The untold stories of Soviet Modernism

статия 8This 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 ArchDaily, for the full version click here.
Today we bring to your attention the research and exhibition of the Vienna Architekturzentrum (or “Centre of Architecture”) from the year 2012., called “Soviet Modernism 1955 – 1991. Unknown Stories.”.

The main task was to study soviet modernist architecture comprehensively. The focus this time was not put on Russia, as it usually is, but on other  ex-soviet countries like  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, The Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Although constructivism and stalinist architecture are not entirely unincluded in western countries, the Vienna Centre if Architecture gathered teams from west european and local (east european) experts and architects. A lot of interviews with the people involved in the planning process of these plattenbau districts were held and both public and residential buildings were studied. It turns out a lot of good stories were not public prior to this research.
Curators of the exhibition were Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair and Alexandra Wachter, along with austrian artists Six & Petritsch. They wanted to shed light on the different planning and architectural styles inside the Soviet union. That is why they divided the studied territory into four regions –  Baltic, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, so that not only the geographical, but also other differences can be spotted easily. Към изложбата е публикуван и каталог на немски и английски. A catalogue in German and English accompanied the exhibition.
The main idea was to focus on the problems of plattenbau districts today and to cause a debate. Partly because of poor construction techniques and mainly because of the negligence and lack of renovation after they were built these building decay with time and if citizen participation and interest is not evoked  they will be demolished or will succumb.