Editorial material

  • The spring started with two popular architectural events in Siberia: in the beginning of March the youth Archbukhta was held in Irkutsk (8), and at the end of the same month the Archigesh was organized for mountain skiers in Novokuznetsk (12). After determination of the winners, our attention was focused on the city environment, the most trending topic of the season. Spring is the best season to take care of the city environment in general and of urban improvement in particular, because the snow melts to uncover all drawbacks of the surface relief. At the same time, contractors wake up from hibernation and are ready to manage the allocated funds. Citizens choose (now by themselves!)...

  • The discussion is focused on interpretation of the city as home. The interior of the city is related to historical memory and sustainability of city life. The Irkutsk and Siberian identities are discussed. The participants of the discussion propose the ways to arrange the monumental decoration of Irkutsk.

  • What is a city made of? Which of its components depend on us, architects and citizens, and which of them are inherent, given by destiny, history, geography? Alexander Rappaport speaks about why the Sky, almost a natural element of any landscape, in the Russian landscape, becomes a specific element and a symbol absorbing both historical destiny and utopian prospect of spiritual development, and differs from the German, French, British or Chinese sky (60).

    Elena Bagina is worried about the future of the Boulevard and the Square in general and in Yekaterinburg in particular. She thinks that these important elements of the urban interior are likely to disappear (66, 70). At the...

  • The discussion is focused on identity of Irkutsk. It points out the processes that encourage its formation and analyzes the key problems concerning the ‘Irkutsk style’, wooden architecture, as well as development and realization of new projects for the historical center of Irkutsk.

  • Konstantin Lidin, Elena Grigoryeva

    From time immemorial people have been ornamenting and painting the walls of urban houses. However, from the 1960s the invention of markers and then spray paints gave an opportunity for amateur muralists to cover huge areas with frescos. Graffitists have turned from a marginal and semi-criminal element into an evident factor of creating urban interior. The scale of this phenomenon can be compared only with its ambiguity. What is graffiti? Is it vandalism full of evil or demonstration of spontaneous genius? Should it be prohibited or protected as cultural heritage of contemporary times? In May, the Moscow City Duma adopted the law on graffiti regulation, and shortly before it six of PB...

  • The Italian triptych by Leonid Salmin brings us into the interior of the southern cities of Italy, where the spaces are narrow, having been fully inhabited by citizens for a long time, and where bed sheets flutter like flags of privacy above the chairs and tables set out on the pedestrian way and even on the roadway (114). After the hot Sicily and Naples we are carried away by Olga Smirnova, a wonderful storyteller, to a fairy tale of foggy London (120) and have a five o'clock tea together with a millionaire in Chelsea. Then comes a big article by Georgi Stanishev about Rudy Ricciotti, an architect whose interior of the city blends into the interior of the building, and whose bridges...

Book review

  • The book describes the life and creative activity of Iosif Yulievich Karakis, one of the talented Ukrainian architects of the Soviet period, who designed many buildings, which later became outstanding historic landmarks of architecture of the Soviet period. Iosif Yulievich is featured as a talented teacher, expert in architecture, who had not only deep and stable professional principles, which he did not renounce even in the times of strong ideological pressure, but also human principles, which caused him to make decisions according to his conscience, but not “the demands of the moment”. These principles often had a crucial effect on his destiny.

Items about an individual

  • The author considers the art of a little-known Russian architect (including his own archival and field research) who worked more than 25 years in Qingdao and who created a huge number of projects and buildings. As a result of the survey of buildings in Qingdao, the author identified more than a dozen buildings designed by V.G. Yuryev, including those preserved up to the present time, such as his own house, the building of the oceanarium, the castle of the newspaper magnate M. Lembich, the Church of St. Paul and other works of the architect. Typological, compositional and stylistic features of the identified buildings are considered in the article.

Short articles


  • Globalization and the growth in migration flows give many examples of how the traditional style of life can be destroyed by the ‘aliens’. To regulate people’s everyday behavior, nonviolent methods of management are rapidly developed. The interior of the city is considered as an environment, which has a great influence on the inhabitants’ behavior. Thus, the role of the architect embraces the sphere of socio-psychological management of mass behavior.

  • If we look closer at the biographies of the professionals of the first half of the 20th century, we can see how conventional and inconsistent the simplified scheme of the history of the national architecture of the 20th century is. The traditions of classicism preserved until the middle of the 1950s by old experts, graduates of the Imperial Academy of Arts and the Institute of Civil Engineers, have been lost. Professionalism has been lost together with the traditions.  The logical consequence is ruin and chaos in the city environment.

  • About one hundred years ago, architects attempted to rely on ‘honesty of expression’ in architectural forms. It concerned everything, including things external to architecture. The attempt did not produce convincing results. The initial postulates proved to be false. Architecture becomes estranged from the ‘external’ objectivistic determination: it is the source of meanings and emotions in itself. It also means acceptance of theatricalization as a basic strategy of architectural activity, whatever forms and techniques are used. This strategy has a centuries-long history and includes several varieties, which are differentiated in the article.

  • The sky is an element of any landscape. In the Russian landscape painting, the sky becomes a peculiar element and a symbol, which absorbs both the historical background and the utopian future of spiritual development. That is why the Russian sky differs from the German, French, English or Chinese one. The sky is an archetype of any stain. Russian landscape paintings have revealed a dramatic synthesis of natural meteorology and human feelings in the sky stain. No one has ever painted the sky so disturbing.

  • Elena Bagina, Arina Leizerova

    The boulevard is viewed in historical perspective, from the late 18th to the 20th century. The article points out the change in the cultural functions of the boulevard and in the rituals of human behavior. It features the flanerie phenomenon. The authors link the destruction of bourgeois culture with democratization of the society and development of transport in the first half of the 20th century. They give grounds for criticism of the contemporary design of boulevards. Revitalization of boulevards involves searching for new forms corresponding to contemporary culture.

  • Metamorphoses of social life in the USSR in the 20th century occurred so impetuously that the ‘link of times’ supported by architecture of squares was broken. The imperial squares of the Soviet period in Russia, that replaced the cathedral squares, have lost their former mission and failed to find a new life. The attempt to artificially revitalize those squares fails for many reasons: a huge scale, overloading with transport, lack of places of attraction, and new buildings mismatching the character of former development and composition. Installation of swings and benches does not save the situation. It only underlines the inharmony of such designs. There are no squares in the projects...

  • The origin of the obelisk is mysterious. Like many other things in the history of our civilization, it occurs at once, perfectly shaped, without genesis or labour pains. Like the Great Pyramids, it appears ‘from nowhere’, in solid stone structures, in monoliths, and then similarly degrades down to bricks, boards and cemetery plaques.

  • The author presents his interpretation of the meanings of such important elements of architecture as a threshold and a portal. Using the images and techniques of mythosymoblics, ethnography, architectural poetics and phenomenology of spaces and substances, the author tries to avoid functional and typological representation and understanding of architecture.

  • Alexander Rappaport

    The article features a contradictory character of perception of graffiti, which does not explain this phenomenon of urban life. Meaningful artistic expressions and structures of graffiti remain outside the impartial analysis. Graffiti invades not the world of inhabitants, but the objective environment of the city like a voice from outside, which is transcendental to the environment. Graffitists are children of the big city, who don’t feel themselves full-fledged citizens and try to give the city the features of their place. Invisibility of the authors and the viewers of the contemporary urban graffiti can be interpreted as an alternative to mass media where electronic communication...

  • Graffiti as a mass phenomenon emerged on the wave of protest youth movements at the end of the 1960s and has carried aggressive emotions for a long time. Today, graffiti includes the streams bearing a positive emotional charge. Such graffiti is used to change the attitude and behavior of people in many countries. Using the example of the Irkutsk graffiti artist Master Bo (Kartashov), the article shows how the stigma of being a rioter and a vandal hinders the artist from making positive graffiti in Irkutsk.

  • Street art as a part of contemporary urban culture is presented as one of the means of the formation of identity of the place, transformation of the environment and raising its uniqueness. The ‘urbanistic character’ of street art ensures diversity of its forms, breadth of expansion and heterogeneity of its participants, including professional and amateur authors and the unlimited range of residents and guests.

  • Thinking about the feeling of interior of the urban environment, we refer to the emotional experiences of space, where interaction between a human being and a city is like an emotional coexistence. The human being is in the center of a special energy field archetypically experienced as HOME. A human body and an urban body make up a firm integration, the deep senses of which are inevitably manifested in everyday practices of urban life.

  • Rudy Ricciotti has become world-famous thanks to his projects related to transitional zones: first of all, they are bridges and cultural centers with transparent lace façades blending in the urban environment and letting this environment inside the buildings. In the works by this poetic master, the city interior is gradually and unnoticeably flowing into the interior of the building, and the bridges link the fragments of the city like interior doors.
    A contemporary citizen living in the man-made environment perceives the urban space beyond their apartment or office as a relatively natural environment, which is not subject to full human control. There can be snow, rain, not fully...

  • The article touches on the challenge launched by the new Moscow Park against the orthodox ideas of city green spaces; the necessity of stakeholders’ conscious synergetic efforts to create sophisticated urban objects; and the possibility of an outstanding innovative placemaking solution in the heart of historic Moscow. The author positively characterizes the appropriate healing of the ‘hole in the landscape’ which used to be in Zaryadye; the solution for a new pedestrian fragment of the Moskva River embankment; and the creation of the environment with functional diversity suitable for today's 'homo selfiens'. The author critically characterizes the correlation of the new structures of...

Short reviews