Imagining Moscow Landmarks If They Were Mostly Underground

The "iceberg" metaphor made literal.

Image
Saatchi & Saatchi/MA

Great buildings don't wear their history on their sleeves. As in Hemingway's famous literary "iceberg" adage, the story sits mostly out of sight -- in broken windows since fixed, realigned walls, and most of all, the movements of important people who left no prints on the architecture.

That iceberg metaphor is the inspiration for a clever new advertising campaign for the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow. Designed by the Russian offices of Saatchi & Saatchi to lure in architecturally curious Muscovites, the posters imagine what three iconic Moscow buildings might look like if their above-ground structure represented only a tenth of their total volume.

Above, of course, are the famous onion domes of St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, with an imaginary substructure of ever-larger pillars and domes.

The designers also developed underground additions to the Lomonosov Moscow State University (which featured in Phaidon's atlas of 20th century world architecture):

And for the now-infamous Bolshoi Theater, which, as David Remnick's reporting on the acid attack demonstrates, may be the perfect illustration of the campaign's slogan, "Discover the full story."

Come to think of it, we wouldn't be too surprised if a good number of Moscow buildings did have secret underground extensions.

All images courtesy of Saatchi & Saatchi and the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.