Socialist modernism: remembering the architecture of the eastern bloc

[From The Guardian]

The monumental but decaying grey, brutalist structures of central and eastern Europe are fading memories of the socialist era. So decrepit are some of these buildings that the Bureau for Art and Urban Research (Bacu) believes “socialist modernism” – the architecture from the former eastern bloc erected between 1955-91 – has been left out of the history books.

In an attempt to protect these buildings, Bacu started an initiative in 2014 to document and preserve the structures and their heritage.

From the faded grandeur of the State Circus in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, to the concrete curves of Kiev’s Memory Park, many of these buildings have been abandoned and left to ruin, while others sit waiting for demolition in rapidly developing eastern European cities.

“We aim to revitalise this heritage not only for symbolic reasons, but because we believe in these elements that managed to defy some of the ideological requirements, giving the urban space a certain flavour so characteristic of those times,” says Dumitru Rusu of Bacu. “Boulevards, public buildings, living units and monuments, they all are a clear reflection of the social and cultural context of the socialist period.”

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