Analyzing "totalitarianism from below" in a crucial area of Soviet culture, Hugh Hudson shows how Stalinist forces within the architectural community destroyed an avant-garde movement of urban planners and architects, who attempted to create a more humane built environment for the Soviet people. Through a study of the ideas and constructions of these visionary reformers, Hudson explores their efforts to build new forms of housing and "settlements" designed to free the residents, especially women, from drudgery, allowing them to participate in creative work and to enjoy the "songs of larks." Resolving to obliterate this movement of human liberation, Stalinists in the field of architecture unleashed a "little" terror from below, prior to Stalin's Great Terror.
Using formerly secret Party archives made available by perestroika, Hudson finds in the rediscovered theoretical work of the avant-garde architects a new understanding of their aims. He shows, for instance, how they saw the necessity of bringing elite desires for a transformed world into harmony with the people's wish to preserve national culture. Such goals brought their often divided movement into conflict with the Stalinists, especially on the subject of collectivization. Hudson's provocative work offers evidence that in spite of the ultimate success of the Stalinists, the Bolshevik Revolution was not monolithic: at one time it offered real architectural and human alternatives to the Terror.
Originally published in 1993.
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"Hugh D. Hudson, Jr., offers a detailed history of exactly how and why ... the Stalinist classicists ended the run of astonishing modernist architectural works produced during the early years of the USSR.... [His words] are persuasive and refreshing."--Journal of the Society for Architecture Historians
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Ch. 1 Revolution and Architectural Schools of Thought 15
Ch. 2 OSA and the People's Dreams 52
Ch. 3 The Foundations of Stalinism in Architecture 68
Ch. 4 The School of Revolutionary Architecture: VKhUTEMAS 84
Ch. 5 Students and the Architectural Wars 101
Ch. 6 Stalin's Agents in Architecture: VOPRA 118
Ch. 7 The Deintellectualization of Architecture 136
Ch. 8 Mikhail Okhitovich and the Terror in Architecture 147
Ch. 9 Organizing a Victory Celebration 166
Ch. 10 The Victory Congress? 185
Selected Bibliography 247