Constructivist architecture was a form of modern architecture that flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. It combined advanced technology and engineering with an avowedly Communist social purpose. Although it was divided into several competing factions, the... [more]
Constructivist architecture was a form of modern architecture that flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. It combined advanced technology and engineering with an avowedly Communist social purpose. Although it was divided into several competing factions, the movement produced many pioneering projects and finished buildings, before falling out of favour around 1932. Its effects have been marked on later developments in architecture.
Constructivist architecture emerged from the wider constructivist art movement, which grew out of Russian Futurism. Constructivist art had attempted to apply a three-dimensional cubist vision to wholly abstract non-objective 'constructions' with a kinetic element. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 it turned its attentions to the new social demands and industrial tasks required of the new regime. Two distinct threads emerged, the first was encapsulated in Antoine Pevsner's and Naum Gabo's Realist manifesto which was concerned with space and rhythm, the second represented a struggle within the Commissariat for Enlightenment between those who argued for pure art and the Productivists such as Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova and Vladimir Tatlin, a more socially-oriented group who wanted this art to be absorbed in industrial production.
A split occurred in 1922 when Pevsner and Gabo emigrated. The movement then developed along socially utilitarian lines. The productivist majority gained the support of the Proletkult and the magazine LEF, and later became the dominant influence of the architectural group O.S.A.
The first and most famous Constructivist architectural project was the 1919 proposal for the headquarters of the Comintern in St Petersburg by the Futurist Vladimir Tatlin, often called Tatlin's Tower. Though it remained unbuilt, the materials—glass and steel—and its futuristic ethos and political slant (the movements of its internal volumes were meant to symbolise revolution and the dialectic) set the tone for the projects of the 1920s.
Another famous early Constructivist project was the Lenin Tribune by El Lissitzky (1920), a moving speaker's podium. During the Russian Civil War the UNOVIS group centred around Kasimir Malevich and Lissitzky designed various projects that forced together the 'non-objective' abstraction of Suprematism with more utilitarian aims, creating ideal Constructivist cities- see also El Lissitzky's Prounen-Raum or the 'Dynamic City' (1919) of Gustav Klutsis. In this and Tatlin's work the components of Constructivism could be seen to be an adaptation of various high-tech Western forms, such as the engineering feats of Gustave Eiffel and New York or Chicago's skyscrapers, for a new collective society.
excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivist_architecture