Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia, under construction in 1897 (photographer unknown).
Postcard of Thomas Mann’s house, ca. 1940s (undated).
The mystified archive print seems worlds apart from its current existence as “The House That Death in Venice Built in Pacific Palisades.”
VIADUCITY (1987) by architects I. Galimova and M. Fadeeva. A competition entry for the Bridge of the Future competition in Japan Architect (JA) magazine. From Архитектура СССР 1988 No. 7-8.
There’s something familiar in this Soviet competition era entry, which at the time was a rare participation in a foreign architecture competition. I think similar utopian monumentalism and a re-analysis of the Piranesian classical and the radical postmodern is currently ongoing in many current architectural practices. But what is it telling us?
In 2012 this Soviet “Paper Architecture” was discussed in this great article on Domus by Massimiliano Gioni and Yuri Avvakumov. It’s a fascinating account on how these Soviet fantasy entries became a movement and how they succeeded in “dodging Soviet censorship by submitting projects to a competition announced by the magazine Japan Architecture.”
If the Soviet era architects were confined by state ideology and escaping its effects on creative expression into the utopia, then what is the current escapism about?
"In prehistoric times, before man had discovered the great secret of agriculture, the area now covered by Greater London could support only about 100 individuals." From Peoples of All Nations, ca. 1920 (not dated).
Comprehensive Map of Vietnam’s Provinces (越南全景) ca. 1890. An undated brush and ink manuscript map showing rivers and mountains of Vietnam during the 19th century.
The aesthetics of ski routes. Squaw Valley, California, in Ski magazine, Oct 1969.
The Cañon from Grand View Photograph by F. J. Haynes. From Burton Holmes Travelogues, Vol. 6 (1908).