Communist Contributions to the Development of Architecture

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Abstract

There are many debates about whether Socialist classicism is successful architectural style or not. In order to understand it several objectives have been reviewed. They are tracing the historical development, exploring the initial ideas and purposes of the soviet architecture, assessing the value of the designs as landmarks, construction performances and budget and identifying the most colossal design projects.The aim of this study is to clarify several aspects by which Communist regime was developed and whether the regime at that time contributes to the development of architecture and establish a successful style. Communist regime has been influenced by styles and it is famous with its monumentality

Acknowledgments

I want to take this moment to express my recognition, to the people who were with me throughout the whole process .In the first place I want to thank my family for their support, understanding and guidance. They have provided me with both, the unconditional emotional support and financial support. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Richard Nicholls. These are the people who deserve my deepest appreciation, because they not only refer to me with patience but as well with professionalism. We have to believe in ourselves and have the confidence to follow our heart, even if this lead off to the beaten path. We must be strong and true to the goals we have set, and namely you all were my muse to keep going and be more determined and optimistic about the future.

Contents

In contrast, others believe that Stalinist architecture was widely influenced by the foreign political conflicts and its main purpose was to resist and lay the foundations of a new society. However, there are countless debates over the contribution of the soviet architecture, and thus none of them seem to be enough comprehensive and factual. For the purpose of the present study it is necessary to explore the most noble and notorious soviet monuments, their impact and architectural value in and out of the political context. When speaking of Socialist Classicism the first associations that come into mind are grandiose projects and profusion. Beyond any doubts, the whole Eastern Europe was highly influenced by the soviet designs and this time interval will be remembered as the upsurge of construction in all ex-soviet countries(Fordham, 1998). However, the experience was gained slowly and the initial projects were doomed to criticism for their irrational models, financialoverruns, and poor quality. But instead of slowing down their impulsive plans, eastern governments empowered even greater architectural feats.

Consequently, the main aim of the present analysis will be to trace the development of the totalitarian past and ideological architectural development as well as identifying biggest success and failures of Socialist Classicism and examine all aspects of their implementation. The following study will present a different views on the topic by evaluating the problem dependent and independent phenomenon. This approach will not only help to maximize the objectivity of the analysis, but will also provide an in-depth understanding of the influences and causes that led to the formation of this architectural style.

Based on primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography, the structure of the study takes the form of four chapters, including this introductory chapter. To assist the main aim, a couple of themed objectives were proposed.The first part deals with thetrace of historical development. Chapter two is concerned with the exploration of the initial ideas and purposes of the soviet architecture, bylaying out the ideological significance.The third section is focusing on the three key themes that affect the development of the Stalinist architecture, the value of design as landmarks, construction performances and budget.Finally, the conclusion gives a brief summary and critique of the findings.

Introduction

The glory of the Soviet Architecture seems to be openly associated with the whole Soviet Ideology. Accordingly too many revolutionary superstructures were nothing but expression of political dominance, relying more on symbolism than functionality

the fascisms, were a way to proclaim the right ideology and in the same time to keep the nation in consternation. In almost every cultural speech of Hitler, it was mentioned architecture, because architecture is a way to show the greatness of Aryan association. Monumentalism architecture stands out from modernism, because of Hitler and Stalin(Rosenthal, 2002).

Friedrich N. was delighted with the Roman architecture. Architects back then used to give massiveness to the architecture. Not only this wasn’t an unconsidered decision, but the spaces were aggressively used, an example of that is ‘Seven Sisters’(Figure 1)big skyscrapers in Moscow. However, Roman architecture has served as a model for an absolute rule (European-architecture.info, 2015). Russian monumental architecture is famous for its sizes and beauty, according to Kaganovich (soviet politician and administrator and one of the main associates of Joseph Stalin) (Russiapedia.rt.com, 2015), Stalinist architecture was adapting real forms. For that time it was important the architecture to have an instinctive engagement with the public and to be saturated with communist ideology.

Under the rule of Stalin, monumentalism utilized the principles of modernism. Besides the ideological context of that construction period, the architecture should be inspiring for the masses. Before the domination of Hitler, German scholar of architecture was elected because of his knowledge over the topic of Dionysian architectural style, which would represent the power of the government by the spiritual folk. Bruno Taut (German architect well known for his theoretical works) and Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus School), featured cathedrals as a holy situated for another community. Palace of Soviets in Russia and House of the People in Berlin were planned to be built with the same ideological context and purposes. For example the construction of the Palace of the Soviet was supposed to be built during 1937, two years later the foundations of the House of the People were fact(Rosenthal, 2002). Each of those structures, served ideologically to their country. The house of the people was to be the vastest dome in the world with Apollo statue, while the palace of the soviets was supposed to be the highest building(figure 2), with the statue of Lenin on top(Rosenthal, 2002). Both of the buildings had to have space which would accommodate thousands of people. The idea behind those grand projects was not only to awe the masses, but to stand for centuries. The technological development helps them to implement such large projects, that’s why perception exist that the building has no size or height limit. Alexey Shchusev(soviet architect whose works may be regarded as a bridge connecting Revivalist architecture of Russia with Soviet architecture)(Russell, 2013)was delighted with the Pyramids, so was Stalin. There is a theory of ‘Ruin Value’ by the German architectAlbert Speer which claims that the value of the building is measured by its ruins after thousands of years, similarly like the Pyramids and Roman ruins

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