Why Is Soviet Modernism Trendy Again?
About the new generation, cultural legacy, and modern education
Anastasia Petrova is an architect with 15 years' experience. She constantly strives to something new. In addition to architectural education, she was qualified as a lawyer. Moreover, Ms. Petrova is a scholar in Eastern studies and a translator from the Chinese language. Today, Ms. Petrova combines the positions of Chief Architect of TZAM Group and Dean of Architecture College of MKIK. Throughout her work, she designed upwards of 200 thousand sq. m. of real estate. One of her main tasks is preparing the new generation of specialists using the cutting-edge methods.
Anastasia Petrova - Chief Architect of TZAM Group, Dean of Architecture College of MKIK
Today, ‘Soviet Modernism. From: and To:’ is a key constantly operating project implemented on within MKIK. It is dedicated to Russia’s architecture of the 1960s and represents a major study with exhibitions as its intermediate results.
The constant exposition consist of more than 200 collection objects of the Soviet graphic production of the middle of the mid-20th century including rare exhibits.
“The majority of buildings in today Russia’s cities, especially in their suburbs, belong to the Soviet architectural legacy of the mid-20th century. People perceive historic buildings as something grand but modernism in architecture is often considered an everyday and boring thing”, explained Anastasia Petrova.
Modernism is a branch of architecture that delivers the atmosphere of a whole age. It is important to understand it, see its beauty, and understand the sense that authors put in it.
Modernist architecture is abstract and thus difficult to understand. However, many people who lived in the Soviet time still associate many nostalgic memories with these buildings. Today, it is important to help the rising generation feel the atmosphere of that epoch and understand the uniqueness and aestheticism of the existing architectural environment.
Within the project, students conduct research on Soviet modernism under the leadership of experienced experts. They compile selections of materials, organise exhibitions, jointly with designers create thematic stamps, author’s zines, and posters.
The project is regularly presented at different platforms in Moscow.
This spring, the exposition of the ‘Soviet Modernism. From: and To:’ exhibition will be presented at the Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) festival on April 20-21.
The visitors of the festival will be able to immerse in this epoch and feel its atmosphere. They will see installations related to not only architecture but interior of that time and also collection of postcards of the 1960s, in which people congratulated one another with shifting to a new home.
Anastasia Petrova emphasized that the implementation of this and several other interesting projects would attract students from the first year of their studies. “A comprehensive approach forms the basis of the educational process. It includes both serious theoretical training and project activity. The students don’t just learn the information from their textbooks. They communicate with professionals, borrow their experience, and apply their knowledge in practice”, she comments.
“I see the main value of modern architectural education in the fact that beginners can immerse in the profession by means of project activities. This inspires and motivates them”, emphasizes Anastasia Petrova.
The ‘Soviet Modernism. From: and To:’ project carries out not only research and exhibition activities but also practical work. “We started cooperation with owners of modernist buildings and settled that our final-year students would revitalise these spaces. Results of their labour will be reflected in their graduation works”, she continued.
Modernism is a style that doesn’t age beautifully. One must properly take care of such architecture and restore it.
During revitalisation of buildings, the students supervised by the experienced specialists help carefully breathe a new life into old architectural pieces of art taking into consideration the author’s concept and the history of construction.
In addition, Anastasia Petrova teaches students conceptual contest-focused projecting. This is a unique subject, which is not taught in other specialized educational institutions. The beginning specialists take part in architectural contests, present themselves as professionals, and tell about their ideas and projects.
Participation in contest is an important part of the architectural culture. The ability to present themselves in a proper way makes the specialists more competitive.
“Within our educational process, we also study modern urban planning, teach our future professionals to introduce their projects in already existing architectural environment that we inherited”, mentioned Anastasia Petrova.
Bringing up the architects properly will help preserve aesthetics and harmony in the appearance of cities.
Anastasia Petrova is perceived that any modern specialist must be immersed in the profession already in the beginning of his or her career, even at the level of secondary education. As a mentor, she puts every effort to bring up a highly qualified generation of architects. The thing is that the future of our country depends on them very much.
Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) festival where ‘Soviet Modernism. From: and To:’ will be presented will take place in Moscow on April 20-21.
Admission is free: http://doca.moscow/
Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov