Baker & Taylor
CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed
The fourth age of Soviet architecture
In this volume photographer Frédéric Chaubin reveals 90 buildings sited in fourteen former Soviet Republics which express what could be considered as the fourth age of Soviet architecture. They reveal an unexpected rebirth of imagination, an unknown burgeoning that took place from 1970 until 1990. Contrary to the twenties and thirties, no “school” or main trend emerges here. These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announces the end of Soviet Union.
Taking advantage of the collapsing monolithic structure, the holes of the widening net, architects revisited all the chronological periods and styles, going back to the roots or freely innovating. Some of the daring ones completed projects that the Constructivists would have dreamt of (Druzhba sanatorium), others expressed their imagination in an expressionist way (Tbilisi wedding palace). A summer camp, inspired by sketches of a prototype lunar base, lays claim to its suprematist influence (Promethee). Then comes the speaking architecture widespread in the last years of the USSR: a crematorium adorned with concrete flames (Kiev crematorium), a technological institute with a flying saucer crashed on the roof (Kiev institute), a political center watching you like a Big Brother (Kaliningrad House of Soviet). This puzzle of styles testifies to all the ideological dreams of the period, from the obsession with the cosmos to the rebirth of privacy and it also outlines the geography of the USSR, showing how local influences made their exotic twists before bringing the country to its end.