Egor Rogalev’s Concretopia

бетонена утопияThis article is part of our weekly series “Plattenbau stories”, introducing the topic of plattenbau districts in Europe and the world. ONE ARCHITECTURE WEEK 2016 will be held in Trakiya, a plattenbau districts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from September 30th until October 9th. The main focus of the festival is the topic of“citizen participation in the creation of the urban environment”.

An article in The Calvert Journal, for the full version click here.

We continiue the topic of photography of post-soviet cities with Egor Rogalev and his exploration of the edgelands in the cities of Russia, Belarus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and other eastern European and ex-communist bloc countries.

He himself grew up in Saint Petersberg, but spent many of his summer vacations at his grandfather’s flat in Sochi. The high-rise buildin, which this apartment was a part of, was one of many such buildings taking up the space between the train station  and the sea shore. According to other people the living conditions are far from perfect, but to him his grandfather’s apartment is the house of dreams.

For Egor the idea behind these plattenbau districts is progressive and future-oriented. But with time this potential Utopia turned into a Dystopia. The disappearance of the soviet dream was traumatic for everyone in some extend, even for those, that didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Today all that’s left are the ruins of this dream.

The photographer tells about one of his other projects. It bears the name of one of Carl Jung’s concepts – Synchroncity. It’s main goal is to show these ex-communist bloc countries trough the eyes of young people, born after 1989. What makes their viewpoint unique is the fact, that they have experiensed the aftermath of the Soviet Block fall passively. For them the Soviet period is equal to a foothold that emits misgiving and premonition.

His newest project is dedicated to the architecture of some of the above-mentioned former soviet countries and draws some paralels between them. Egor Rogalev’s interest in achitecture is fueled by it’s connection to political, economical, cultural and social processes and it’s sensitivity to changes in those systems. The change in architecture mark the rise and fall of the dreams of a society and it gives us a  perspective that can rarely be obtained via historical books. Namely the fall of a dream – to avoid isolation of certain social groups, turned them into a meaningless setting, deepening the isolation of its inhabitants.