Editorial material

  • Elena Grigoryeva

    The 20th century is receding into the past, hiding behind the curtain of myths and suppositions. The world was divided into two parts by the Iron Curtain almost for three quarters of the 20th century. How did the Soviet architecture develop in the informational and technological isolation?

    The article ARCHITECTUROSOPHY devoted to the architectural concepts of the 20th century raises the question: Was there an iron curtain in our profession? Or do the architectural thought and fantasy live in a common informational space which is beyond the political games?

    There are still attempts to comprehend and evaluate the heritage of the 20th century. What was the Russian...

  • Elena Grigoryeva

    The URBAN section presents several materials about the development of the Soviet urban planning school and some of their brightest representatives. One by one they are leaving us. Last year, during the autumn starfall, Lezhava, an urban planner from the bright NER Group (New Element of Settlement), passed away. NER is experiencing a new wave of interest among the architectural youth, as is evidenced by the popularity of the exhibition in the MUAR “Ruina”. Publishing his stories about his war‑time childhood, PB says good‑bye to Ilya Georgievich, one of our most brilliant and popular authors.

  • The biography genre still rarely participates in the development of architectural thought. We are publishing the material on contradictory and sophisticated figures of the contradictory and sophisticated century, I. V. Zholtovsky and A. V. Shchusev.
    K. N. Afanasiev in his “triple interview” speaks about his meetings with legendary masters of the Russian avant‑garde. The conversation was held thirty years ago, but has not been fully published yet.

  • Elena Grigoryeva

    The term “creative class” became popular in the current century. But it does not mean that the twentieth century lacked creative people.
    Yana Lisitsina tells how ultimately individual artists joined the Union of the East‑Siberian district, which in 1930 included the Irkutsk region, Krasnoyarsk district, Buryat‑Mongolian ASSR and Chita district. Leo Salmin makes a good attempt to release the history of Soviet design from “mythological remainders” and to study its heritage from the point of view of “archeological fairness”.

  • Elena Grigoryeva

    The history of creation of bright modernist works is full of unexpected turns. Chita architect Victor Kulesh tells us about the creation of the most famous sculpture in the capital of Buryatia, and Alexander Kudryavtsev speaks about elaboration of the Musical Theatre in Irkutsk.
    The value of the heritage of the 20th century is not comprehended by everyone. Thriving on oil, Surgut is ready to demolish the modernist railway station with its grandiose consoles to build something new and shining. Irkutsk adamantly denies the bright individuality of Vladimir Pavlov and the rootedness of his architectural heritage. We present three BAM stations by Vladimir Avksentyuk from Novosibirsk and...

  • The energy of the Khrushchev Thaw was reflected in the works by Vladimir Azarievich Pavlov, whose unique buildings constructed in Irkutsk are unrivaled throughout the world. In 1981 his name was in the list of the 50 greatest modern architects of the world. At the same time, the master’s creative activity is undervalued. Pavlov’s buildings in Irkutsk are in poor condition. They need to be restored and preserved as the cultural heritage.

  • Konstantin Lidin

    The history of architecture “on the other side of the curtain” is also far from unambiguity. One of the most significant figures of the American school in the 20th century is Louis Kahn. Architectural historians debate about him and his ideas in an open and emotional dialogue.
    The parallels concerning the attitude towards the heritage of the 20th century are far from being optimistic “on both sides”. A. Palagina expresses her worries about destruction of masterpieces of Metabolism in Japan.

  • Petr Kapustin, Alexander Rappaport

    The authors discuss the significance of L. Kahn for culture of the XX century. In the period of transition from modernism to postmodernism, Kahn remained a unique figure: he took upon himself all the problems of the destroyed and unfinished architecture. They point out his distinctiveness and relation to the transition from avant-garde to modernism. They discuss the phenomenon of subjectiveness of architectural criticism.

  • Petr Kapustin, Mikhail Yastrebov, Nikolai Vasiliev, Alexander Rappaport, Mikhail Belov

    Architects, historians and architecture critics dispute about the possibility to apply the notion “irony” to architecture, basing on Louis Kahn’s creative activity. The stylistic peculiarities of his works demonstrate his attempt to clear up the paradoxicality of existence typical of the era of late modernism.

News items

  • The news section presents the first World Capital of Architecture, Rio de Janeiro, as well as the reception of entries to the two international competitions: Kaira Looro Competition and the Baku Architecture Award.

  • The interview discussed the school for 1275 students built in Molodezhnyi settlement. It touches upon the innovative characteristics of the project, its architectural principles and the related projects realized before. The role of the Irkutsk school in the Russian architectural space is pointed out.

Items about an individual

  • Painting is one of the new creative activities of Alexander Rappaport, architectural theorist, Doctor of Art History and author of the book “99 Letters About Painting”. He defines his style of painting as a “posteclectic modernism”. His works have not been analyzed by art experts yet. This article is one of the first attempts to comprehend them.

  • On April 10, 2018, the Department of urban planning of the Russian Academy of architecture and construction Sciences held a meeting "Remembering Smolar", the sacred 12 February 90th anniversary of the birth of doctor of architecture, Professor, full member of RAACS Ilya Moiseevich Smolar, who left our world 10 years ago. The initiator of the meeting was a student of Ilia Moiseevich, who successfully defended his PhD thesis, now the chief architect of Moscow Institute "Giprogor" Alexander Albertovich Kolesnikov. The program of the meeting provided to recall the scientific, pedagogical and human qualities of I. M. Smolar, as well as the discussion of modern scientific and legal issues of...

  • A book wouldn't be enough just to mention Ilya Nikolaevich Lezhava's creative works and achievements. We’ll certainly write it.  Upon his graduation from MArchI he became one of NER ideologists… Lezhava is the author of dozens of books and articles in famous magazines, including the iconic French magazine L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui. PROJECT BAIKAL is proud to be among them: except Sibstream, Ilya Georgievich has published several articles about classics of the XX century (PB 46 quarters; PB 49 nature in the city; PB 53 cui prodest). His story about his war-time childhood submitted to PB contains everything that can be expected from high literature: liveliness, frank intonation,...

  • The biographical details of Ivan Vladislavovich Zholtovsky are incomplete and controversial. Numerous articles about the architect contain significant contradictions. There were three periods in Zholtovsky’s life: childhood, youth and apprenticeship (1867-1900); achieving fame in architecture (1900-1917) and the Soviet period, which was triumphal and tragic at the same time (1917-1959). Zholtovsky managed to reach the pinnacle of architectural fame neither in the second nor in the third period of his life, though he had every reason to do so, being the most persistent ideologist of traditionalism in architecture. His apprentices idolized him, but the authorities felt that he belonged...


  • Konstantin Lidin

    The article considers emergence and development of several most influential philosophical ideas of the 20th century, which were applied to the architectural theory and practice. It presents a drastic change in architectural thinking of the 1930-1960s.

  • The article reviews the most significant projects and realizations of the given period. It describes how quickly Russian architects entered the international professional community and features their achievements and technical and stylistic peculiarities of Russian architectural projects of the second half of the 20th century. It is pointed out that the creativity of the Soviet architecture stands out against the poor material resources and the strictness of architectural practice standards.

  • The more we learn about the events of the XXth century and the more we understand them (or think that we understand), the more we become disillusioned with it. The charm of aspirations and slogans melts, whereas aggravation grows. Achievements faint in the darkness of enormous deficiencies, which the hard light of rationalism was unable to identify. The article devoted to architecture and planning considers only several aspects of its historical evolution in the profession.

  • Georgi Stanishev; Konstantin Lidin

    The interview with a famous theorist of architecture, researcher of postmodernism Charles Jencks is a part of the book “Architectural Theories in Monologues” by Prof. G. Stanishev. In the conversation conducted in a free tone, Charles Jencks shares his thoughts on the matter of postmodernism and its relations with the previous stages of development of architectural thought.

  • Microdistricts built up with panel houses are a great resource of housing stock all over the world. In Russia, about 8.6 million people live in such houses. But the problem of how future generations will use this potential stirs up a lot of disputes because of the quality of the urban environment and infrastructure and the size of the living area. Taking as examples the Irkutsk microdistricts, the authors analyze the “hidden” values of the mass housing and formulate possible strategies of its development for future generations.

  • The history of the competition for the new building of V. I. Lenin Library is presented. The article features the three winning projects of the competition. The article tells about the protest of architects against the style and the ideas of the opportunistic projects. It points out the contrariety between the projects by Shchusev and Shchuko at the first and the second stages.

  • In the summer of 1986, Kirill Nikolaevich Afanasiev told Oleg Yavein and Elena Bagina about the architects, sculptors and artists whom he used to know and work with. K. N. Afanasiev’s memories of Zholtovsky, Shchusev, Alabyan, Burov, Sinyavsky, Mordvinov, Shadr, Merkurov and others cannot be found in any book. These are the living testimonies of the man, for whom A. A. Vestin was a teacher, M. Ya. Ginsburg was a fellow at the Association of Contemporary Architects, and I. V. Zholtovsky was
    a coworker.

  • Leonid Salmin

    The article is devoted to the history of national design in the period from the 1960s to the 1980s. It considers the phenomenon of such state professional institution as the All-Union Research Institute of Technical Aesthetics. The article analyses the reasons and the peculiarities of its establishment, development and decline. It tries to release its history from ‘mythological remainders' and to study its heritage from the point of view of ‘archeological fairness'.

  • The article raises the question of the formation of a professional creative organization – the Union of Soviet Artists, initiated by the resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) of 23.04.1932. On the basis of archival documents the article considers the initial stage of the Union of Artists of the East Siberian region – VSKRASSKh.

  • The article describes designing of public and cultural buildings in the USSR with the participation of the author. It points out the influence of prominent western architects on the ideas of Soviet architects. The article features the town-planning background of the Musical Theatre in Irkutsk and the significance of the activity of Irkutsk architects, V. Voronezhsky and V. A. Pavlov in the work on the master plan for the city center. It presents the principles serving as the basis for the architectural concept of the Musical Theatre.

  • This essay considers L. Kahn’s famous expression, his question addressed to his colleagues: “What does the window want to be?”. Kahn has a special status in architecture of the XXth century: he can be considered one of the most outstanding spokesmen for the century’s architectural self-consciousness, with all its striking visualization, toughness and inflexibility, as well as its hidden cunning, tendency towards manipulation and suggestion. The latter qualities are analyzed in the essay.

  • The main focus of the article is on the problem of the modern attitude to the remaining legacy of Metabolism in Japan. In the course of the research rare cases of renovation of architecture in Japan were revealed. In order to determine the historical value of modern architecture in Japan, a system “language-tradition-space” which links with the Japanese culture, was used. The full-scale survey of one of the Tokyo districts was also carried out to prove the certain connection between the value of space and time in modern Japanese culture.

Short reviews

  • The author describes the constructive, functional and aesthetic features of the gallery access apartment house in Irkutsk. He points out the innovative nature of design principles and the use of standard construction details.

  • The Irkutsk architectural school, which was formed around Vladimir Pavlov in the second half of the 20th century, is a unique example of a dialogue between the advanced architecture of modernism and the historical context of the city in Soviet Russia. Thus, today it is necessary to protect not only prerevolutionary, but also late Soviet architectural heritage.


  • The article describes the history of the creation of the monument to V. I. Lenin, as well as designing and development of the central Square of Soviets in Ulan-Ude. It features design proposals and the process of elaboration of the final version, as it is today.

  • The Baikal-Amur Mainline is one of the most significant projects and realizations of the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. The article considers the social and strategic importance of the BAM. It describes the railway stations on the Buryat section of the BAM, their construction peculiarities and their impact on architecture of the cities.

  • Conçue en béton armé, la gare routière de Gray, construite entre 1950 et 1953 par l’architecte Henri Chazal, s’inscrit le « Mouvement moderne » en architecture. L’un des tenants les plus célèbres de ce courant reste Le Corbusier qui, dans les mêmes années 1950 et dans la même région Franche-Comté, construisait la célèbre chapelle Notre-Dame de Ronchamp.