The authors of an upcoming book on the nation’s most threatened buildings have a dramatic short film that makes a case for preservation.
Welcome to the latest installation of “Public Access,” where CityLab shares its favorite videos—old and new, serious and nutty—that tell a story about place.
When Oleksiy Bykov was studying architecture at Kyiv University of Construction and Architecture, he couldn’t even find the resources to study what was built there during the nation’s Soviet occupation. But such designs won’t be forgotten if he has anything to say about it.
The architect is co-writing the book, Soviet Modernism, Brutalism, Post-Modernism: Buildings and Projects in Ukraine from 1960–1990 with Ievgeniia Gubkina, due out next October. They also worked with director and producer Roman Blazhan to create a video about the subject, bringing viewers right to the structures that have fallen into the background and into disrepair. And in 2015, Bykov helped put on an exhibit, “Superstructure,” highlighting the buildings.
“They symbolize the global idea of the ‘60s—the youth of the world,” Bykov declares as the video pans over Memory Park in Kiev, a monument with its own sordid history. The rounded concrete rises to a point and viewers can see the crematorium from almost every angle.
The movement to preserve Soviet Modernism became more urgent last year when it became clear that neighboring Ocean Mall Plaza may soon swallow the the old UFO building. According to Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly, “buildings constructed between 1955 and 1991 aren’t considered a part of the city’s historical or cultural heritage.”
But in Soviet Modernism, Brutalism, Post-Modernism, Bykov’s and Gubnika’s dramatic voice-overs make a case for the historical and cultural importance of these buildings as viewers are introduced to some of Kiev’s most iconic structures, like the UFO building and the House of Furniture.
“Each succeeding generation does not only reject the previous one but does not notice it at all,” Gubkina declares. The successive architectural styles during the Soviet period were created in voids, unconnected from the generations that preceded them.
They hope that trend won’t continue.
H/T: The Calvert Journal