Editorial material

  • Every regional center aspires to become (or at least to be called) a capital. Irkutsk is proud of being once an administrative center of a big governorate, which included Alaska. Krasnoyarsk has become a millionaire and now is competing with Novosibirsk for the title of the capital of Siberia. European cities annually compete for the status of cultural capital, youth capital, etc.

    Why is the capital status so attractive? It is obvious that Irkutsk is not Moscow, they have different possibilities, and their different budgets lead to different ways of achievement of common goals: to create a comfortable environment and to provide an appropriate quality of life. The main...

  • The discussion focuses on the peculiarities of non-metropolitan cities that attract their citizens. Different alternatives of formation of urban identity and uniqueness are proposed. The proposals for the creation of urban identity in Irkutsk are analyzed. The discussion features the connection between the historical development of the city and its present-day problems: development of the Angara waterfront; preservation of wooden architecture and V. Pavlov’s architectural heritage. It brings up an issue of distinctness of city mythology.

  • Nature is the ace of trumps used by regions in the struggle for human capital assets. The unique Mana and Stolby in the Krasnoyarsk region, widely famous Sheregesh in the Mountain Shoria and Teletskoe Lake in Altai, as well as Tunka valley, Arshan, Zhemchug and Nilova Pustyn frequented by people from Buryatia and the Irkutsk region. And, certainly, Baikal, a world-famous priceless reservoir of fresh water and a magic attractor. Hundreds of thousands of people go on pilgrimages to the places of strength, not knowing how to do without such visits. They come there to stand still in the face of our eternal teacher, Nature.

  • The discussion touches upon the issues connected with the dynamics of Lake Baikal and the efficiency of the current research on the lake, as well as the pollution problem and the ecology of the lake. It outlines the economical aspect in the formation of attitude toward Baikal. The participants of the discussion speak about the role of Irkutsk in preservation of the lake, the mission of Irkutsk, its current state and future development.

  • The citizens are surrounded by urban environment. It develops in the “clearances” between people. The society and the city are not just interrelated, they form a single whole, like the obverse and the reverse of the coin. At first glance, this thought seems to be trivial, but it depends.

    Irkutsk sociologists Mikhail Rozhansky and Elena Korkina, the ideologists of The City Otherwise Project, show the readers of PB how young citizens view their city. These views are expressed in their reflections and photos. Against common beliefs about modern youth, these young people are not obsessed with their gadgets. They use them quite well to take a fresh look at the environment. It should...

  • Elena Grigoryeva, Konstantin Lidin

    Capitals gather constellations of bright and creative people, attracting them from the peripheries. Tchekhov’s sisters were anxious to get to Moscow, d’Artagnan – to Paris. Evtushenko, Shukshin and Gaidai ascended to the climax of their glory, having moved to the capital. Vampilov, Rasputin and Astafiev became internationally famous without leaving their home grounds, but having joined in the metropolitan whirl.

    In this regard, the architectural profession differs greatly from the literary and cinematographic ones. The destinies of the masters who fulfilled themselves far from the capital are different but equally bright and unique. The Irkutsk “Varangians”of the sixtieth –...

  • Elena Grigoryeva, Konstantin Lidin

    The notion “capital” is not necessarily connected with politics. Sometimes a non-metropolitan city becomes so significant in its partial semantic field that it turns into a “partial capital“. Timişoara (Romania) was elected to become one of the 2021 European Capitals of Culture (together with Novi Sad - Serbia and Elefsina - Greece). Within the thirty two years of the tradition to annually elect a European capital of culture, many cities have played this role, both official capitals of European countries and provincial centers.

    Romanian town-planners will tell us how a non-metropolitan city is getting ready for the role of partial capital. A world away, in the Cape Winelands,...

News items

  • This summer Irkutsk will house a unique street photoexhibition where Russian and foreign photographers will present the images of history and architecture of Irkutsk and Venice.

  • The Festival “Zodchestvo of Eastern Siberia” was founded at the turn of the millennium. The first Festival was held in 2001 at Irkutsk Sibexpocenter and caused a massive outcry among the architectural community in Siberia and throughout the country. Later he Festival “Zodchestvo of Eastern Siberia” became one of the most important annual architectural events in Russia. The Festival program includes review competitions of he best architectural works and involves architects from Eastern Siberia (such cities as Irkutsk, Angarsk, Bratsk, Chita, Krasnoyarsk, epublics of Buryatia, Tyva, Khakassia, as well as Ust-Ordynsky and Aginsky national districts of Buryatia). Since 2007 architects rom...

Book review

  • The article reviews the book “Irkutsk in Illustrated Open Letters” by S. Medvedev and V. Kurenkov. This edition is compared to the previous one (1996). The article features the catalogues, text content and the quality of printing. The article places emphasis on consistent consideration of the postcards and its significance for the historical and regional studies, deltiology and architectural restoration.

Items about an individual

  • The interview contains discussion of social problems of interrelations between the capital and the periphery, functions and possibilities of the periphery, and significance of cultural factors for the dynamics of cities. The interview touches upon the processes of modern urbanization, as well as spontaneity and regularity of construction of contemporary cities. The hybrid character of the strategies for new centers is highlighted. The necessity to work out an independent strategy for development of peripheral territories is discussed.

Short articles


  • The role of the capital (metropolis) is often manifested in supplying of periphery districts with images and ideas. Depending on a historical situation, these images can become must-copy models. The enhanced dependence of the periphery on the center enables the architectural profession to transmit images produced by the capital. Today “metropolization” trends become weaker all over the world. Architectural creation tends to search for the images that show the peculiarities of lifestyle typical for the project site.

  • The article observes peculiarities of Russian town-planning policies connected with the relationship between government, business and society. The author concludes that at the current stage the Russian business and the Russian government, being obsessed with each other, have a common feature that includes indisposition to reach an agreement, a compromise or a balance of interests, as well as unwillingness and inability to understand the mood and the needs of different social groups and audiences.

  • Provinces demonstrate not only the decline and entropy of cultural values, but also their hybridization. A province is a place of selection of the new. Innovators are usually provincials.Provincial cultural innovations assimilated by the metropolitan culture can conquer it from within. That is why the liberalism of metropolitan cultural activity is usually replaced by the increased aggressive conservatism after the provincial geniuses and innovators start to raise their heads and throw the fledglings out of their nest. The provincial cuckoo fledglings are a dangerous attraction for the metropolitan taste longing for diversity. Now it is possible to speak about provincialism...

  • Basing on the materials of the research in the field of territorial planning and urban development, as well as on his personal research and design experience in territorial and urban planning within the so-called nonmetropolitan practice, the author of the article gives concrete examples of this practice and evaluates them.

  • The article reviews the dynamics of the spheres of the society, as well as the role of culture as a whole and of arts in building the image of the city. It introduces the notion of “peripherity” (with the reference to G. Stanishev) as a peculiar situation in the modern world, which occurs in opposition to globalization and unification of social flows. The article addresses the question of the resources of the peripheral situation required for development of social systems. The author analyses the role of art in intellectual culture and studies it as a system of world view and practice,which encourages comprehension of the uniqueness of the peripheral places.

  • The use of provincial design as a special form of manifestation of peculiarity of the “place” is determined by its relevancy for today’s world culture and common development tendencies of the Siberian region. The Provincial Design Project worked out by the Department of Design of Irkutsk National Research Technical University reflects the peculiarities of the art and design space of the region, corresponds to the current context and challenges of the profession and may serve as specific means of the territorial image formation.

  • The communal house designed for Siberian miners of Anzhero-Sudzhensk by Nikolai Kuzmin is viewed as a proposal related to realization of the Bolshevist anthropological experiment that contemplated socialization of households, reinterpretation of the role of architects in the new Social system and deprivation of inhabitants of private space. The project combined utopian proposals with elaborate functional solutions. The article observes the role of Nikolai Kuzmin in the history of the Soviet Constructivism in the absence of memory of him in today’s history of Anzhero-Sudzhensk.

  • The history of the industrial and urban development of Kemerovo is connected with a unique experiment in the establishment of the autonomous industrial colony of foreign workers “Kuzbass” in the early 1920s. The buildings designed by the Dutch functionalist architect Johannes van Loghem, who worked in the autonomous industrial colony, are of special value. The article tells about the unique Russian-Dutch heritage sites on the territory of the Kemerovo mine, which are currently in danger.

  • The article tells how Classicism played the leading role in formation of Krasnoyarsk architecture of the 1800-1850s. The stylistic standards of Classicism were mostly demonstrated in stone and wooden houses built according to the model projects in downtown neighborhoods. The author concludes that the civil architecture of Krasnoyarsk developed until the 1850s within the frameworks of the Classicism stylistic system, while new tendencies occurred very rarely.

  • Based on archival materials and the analysis of surviving buildings, the article recreates the creative activity of one of the prominent Far Eastern architects of the early 20th century, the military engineer B.A. Malinovsky. In the article his architectural and engineering works built mainly in the style of neoclassicism are identified, and the contribution of the architect to the development of Khabarovsk is shown. The principles of its design are traced, and a wide typological range of buildings is noted. The article pays attention to other important aspects of Malinovsky's creative activity, in particular, his contribution to the training of engineering personnel in the Far East in...

  • Timisoara is a major city situated in western Romania. In 2021, it will be European Capital of Culture. The city evolved around a fortified citadel surrounded by satellite settlements. After the demolition of the fortification (the XIXth century) a consistent urban tissue developed between the core and satellites. During the years, our office produced projects situated in these intermediate areas, developing an ”urban landscape” perspective, managing to attribute to the interventions a connecting role between the existing landmarks and poles; an important role was given to the ”modelling” of the volumes in order  to open vistas and visual cones, as well as to the choice of forms...

  • The jurisdiction of Stellenbosch, located adjacent to, but outside of, the Cape Town metropolitan area in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, comprises over one thousand square kilometers of landscapes spanning: spectacular mountain wilderness areas; many productive rural valleys that are an integral part of the celebrated Cape Winelands; and a number of historic, characterful urban centres founded during the 17th century. Overall, this blend of domains attracts increasing numbers of tourists, while the places are also home to a growing population. The pressures for change and growth are significant: so is the need for appropriate policies and plans in the longer-term public...

Short reviews