Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
A new map marks a path through the Russian capital in pursuit of Soviet avant-garde architecture.
The Shukhov tower in Moscow is still standing today, just barely. In early 2014, the Russian State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting agreed to dismantle the Constructivist broadcast tower only to see Moscow City Hall officially protect it later that summer after widespread opposition to its demolition.
The tower is just one of many structures all over Moscow built during a time of great artistic energy in the young U.S.S.R. Many of them can now be spotted easily on a new map.
Constructivist Moscow Map, released earlier this month, includes 50 structures that defined the ambitions of Soviet Russia in the years following the Russian Revolution. Traditional ornament was rejected in favor of geometry and new materials to express a revolutionary way of living from residential towers to factories. “For the first time,” writes the preservation activist Natalia Melikova in the map’s introduction, “innovations developed by Russian architects and engineers began to influence architecture abroad.”
Melikvoa runs an advocacy group called The Constructivist Project, which collaborated with Blue Crow Media on the architecture map. As these buildings age in a politically and financially constrained post-Soviet Russia, their futures are far from certain. With a copy of Constructivist Moscow Map, you can spot them (and their nearest Metro stations) while they still stand.
Map, £8 at Blue Crow Media.