Saint Petersburg Kaleidoscope from Home: "Houses of the Future" from the Soviet Past. Part 1

10 July 2020

The era of constructivism in the history of Soviet architecture did not last long. Nevertheless only ten years from the beginning of the 20s to the beginning of the 30s of the XX century were able to form and present to the world an aesthetic that continues to influence various forms of contemporary art to this day.

In Soviet Leningrad at that time, innovative architects were free to implement the most ambitious projects, consistent with the basic idea of ​​constructivism: the geometry of forms and the functional convenience of buildings. They deliberately abandoned decorativeness in favor of conciseness and clean lines. Therefore, the creations of the era of constructivism share the severity and monumentality without excessive massiveness and heaviness.

This is exactly what one of the most interesting structures of that era looks like: the power station of the factory “Krasnoe Znamya” (“ the Red Banner”, Korpusnaya St., 3). This is not only a wonderful example of style, but also the only example of expressionism in St. Petersburg - a European trend, which sought to express the emotional state and inner world of the author in architecture. The project was carried out in 1925-1926 by the most prominent representative of expressionism - the German architect Erich Mendelsohn, invited to the Soviet Union. His plan was to use the plastic forms to give the factory building the shape of a ship, looking forward and pulling the entire production. The master brilliantly coped with the task, leaving Petersburg a wonderful monument of constructivism.