear free endpaper and half-title, previous owner’s signature on the title page and last page. Otherwise very good.
First edition. One of 2000 copies. Very rare!
This influential work of architectural theory by one of the founders of Soviet constructivism in architecture Moisei Ginzburg (1892-1946) which became the manifesto of constructivist architecture, a style which combined an interest in advanced technology and engineering with socialist ideals. The book has similarities to Le Corbusier’s ‘‘Vers une Architecture’’ (1923) which has never been translated into Russian.
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.
The book was regarded as very important by the OSA so in 1927 it was sent out to the subscribers of the ‘‘Contemporary Architecture’’. The book Style and Epoch shows Ginzburg’s path to constructivism. In the early 1920s, Ginzburg viewed constructivism as a necessary early stage in the development of a new architecture, not yet realizing its style-forming role as an influential creative future. The book received wide resonance and evoked various responses of contemporaries. For many, it became a manifesto of early constructivism, and provoked a stormy reaction from the opponents with its pointed language. It helped many Soviet architects in that transitional stage to determine their creative positions.
Worldcat locates copies in Columbia, Getty, Stanford, NYPL, Berkeley, University of Illinois, University of Michigan.