[Moscow]: Moskovskoie Arkhitekturnoie Obshchestvo, 1923. Item #698
50,  pp.: ills. 32,2х25 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Very good. Small tears of the front wrapper, light restoration of the tears and spine, spots on the title page.
Very rare. One of 1000 copies.
Early constructivist wrapper designed by A. Vesnin (one of Vesnin brothers).
This was the first Soviet architecture magazine. This first issue includes introduction «From Moscow Architecture Society» by A. Shchusev where he stated the position and purpose of the magazine. The beginning of the 1920s was a very exciting time for artists and architects - new tasks were emerging and the demand for new ideas was rising (even though there was no construction for some time after the Civil War). This is the tone of Shchusev’s message - the magazine was supposed to be a chain link to building a new future. The magazine includes editorial on contemporary aesthetics of architecture which is surprisingly illustrated with grain elevators in USA. Other articles are dedicated to restoration works in the Kremlin (with photographs), contemporary construction in England, reviews on new special literature from abroad, architecture news from abroad, and the most interesting Shchusev’s article on the open competition of
projects for development of the first Russian agricultural exhibition in 1922. The article is illustrated with winners’ design projects (first place was given to young VKUTEMAS graduate Kolli; also winners Golosov, VKHUTEMAS students Ridman, Burov and Kozhin, Norvert, Lansere and Oliu). The five winner projects were selected from 27 submitted works. The winners got awards but these projects were never realized. At the same time the Society held closed competition for famous architects like Zholtkovsky, Fomin and Shchuko (their designs also in this issue).
The committee chose the Zholtkovsky’s design project. The exhibition (which later transformed into famous Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy or VDNKH) was one of the first where elements of Russian architecture avant-garde were used, e.g. Melnikov’s pavilion. Interesting thatiftodayVesnin’s wrapper design seems flawless, when it came out it was called «vulgar playbill with awful type» by Igor Grabar’. Even though the comment had too much pathos it reflected a mismatch of constructivist book design with common criteria for evaluation. The process of becoming of polygraphic constructivism was ahead of developing of architectural constructivism. So this wrapper was more revolutionary than magazine contents.The Society went with more conventional wrapper in the next issue.
WorldCat locates copy in Getty Research Institute.