New East Digital Archive

Socialist Modernism photography series seeks to save Eastern Bloc architecture

19 August 2016

The Socialist Modernism photography series documents and aims to save buildings in the former Eastern Bloc, in spite of their association with a totalitarian regime.

The project, which forms part of an initiative launched by the Bureau for Art and Urban Research (BACU), captures buildings constructed after the Second World War in the Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia. Founded by Romanian brothers architect Dumitru Rusu and curator Rusu Stefan, the project seeks to protect a period and style that is “not represented in the history of world architecture”.

“Our project is dedicated to socialist architecture, built between 1955 and 1991 [...] Our goal is to clarify any misunderstandings and prove that Socialist Modernist architecture is valuable and significant to world history in relationship with the political system that shaped it,” BACU said in a statement to Dezeen.

The first phase of the project sees the creation of an online archive of the buildings, after which BACU hopes to develop regulations to protect them.

The structures featured in the series currently face a range of fates. Some are set to be listed by the National Historical Monuments Registry or UNESCO, such as the Romanita Collective Housing tower in Chișinău, and Hotel Nation and Hotel Cosmos, which are also in Moldova. Others, including the House of Statistics in Berlin, are being adapted, while some are expected to be demolished or simply remain abandoned, such as Warsaw’s Emilia Pavilion and Chișinău’s Lower Cable Car Station, respectively.

“We strive to present the current state of these vestiges: protected or proposed for repurposing, being demolished or replaced by other buildings believed to be more economically or ideologically appropriate,” BACU told Dezeen

Source: Dezeen