Course: Architectural Sketches: Moscow Modernism

Date

From 15 May 2021 to 20 June 2021

Hours

on Tuesdays and Sundays
Course: Architectural Sketches: Moscow Modernism Course: Architectural Sketches: Moscow Modernism

An introduction to the History of Soviet Modernism (1955–1991) and Training in Architectural Sketching.

This course was developed by Anna Bronovitskaya, author of guidebooks to Soviet modernist architecture in Moscow and Alma-Ata, and artist Timofey Illarionov. Participants will find out more about Moscow modernism, discover how to look at architectural form, and learn how to record their impressions with the help of sketching.

The course comprises five online lectures and six in-person sessions, during which participants will learn the basics of architectural sketching and work in the classroom and in the city. Well-known Moscow buildings of the 1960–1980s will open up from a new angle as participants discover more about their architecture and history. The drawing classes are suitable for complete beginners and those with experience of drawing who would like to learn urban sketching.

Anna Bronovitskaya will trace the evolution of architecture within the Soviet socio-political context and explain the connections to global twentieth-century trends. Soviet modernism is everywhere, including massive residential developments based on the micro district principle, standard cinemas, and numerous unique structures. The rejection of decorative “excesses” and the appeal to industrial construction methods prompted architects to look for new means of expression and master new designs in collaboration with engineers.

Each of the lectures will outline the features of one of the chronological stages in the evolution of architectural and engineering thought and will provide participants with an opportunity to analyze selected iconic Moscow buildings, including metro pavilions, the Pioneer Palace, the Rossiya Cinema, the Taganka Theater, the Cosmos Hotel, the Novy Arbat architectural ensemble, and others.

Timofey Illarionov is a graduate of the Moscow Architectural Institute. He will help participants acquire basic skills in urban sketching. They will learn to make large-scale graphic summaries of what they have seen, distinguish interesting and important details, and demonstrate their own vision of individual buildings. Each class will focus on a particular technical aspect and one selected building from key examples of Soviet modernism. The introductory session will take place at Garage, with the rest held in the city (if the weather is good).

For more information on the course, please contact us.

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Admission and class schedule

Eleven classes from May 16 to June 20

Five 90-minute online lectures. On Tuesdays from 19:30, with the option to watch recordings

Six in-person practical sessions, 120 or 180 minutes each. On Sundays from 14:00, at Garage or in the city (meeting points for open air sessions will be agreed with participants in advance). The schedule of outdoor sessions may be adjusted based on the weather. Class hours are indicated without travel time.

No special training is required.

Participants will receive sketchbooks, bags, and outdoor rugs. They should provide their own pencils, an eraser, and a sharpener. Colored pencils, pens, and felt-tip pens are optional. Participants will receive a detailed list of materials and recommendations by email on registration and in consultation with the tutor during the introductory session.

Homework is optional. The program of practical classes can be adapted to the participants’ skill level and the group’s wishes.

The course has an online platform featuring additional materials for self-study and recordings of lectures, with the possibility to exchange drawings and receive comments from the tutor. A closed Telegram channel will also be available for communication between participants and preparation for classes.


Season ticket price: 14,000 rubles. GARAGE cardholders receive a 10% discount.

Class space is limited.




Schedule

Sketching Practice 1. Introduction

The introductory class will acquaint participants with the tools and rules of working in the open air; and the laws of perspective, their application, and deliberate violation in drawing. To complete the session, participants will apply the acquired knowledge by making a sketch based on a photograph.

Date
Saturday, May 15
Time
17:00–20:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Lecture 1. 1955–1961: In Search of a New Style

In 1955, the Resolution on Excesses in Architecture was adopted in the Soviet Union. Outlining only the most general points, like the elimination of excesses and the use of the advanced experience of international design, it prompted architects to develop a positive agenda themselves. They tried various options, from simplified neoclassicism to the international style in the spirit of Mies van der Rohe, while also aiming to discover the untapped potential in 1920s constructivism. The process was gaining momentum, with Moscow architects moving on from charming yet timid debut designs (Sportivnaya metro station pavilions) to a clear image of Soviet modernity, as embodied in the Pioneer Palace and Rossiya Cinema projects, implemented in the late 1950s.

Date
Tuesday, May 18
Time
19:30–21:00

Sketching practice 2. Facade

Participants will learn more about composition, proportions, and the stages of working with a sketch, before making a frontal drawing of a building facade.

Date
Saturday, May 22
Time
17:00–19:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Lecture 2: 1961–1970: Historic Optimism on the Rise

The flight of man into space proved that nothing is impossible, while the Third Program of the CPSU, adopted in 1961, promised the onset of communism in just two decades. Significant architectural projects of the era were also aimed either at the heavens (the Ostankino TV tower) or the future (the House of New Life). “Gigantomania” was also typical for this period: in the 1960s, the 2,000-seat restaurant Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) was erected in Gorky Park. Completed to coincide with important dates—the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1967 and the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth in 1970, these structures symbolized both the apogee and the finale of non-self-reflecting modernism.

Date
Tuesday, May 25
Time
19:30–21:00

Sketching practice 3. Perspective. Step One

This session will focus on developing the technique of depicting a freestanding building and learning how to build perspective using simple rectangular constructions.

Date
Saturday, May 29
Time
17:00–19:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Lecture 3: 1971–1980: The Architecture of Developed Socialism

In the 1970s, architecture began to change, with complex, “talking” forms, deliberately textured stone or brick cladding, an appeal to historical prototypes, and even integration of preserved historical fragments (Krasnaya Presnya Museum, Taganka Theater). Preparations for the Moscow Olympics led to the emergence of sports facilities, many marked by excessive monumentality, as well as the first experimental collaborations with foreign architects (Cosmos Hotel, World Trade Center Moscow).

Date
Tuesday, June 1
Time
19:30–21:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Sketching practice 4. Perspective. Step Two

Participants will learn the theory and practice of sketching buildings with complex facades in perspective.

Date
Saturday, June 5
Time
14:00–16:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Lecture 4. The Decline of the Era: Soviet Postmodernism

The stagnation of the Soviet economy, further undermined by the Olympics, led to numerous long-delayed construction projects. Some buildings that had been conceived in the 1960s were only completed in the 1980s, and others were never finished. Projects did not remain unchanged, however, becoming more complex and overgrown with decorative elements (for example, the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences) and expanding beyond modernist aesthetics even more than the constructions of the previous decade. The designs of the 1980s experimented explicitly with new styles, such as hi-tech (the Industrial Fishing pavilion at VDNKh) or paradigmatic postmodernism (the Pioneer Palace in Perovo District).

Date
Tuesday, June 8
Time
19:30–21:00

Sketching practice 5. Fragment

Participants will focus on sketching interesting details, rhythms, decorative elements, and working on a smaller scale.

Date
Saturday, June 12
Time
17:00–19:00
Place
Garage Education Center

Lecture 5. Moscow: An Exemplary Socialist City

A huge leap forward occurred in the 1950s, with the pace of construction increasing to such an extent that it forced a radical revision of the master plan for the development of the city and the principles of urban planning. The increase in the size of the city required the formation of regional centers with their own architectural dominants. Alongside mass development, experimental solutions were introduced, such as the 9th Novy Cheryomushki micro district (late 1950s), Troparevo (1960s), and Severnoye Chertanovo (1970s). The same wave gave rise to the architectural ensemble of Novy Arbat street: literally tearing apart the low-rise center of Moscow, these modernist constructions eventually gave citizens an understanding of the value of the historical environment.

Date
Tuesday, June 15
Time
19:30–21:00

Sketching practice 6. Building in the Environment

During the closing lesson, participants will practice scale and work on drawing a building in the urban environment. This will be followed by a review of the practical training and a presentation of participants’ work.

Date
Saturday, June19
Time
17:00–19:00
Place
Garage Education Center