April 2, 2020

James Graham:

Cultivating the Multinational State: Constructivism, Territory, and Climate in the Soviet Union 1926-1933
Zoom video conference
Watch the talk below

The Soviet Union famously occupied “one-sixth of the world,” to borrow the title of Dziga Vertov’s well-known film, encompassing a wide range of climates and cultures alike. The question of how this variability would be managed became a crucial point of interest for many scientific and governmental actors, and it became a question for the field of architecture as well—what role might design play in constructing and representing the increasingly production-oriented territory of the USSR? And in what ways did the ongoing debates around regional architectures and national minorities reflect back into the Constructivism of metropolitan Moscow? “Cultivating the Multinational State” explores the relationship between architecture and the construction of the larger territory of the Soviet Union through new ideas about agriculture, infrastructure, and national belonging, particularly under the First Five Year Plan.

Alexander, Leonid, and Viktor Vesnin, Entrance for the Palace of the Soviets competition, Moscow, 1932

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