‘Constructivism 2.0’: chief Moscow architect pledges to protect Soviet style

'Constructivism 2.0': chief Moscow architect pledges to protect Soviet style
Rusakov Workers Club. Image Richard Pare, courtesy Lumiere Gallery, Atlanta

5 April 2018

Moscow’s historic Soviet neighbourhoods will be preserved as part of a new wave of renovation work to transform the Russian capital, top officials have pledged.

Moscow’s head architect, Sergei Kuznetsov, promised that communist-era gems wouldn’t be affected by a controversial government scheme demolishing thousands of Soviet-era low-rise buildings across the city.

Instead, he claimed that each new building would “search for dialogue with the past”, pledging that the city would develop “Constructivism 2.0” to help new apartment blocks blend in with historic constructivist neighbourhoods.

“[Constructivism] is a style that was distinguished by skill and innovation, and that should be taken into account with these new projects,” Kuznetsov told the Govorit Moskva radio station.

“In neighbourhoods which already have well-preserved constructivist monuments, it is quite natural to create a new building connected with that style, so that the memory of the place is preserved,” he said.

New builds in other areas would also be designed to fit in with the local neighbourhood and its history, Kuznetsov said.

Moscow city authorities announced plans to tear down around 8,000 Soviet-era housing blocks back in 2017. The clearance programme, which will see 1.6 million people lose their homes, focuses on low-rise prefabricated buildings known throughout the post-Soviet space as “Khrushchevki”. Built on mass after the Second World War to tackle widespread housing shortages, the buildings were affectionately named after the then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.