Christopher Alexander would have a fit
February 15, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Freakish, otherworldly Soviet architecture. (previously)
posted by shii (49 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesomesauce.
posted by fuq at 4:17 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody have a link to a higher-resolution version of the Armenian president's summer home? That's got "desktop background" written all over it.
posted by The Tensor at 4:22 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system.

So weird buildings signal a decaying system. Watch your back, Sydney Opera House!
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:28 PM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Such amazing buildings! The slideshow sidebar has a link to an article on them that is worth a look.
posted by chaff at 4:29 PM on February 15, 2011


That Holocaust memorial in slide 12 is something else. I'd like to walk around that and view it from many angles and qualities of light.
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announces the end of the Soviet Union

What an absolute crock of ex post facto generalisation.
posted by wilful at 4:31 PM on February 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


Anybody have a link to a higher-resolution version of the Armenian president's summer home?

Larger pic here, altho not of great quality.
posted by elizardbits at 4:34 PM on February 15, 2011


Truly amazing. That Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction in particular - bet it took half a morning to get from certain corridors of it to certain others. Which you almost have to think was some excellent deeply ironic social realist gag on the part of the architect. No highways in the highway ministry, you know?

Also, am I the only one who looked at a couple of those and thought, Huh, so that's what Gehry's pompous swoops will look like in 30 years?


posted by gompa at 4:35 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Space below that comment is me jumping over your kneejerk defenses of egotistical postmodern architecture.
posted by gompa at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


In his book Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed

I see what you did there.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:37 PM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


A few interesting links by a Vilnius native in this comment on the article chaff links to.
posted by wilful at 4:37 PM on February 15, 2011


Something something Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:46 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"A monument to the 1918 Battle of Bash Aparan, at which the Armenians repelled a force of Ottoman soldiers (Aparan, Armenia, built 1979)"

...is what I want the decayed future to look like. It's as if a Max Ernst concept had been reified.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:52 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Holocaust memorial in slide 12 is something else.

That one really stuck out to me, so I tried hunting for some other pictures of it. Here's the first one I found. Such a jagged, painful, imposing-looking structure.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:55 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


That Holocaust Memorial looks just like I imagine a Cronenberg version of Transformers would be. That is to say, impressively creepy and mindblowing at the same time.
posted by Iosephus at 5:01 PM on February 15, 2011


Those buildings look like artifacts from Ugly Outer Space.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:02 PM on February 15, 2011


Except for the Holocaust Memorial, which does exactly what it's supposed to do.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:06 PM on February 15, 2011


I dunno. Many of these wouldn't look out of place in Toronto.
posted by Jode at 5:07 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you want freakish, otherworldly Soviet architecture, you have to go to Brodsky & Utkin.
posted by zamboni at 5:10 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of this
posted by asockpuppet at 5:15 PM on February 15, 2011


J. G. Ballardskian!
posted by Artw at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


#9 (The Ukrainian Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and Development )
Don't go in. IT'S A COOKBOOK!
posted by hexatron at 5:25 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very cool, thanks for the post.
posted by kprincehouse at 5:34 PM on February 15, 2011


No wonder Tsereteli inspires some strong feelings about his work (Ref: No. 13).
posted by vidur at 5:45 PM on February 15, 2011


A crematorium in Ukraine with concrete "flames"? Tackiest one of all.
posted by medeine at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2011


... I imagine a Cronenberg version of Transformers....

wait... what?
posted by ennui.bz at 6:16 PM on February 15, 2011


A building that can turn into a car, a pile of disgusting bones or a gun that shoots teeth.
posted by Artw at 6:25 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay, now describe the Michael Bay version of eXistenZ.
posted by hattifattener at 6:31 PM on February 15, 2011


Some of these are very cool. The artsy photos are nice, but I wouldn't mind seeing some close-ups.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:35 PM on February 15, 2011


It's an explosion made of teeth!
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


...was never completed because of its structural flaws and the collapse of the USSR

Structural flaws all 'round really...
posted by the noob at 6:45 PM on February 15, 2011


The anthropomorphic House of Soviets in Kaliningrad, Russia, on the site of the Saxon castle of Königsberg. Begun in 1974, its construction was never completed because of its structural flaws...

Kind of like the USSR... GODDAMMIT NOOB
posted by doublehappy at 6:59 PM on February 15, 2011


Don't forget the monument in Bulgaria, Buzludja. Known to some guy on vimeo as The Soviet Terror Dome (great video footage, but too much Hunt for Red October music edited badly and makes it seem over the top. Really worth checking out).

Kind of ominous looking, but strangely plain from the outside, but the interior is amazing even after years of neglect.
posted by chambers at 7:09 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I propose we devise a scheme to crowd source funds to enable ex-soviets to continue doing crazy shit so that we can look at it on the internet. English-Russia writ large. Donate over ten bucks and you get a vote what should be developed. Playgrounds, aircraft, highway interchanges or despots dachas. You get to choose!
posted by Keith Talent at 7:22 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Slide number 8 is exactly, precisely, what a Central Research and Design Institute for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics building should look like, in a 1950s-era Japanese comic book.
posted by ardgedee at 7:30 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Soviet bloc architecture, no?
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 7:48 PM on February 15, 2011


More photos of the roads ministry. A lot of this stuff was inspired by earlier constructivist architecture from the 1920s and thirties such as the Monument to the Third International. In general though, communism always seemed to lean towards producing progressive architecture to distinguish itself from the past. See also Jean Renaudie's Ivry sur Seine. I long for the days when social change went hand in hand with crazy forms.
posted by tmthyrss at 8:07 PM on February 15, 2011


It's like a Fritz Lang fever dream. I want to live in that world, or at least visit it armed with a plethora of cameras.
posted by cmyk at 8:10 PM on February 15, 2011


My OCD is reporting conflicting information. The Holocaust Statue is perfect, you can feel the chaos, and structure's pain, but the rest of the buildings are disjointed, cold and anal retentive, I need to go shuffle cards now.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:17 PM on February 15, 2011


ROBOT BUILDING AWAITS COMPLETION
posted by not_on_display at 9:34 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That robot building could be from an illustration in the Cyberiad!
posted by moonmilk at 10:00 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are all very cool, for a wide variety of reasons. There are clear lines of thinking and expression in these structures - they simply don't look like something that came out of a committee. The embassy in Cuba is so brutal, such an object in space, it looks like it was constructed elsewhere and dropped from the sky, or a large weapon thrust into the ground by a being the size of a god. An ominous presence.

The Central Research and Design Institute for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics looks like it is floating - a deception enhanced by the photograph itself, a haunting chiaroscurist work of winter. I can picture a figure in a dark overcoat, hands thrust in pockets, crunching its way towards the building...mind lost in thought, swirling with ideas, punctuated by the crunch and groan of the cold, dry snow underfoot.

The Holocaust Memorial is exactly what a modern memorial can and should be - not because of the forms, but the expression of energy, hope, and the contradictory anguish and pain conveyed so plainly, so intuitively and so viscerally.

And in all of them, an unabashed exploitation of the site. Some are sincerely respectful, others are clearly intended to contrast, but they all address their surroundings.
posted by Xoebe at 10:25 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Central Research and Design Institute for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics is where supervillians live, no doubt about it.
posted by HotPants at 10:27 PM on February 15, 2011


Cool stuff.

A crematorium in Ukraine with concrete "flames"? Tackiest one of all.

I hesitate to think of the heights of tackiness that have probably been achieved in relation to crematoriums in a cost-minimizing capitalist system. Not saying anything about the building, just pointing out that you can go way, way tackier with a crematorium than unsuccessfully trying to put it in a nice monument-like building.

I propose we devise a scheme to crowd source funds to enable ex-soviets to continue doing crazy shit so that we can look at it on the internet. English-Russia writ large. Donate over ten bucks and you get a vote what should be developed. Playgrounds, aircraft, highway interchanges or despots dachas. You get to choose!

Too bad that ten bucks is no longer enough to cover a MIИEKЯДFT! license.
posted by XMLicious at 12:05 AM on February 16, 2011


Cool! The architecture faculty at Minsk university even has an integrated ski jumping facility!
posted by sour cream at 12:13 AM on February 16, 2011


... I imagine a Cronenberg version of Transformers....

Can I just get a Ridley Scott Gigantor instead?
posted by spacely_sprocket at 12:15 AM on February 16, 2011


In Soviet Russia, architect designs ... buildings!

oh, wait ...
posted by memebake at 3:25 AM on February 16, 2011


Many of these have a STAR TREK circa "operation annihilate" vibe to them.


watch your back, Spock...
posted by wittgenstein at 7:19 AM on February 16, 2011


Why is that some of those buildings look like they would not be out of place in Boston? Or at least no more out of place than some of the other mid-century modern monstrosities plopped into the Boston streetscape.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 8:32 AM on February 16, 2011


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