Moscow, . 2 folders (portfolios) with 12 brochures. 30x22,5 cm (folder), 29x21,5 cm (brochures). Folders in full cloth with blue lettering, brochures in wrappers. All very good, folders with rubbing and a couple of tears, all brochures with ink stamps of the USSR soap making factory in Erevan on front covers, brochure #7 with light soiling and spots on the covers. Every brochure of the print run of 3500 copies. Art director I.I. Lazarevsky, literary editor S.Ya. Zabello, graphics by B.S. Nikiforov.
Contents of each folder in Russian and French on a side flap of each folder. Titles, captions, title and half title pages, lists of context and all indexes in Russian and French. Sections 8 and 9 were never published.
First and only edition. Extremely rare, especially complete and in such a good condition.
This is the first and only collection of works of architecture and design studios of Mossovet (city administration of Moscow from 1918 to 1993). It consists of mostly projects of 1934, the first year of the studios. There are 10 issues for each studio (with additional brochure with summary and introduction and a brochure with indexes). The main mass of the projects was created for Moscow, partially the implementation of the general plan for reconstruction. Designs for periphery were created as well: Arkhangelsk, Alma-Ata, Nalchik, Novosibirsk, Tbilisi, Stalinsk and others.
In 1933, under the Moscow Soviet, Lazar Kaganovich initiated a new structure: 12 architectural design and 10 architectural engineering studios (or workshops). Together they were called upon to replace (or imitate) the diversity of architectural groupings, bureaus and schools, liquidated in 1932 when the Union of Architects was created. Each studio was lead by an established architect (with vigilant control of party deputies): Zholtovsky, Shchusev, Fomin, Golosov, Fridman, Kolli, Melnikov, Kokorin, Kriukov, Borov. For each brochure architects wrote a short introduction - ‘Principles of Designing Architecture’. Overall there are 156 design projects in this edition. Each project comes with a short annotation, plans, facades, sections, perspectives, details, interior design projects, photos. There was a big diversity of the projects for example street kiosks, metro stations, large public buildings, complexes and city ensembles, living, industrial and technical buildings, furniture, interiors, etc. Most of the projects were never realized and this is the only evidence of their existence.
One of the most interesting and controversial was Konstantin Melnikov’s studio (No. 7). Since the 1930’s it had become increasingly difficult to implement innovative ideas in architecture for the architect - his projects were often criticized, and the new aesthetic system of the Soviet architecture was not compatible with his principles. In the editorial to the brochure it was stated that many Melnikov’s works were righteously critisized as ‘‘manifestations of unprincipled innovation, innovation that turned into an end in itself’’. Yet it was believed that socialistic aims will get to him and change his ways. Melnikov was an architect of the world significance so it is understandable that even though he was under pressure he was very well respected and could not be not included. Among designs presented in the brochure the most remarkable is a design project of the Narkomtiazhprom Building which was a portmanteau for the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry that was conducting a 1934 architectural design contest for its building with construction in the Red Square (other notable entrants included Ivan Leonidov, Vesnin brothers and Ivan Fomin). This and his other designs in the brochure bear his signature constructivist style and elements.
A very special position was taken by workshop No. 12: unlike all the rest, it had a specialization - designing interiors, furniture design and lighting. The collective consisted not of architects, but of artists and designers. In the introduction it is stated that the studio was closed in 1935 due to ‘not finding right specific methods of work for finding solutions in a very responsible issue of Soviet interior design’. That probably meant that they were too familiar with European and American designs - the art deco aesthetic in its monumental interpretation of the 1930s was mastered by them and adapted to the Soviet realities of production. The designs in the brochure are of Okhotny Ryad metro station, interior design of the Pravda newspaper building (both were realized). The most interesting are designs of the furniture and equipment for the metro station, Pravda offices, Soyuzpechat’ kiosks, Moscow Council’s baths, club of Narkomat of Light Industry. Even though the new era was of Stalin empire style many of presented architects went through constructivist period and a few designs carried that legacy in 1934.
Worldcat locates copies in NYPL, Virginia Tech, Getty, Universityof Michigan, Berkeley and Cleveland Public Library.