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Entries / Constructivism


Categories / Architecture/Architectural Styles

CONSRTUCTIVISM, the main style in the architecture of the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s and early 1930s. Based on the principle of functionality expressed in dynamically separated structures, it featured well-defined spaces and laconic surfaces, revealed by constructions and glazing surfaces. The Leningrad constructivism was heavily influenced by the system of suprematism of K.S. Malevich, with its autonomy of form and the abstractness of geometrical elements. The general turn towards the new trend in Leningrad took place in 1925-27, with the when construction work started in the workers' settlements in the outskirts of the city. New types of buildings and urban planning complexes corresponded to the completely changed social sense: residential complexes including cultural and service facilities, houses-communes, clubs and houses of culture, schools, stadiums, communal kitchens and district council buildings. The type design of apartments and sections (of building sections) was widely introduced. Leningrad Constructivism was characterized by the high attention to the art form and absorbed the methods of Expressionism, on the early and final stages, of Neoclassical reminiscences, during its peak, the Suprematist expression methods. The Krasnoe Znamya Factory became the example of the amalgamation of principles of Functionalism and Suprematism (1926-37, the architect E. Mendelson; 57 Pionerskaya Street). The leaders of the Leningrad avant-garde, A.S. Nikolsky and L.M. Khidekel have creatively connected the principles of Suprematism with the constructivist method. Y.G. Chernikhov gave the individual synthesis of different trends of avant-garde in his graphic compositions. The version of "pure" Constructivism is represented in a number of buildings by A.I. Gegello, G.A. Simonov, A.K. Barutchev, I.A. Gilter, I.A. Meerzon and Y.O. Rubanchik. The works of N.A. Trotsky is saturated with the influence of Expressionism, adding special emotionality, dynamics, and monumentality to his functional plans. Buildings by E.A. Levinson and I.I. Fomin have a tint of Expressionism, but the classical elements already show through in their details. Usually, the style and functional innovations were accompanied by superficial following of the formal principles and utmost schematic solutions. The open utilitarianism is especially typical for large scale residential construction, which hasn't always satisfied elementary needs. The gap of the technical basis and low material quality has also discredited the creative discoveries of the avant-garde. But in spite of these negative moments and the galloping, forcedly cut cycle of development, the Leningrad avant-garde made an important contribution to the national architecture.

References: Бартенев И. А. Современная архитектура Ленинграда. Л., 1966; Вайтенс А. Г. Архитектура конструктивизма в Ленинграде: идеи и результаты // Сто лет изучения архитектуры России: Сб. науч. тр. СПб., 1995; Зодчие Санкт-Петербурга, ХХ век. СПб., 2000.

Б. М. Кириков.

Barutchev Armen Konstantinovich
Chernikhov Yakov Georgievich
Fomin Igor Ivanovich
Gegello Alexander Ivanovich
Gilter Isidor Albertovich
Khidekel Lazar Markovich
Levinson Evgeny Adolfovich
Malevich Kazimir Severinovich
Meerzon Iosif Alexandrovich
Mendelson Erich
Nikolsky Alexander Sergeevich
Rubanchik Yakov Osipovich (Iosifovich)
Simonov Grigory Alexandrovich
Trotsky Noy Abramovich

Pionerskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 57

Вайтенс А. Г. Архитектура конструктивизма в Ленинграде: идеи и результаты // Сто лет изучения архитектуры России: Сб. науч. тр. СПб., 1995
Бартенев И. А. Современная архитектура Ленинграда. Л., 1966
Зодчие Санкт-Петербурга, ХХ век. СПб., 2000

The subject Index
Krasnoe Znamya, factory

Architectural Styles (entry)

ARCHITECTURAL STYLES, recognizable systems of architectural compositional techniques, forms and decor, whose differences are caused by social and cultural environment, aesthetic preferences and the type of architectural culture of a particular epoch

Gegello A.I. (1891-1965), architect.

GEGELLO Alexander Ivanovich (1891-1965), architect. Resided in St. Petersburg since 1910. Graduated from the College of Civil Engineers (1920) and from the Academy of Fine Arts, Higher School of Art and Technology (1923)