The Architekturzentrum Wien writes architectural (hi)stories: ‘Soviet Modernism 1955 – 1991. Unknown Stories’ explores, for the first time comprehensively, the architecture of the non-Russian Soviet republics completed between the late 1950s and the end of the USSR in 1991. The research and exhibition project shifts the Russian-dominated perspective and focuses attention on the architecture of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, The Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
While Constructivism and Stalinist architecture have largely been included in Western architecture history, the Soviet modern architecture of the second half of the 20th century has remained practically unknown to date. Working in close collaboration with local experts and architects, a research group at the Architekturzentrum Wien has pursued the specialities in the architecture of the period and its ‘stories’. In the course of this extensive project a network has been created between a large number of researchers from the East and the West and interviews conducted with eyewitnesses of the time. Their stories have hardly been documented in writing and their works have not yet been viewed in context.
Time is running out, and action is urgently needed as many of the buildings, which are still waiting for appraisal by architectural historians, are threatened. The poor construction techniques used at the time they were built means that these buildings are aging rapidly and there is a widespread lack of resources available, or support, for their upkeep.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English and German editions (published by Park Books).