Building a Socialist future

The Royal Academy’s upcoming exhibition Building the Revolution: Art and Architecture in Russia 1915-1935 examines the short period at the start of the last century when Russian and international architects worked on wildly innovative and ambitious buildings as they strove to create a Socialist utopia.

Melnikov House
Melnikov House

The show throws a spotlight on the plight of many of the buildings, now fallen into disrepair or under threat of demolition. Photographer Richard Pare has spent the past 20 years documenting the buildings, such as the 160m-high Shabolovka radio tower, designed by Vladimir Shukhov.

Shabolovka Radio Tower
Shabolovka Radio Tower

The show will also feature a tribute to one of the most famous unbuilt buildings conceived during the period – Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International. The tower – built from vast amounts of iron, glass and steel, was planned to spiral 400m over the city of St Petersburg.

Narkomfin Communal House
Narkomfin Communal House

Jeremy Dixon, of Dixon Jones Architects, is creating a slightly less monumental version of the tower for the courtyard at the RA.

Spatial Force Construction by Liubov Popova
Spatial Force Construction by Liubov Popova

The exhibition will also feature previously unseen archive photography and paintings from the Constructavists artists whose work influenced the architecture of the period.

Painterly Architectonics by Liubov Popova
Painterly Architectonics by Liubov Popova

Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 is at the Royal Academy, London W1, from 29 October-22 January 2012.

Rusakov Workers Club
Rusakov Workers Club

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