EBOOK or KINDLE (Landscapes of Communism) by Owen Hatherley

  • Paperback
  • 624
  • Landscapes of Communism
  • Owen Hatherley
  • English
  • 05 June 2020
  • 9780141975894

Owen Hatherley Ö 8 Free download

Review ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ö Owen Hatherley Landscapes of Communism Read ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF 'In the craven world of architectural criticism Hatherley is that rarest of things a brave incisive elegant and erudite writer whose books dissect the contemporary built environment to reveal the political fantasies and social realities it embodies' Will SelfDuring the course of the twentieth century communism took power in Eastern Europe and remade the city in its own image Ransacking the urban planning of the grand imperial past it. 4 stars for interesting content not for clarity and styleFor what might be accurately called townscapes journalist Owen Hatherley presents a detailed at times indigestible analysis of Soviet era architecture Despite limited finances he managed to roam uite widely with firsthand impressions of Moscow Berlin Kiev during the recent demonstrations on the Maidan the remains of Ceaucescu s Bucharest Warsaw Vilnius even Shanghai to name the main cities visitedEach starting with a relevant uotation the chapters are themed the magistrales or wide boulevards cut through cities to permit state orchestrated demonstrations of power the massive impersonal to the point of being soulless suburban blocks of apartments to house large numbers of workers as fast as possible houses of the people to encourage suitable social activities palatial metros some stations ironically built in Moscow at the height of Stalin s Reign of Terror There is even a chapter on uirky examples of improvisation extra rooms tacked onto the sides of high rise flats and self managed tower blocks in New Belgrade like the Genex resembling two enormous linked grain silos Themes are set in context by an initial introduction on the nature and aims of Soviet architectureI learned a good deal from this book I had not realised how much Soviet styles varied in a relatively short period and liked Paperny s useful if simplistic definition of Culture One Modernism dynamic with horizontal structures low long and linear as opposed to Culture Two Stalinist with its monumental solid massive immovable vertical structures These harked back to past grandeur for the frontages of people s palaces intended as spacious flats for ordinary workers as in East Berlin s flagship project Stalinallee together with major buildings like Moscow State University with their stepped ziggurats and the Socialist Realism of the huge stylised statues of patriotic workersI had not considered how Utopian Soviet planners rejected distinct urban uarters as a survival of obsolete capitalist structures so that individuality was only possible through chance variations in a site Even under Krushchev s less extreme regime decrees led to an International Style extending between the far flung borders with Scandinavia Afghanistan and Japan with identical standardised plans down to the use of the same mass produced doorknobIronically the social condensers constructed to provide under one roof a variety of activities to create good socialist citizens often became rare examples of creative one off architecture such as Melnikov s Rusakov Workers Centre in MoscowI accept that for reasons of economy only small grainy black and white photographs are used but they are often not placed right next to the relevant text Some buildings like the famous Dessau T rten cubic houses of Gropius are described without the inclusion of any photograph at all which is like a radio programme explaining how to make a complicated origami bird Hatherley s prose is a little too leaden to get away with this Key points may be lost in his verbose and sometimes opaue style To cite one small example he writes that Modernists of the interwar period havebecome pejorative for their hostility to the street Does he mean that they became pejorative about the use of streets in urban design or that their hostility to streets has aroused criticism from others The latter include Jonathan Raban who argues that to kill the streetcuts the heart of cities as they are actually used and lived in Hatherley s lack of clarity matters because it is confusing The omission of the construction dates of many developments discussed is also unhelpfulConcepts like Modernism and Constructivism need concise definitions and a glossary of terms and architects would have been useful for reference The book would have been effective with fewer examples each with a better photograph and concise text When I took the trouble to find buildings on Google images I could understand much better what the author was getting at but it is cumbersome to read a book in this way

Summary Landscapes of Communism

Landscapes of Communism

Review ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ö Owen Hatherley Landscapes of Communism Read ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Scapes of Communism is an intimate history of twentieth century communist Europe told through its buildings; it is too a book about power and what power does in cities Most of all Landscapes of Communism is a revelatory journey of discovery plunging us into the maelstrom of socialist architecture As we submerge into the metros walk the massive multi lane magistrale and pause at milk bars in the microrayons who knows what we might find. I m probably doing this book a huge disservice if I write that this was one of the most interesting boring books I ve ever come across But then again who actually reads reviews from weird blonde randos rather than just glancing the star rating before they decided whether to go for it rightLandscapes of Communism caught my eye in a bookstore mainly due to my own horrendously slow and probably not that awesome anyway writing namely it looked like a nice inspiration for strange locations Now that I m done with it I can say that it partially worked but also gave me uite a bit This book I imagine would be interesting for either a niche audience of about 5 people in the west that are into this stuff a small crowd that like decent journalism andor writing and finally a lot of people like me that actually come from the eastern Europe and grew up around all the ridiculous stuff the book describes Briefly if you are one of us one of us one of us this book will help you look at where you live or grew up with a completely new eyes enabling you to experience the urban landscape better notice details that escaped you before and lets not forget boring your friends to death with yet another dose of nerdy fun factsWhy do I consider the book boring Ever since I recently made the conscious decision to read nonfiction books I opted for those with events those that told stories wisely assuming that descriptive textbooks would not grab me uite as much and then my reading progress would suffer I d fail my reading challenge and who wants to live like that Well this book fits the latter category full of concrete plastic revolutionary art concrete facades and concrete it s mostly a descriptive non story overlaid at places with historical remarks and personal notes about how the author and his girlfriend explored all of these locations Yet somehow it works and you enjoy looking at all the weirdness opulence and forced glorification of the simple asking for The chapters in the book cover what seems like a complete or at least a major fraction of the well types of communist architecture The topics remain interesting throughout from the major streets and microrayons at the start of the book through underground railways all the way to the self celebratory monuments Throughout and after reading this book I often felt some kind of nostalgia most probably for the places where I grew up and that are changing uickly making a lot of things I knew disappear Consciously I know this is a good thing cities in the east are getting prettier clean and modern however reading about the weird and abstract art scattered throughout the former communist bloc about milk bars and badly made prefab concrete statues that all brings me back to where I grew up playgrounds I used to play at where most of the euipment was somehow broken the ugly bus stop where I had my first kiss and once in a while one is very much allowed a completely biased trip down the memory lane

Review ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ö Owen Hatherley

Review ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ö Owen Hatherley Landscapes of Communism Read ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Set out to transform everyday life its sweeping boulevards epic high rise and vast housing estates an emphatic declaration of a non capitalist idea Now the regimes that built them are dead and long gone but from Warsaw to Berlin Moscow to post Revolution Kiev the buildings their most obvious legacy remain populated by people whose lives were scattered and jeopardized by the collapse of communism and the introduction of capitalism Land. 45 StarsFrom the Baltic down to the Balkans and Germany out to Georgia this book unfolds like a bleak architectural romance suffused with war hardship and history Among the memorable revelations in here were how female architects were given far power and influence than they were ever allowed in most capitalist countries We also learn all about microrayons and the mysterious K67 kiosks as well as other mind boggling creationsThere is so much history in this part of the world A vast region saturated with conflict two world wars civil wars as well as many other conflicts But it is also one which is incredibly rich and alive with so much varied culture and of course the spectre of communism hangs heavy But either way Hatherley takes the time and effort to do much of it justice acting as an entertaining and informative guide who is like a combination of Iain Sinclair Paul Theroux and Rowan MooreWithout doubt the many varied buildings in here are communist in appearance but they very much borrowed and relied on many capitalist architects and thinkers in particular the philosophies and work of Haussmann and Le Corbusier can be detected in many of the places Stalinist architecture was especially taken with the political and military implications of the wide open boulevards which are known as magistrale in Slavic countries A series of boulevards which were carved through cities between the 1930s and 1980s is how the author describes them Not only were they ideal for clearing the slums and keeping the poor away from the city centre but they created the perfect environment to monitor and control any potentially unruly or rebellious citizens and they were also ideal for pompous military parades complete with tanks and other phallic paraphernaliaHatherley rightly dedicates a whole chapter to the mesmerising ballroom glamour of the Soviet era underground stations Particular emphasis is placed on Moscow St Petersburg and Kiev These spaces are on such a dramatic and ornate scale that they freely soar from the sublime to the ridiculous as they unapologetically drive home their communist era propaganda in an incredibly innovative and memorable waySome of the architectural highlights for me were many of the sublime examples of Constuctivism as seen in the work of Konstantin Melnikov and his Rosakov Workers Club the rather extraordinary Neo Constructivism of the Ministry of Highways in Tblisi Georgia the Zizkov TV Tower in Prague and Raine Karp s fortress like National Library of Estonia and of course the unforgettable Brutalism of the Genex Tower in New BelgradeAlthough often these are crude muscular and stodgy creations there are some surprising moments of fresh creativity and fleeting beauty which allow us to view communist architecture in a colourful and three dimensional way The corns in Katowice Poland has a pleasant enough look about it and the Ulica Bukowinska where the author was living at the time of writing in Warsaw are not the worst high rises you will set eyes on There is also mention of recent gentrification with mention of Warsaw s aspiring Shoreditch and East Berlin amongst many spotsElsewhere we learn about how Ceausescu built the Casa Scanteii a mini skyscraper to hold the print works and the offices of the communist press Scanteii The Spark was the party paper After returning from a visit to North Korea in 1971 Ceausescu was so impressed by the Juche self reliance philosophy he set Romania onto a neo Stalinist path of rebuilding The natural conclusion of this hubris was the construction of the Palace of The Parliament the largest building in all of Europe and the second largest in the world behind the Pentagon Hatherley has dug out some wonderful photographs and vintage postcards which really give us an authentic glimpse of what governments and architects were trying to achieve Funnily enough many of high flats could be mistaken for structures found in the towns and cities of the UK The image of Kalinin Prospekt Moscow in 1980 could be a still from a deleted scene from Blade Runner The terrifying hulking monstrosity found in Seskine Vilnius could be the dwelling of a growling unseen baddie from an 80s cartoon and the centre of Lazdynai Vilnius in 1986 bares a shocking resemblance to one of the many Post War new town centres found throughout Great BritainI understand that 500 odd pages dedicated to communist architecture may not be everyone s cup of tea but I have to say I really got a lot out of this book and learned about countless wonderful examples of Eastern Bloc architecture and their sub genres as well as gaining a deeper understanding about the background and creators behind them In a strange almost inadvertent way this book also works as a loose travel guide to many of the cities of Eastern Europe Some of the buildings are genuinely incredible looking constructions there were so many times where I found myself viewing these buildings in the way that some astronomy enthusiast would look at images beamed from the surface of Mars or Venus This was an absolute joy and a thoroughly rewarding read