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10. The Ghost in the Machine: The Modernist Architectural Utopia under Stalin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows the continuities of a specifically modernist vision of utopia (as expressed in modernist architectural theory and practice) within the framework of Soviet architectural activity of the 1930s. It could be argued that modernist architects chose to work on such projects as a survival strategy, which would ensure long-term employment and wages, while giving them an important role within the Soviet Union's industrialisation programme and therefore a secure ideological status within the architectural community. As Nikolai Miliutin had stressed, a modernist idiom was also initially regarded as the appropriate language for other buildings such as the workers' clubs and palaces of culture. Such continuities in method and personnel are striking, and serve to highlight the fact that, under Stalin, the design method could remain avant-garde, while the external styling might display a more historicist and ornate treatment.

Keywords: avant-garde; modernist architects; Nikolai Miliutin; Soviet Union's industrialisation programme; Stalin; utopia



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