Avant-Garde as Method

Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920–1930

The groundbreaking new study on the early Soviet Union's Higher Art and Technical Studios, known as Vkhutemas, and their pioneering curriculum that has been a source of inspiration for generations of architects, designers, and artists until the present day

 

Titelinformation

Anna Bokov. With forewords by Kenneth Frampton and Alexander Lavrentiev

1st edition

, 2020

Text in English

Hardback

624 pages, 965 color and 80 b/w illustrations

24 x 31 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-134-0

Inhalt

Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, the Higher Art and Technical Studios in Moscow, more commonly known as Vkhutemas, adopted what it called the “objective method” to facilitate instruction on a mass scale. The school was the first to implement mass art and technology education, which was seen as essential to the Soviet Union’s dominant modernist paradigm.

With Avant-Garde as Method, architect and historian Anna Bokov explores the nature of art and technology education in the Soviet Union. The pedagogical program at Vkhutemas, she shows, combined longstanding academic ideas and practices with more nascent industrial era ones to initiate a new type of pedagogy that took an explorative approach and drew its strength from continuous feedback and exchange between students and educators. Elaborating on the ways the Vkhutemas curriculum challenged established canons of academic tradition by replacing it with open-ended inquiry, Bokov then shows how this came to be articulated in architectural and urban projects within the school’s advanced studios.

 

Anna Bokov is an architect and architectural historian. She is faculty at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, New York.

Autoren & Herausgeber
Echo

«Es gibt Bücher, die rauben den Lesern sprichwörtlich den Atem. Das eben erschienene Avant-Garde as Method. Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space 1920-1930 von Anna Bokov ist ein solches Buch. Wer den 624 Seiten dicken Band über die berühmteste Kunsthochschule der Sowjetunion erstmals durchblättert, wird nicht nur von der reichen Bildauswahl und der offensichtlichen Forschungsleistung der Autorin beeindruckt.» Gregor Harbusch, BauNetz

 

«Nun hat die am hochnoblen Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton tätige Historikerin Anna Bokov ihre Forschungen in einem voluminösen Buch gebündelt, das mit hunderten von nie gesehenen Originalfotografien einen Eindruck von der Vielfalt des damaligen Betriebs vermittelt. [ … ] WChUTEMAS steht für ein abgebrochenes Experiment, das alle Erwartungen der Avantgarde barg, und ohne das die Entwicklung der Moderne nicht verstanden werden kann.» Bernhard Schulz, Der Tagesspiegel

 

«Dieses Buch beeindruckt nicht nur als Ergebnis einer jahrelangen, enormen Forschungsleistung, es ist auch in jeder Hinsicht opulent geworden: durch seinen Umfang, die Ausstattung, die grafische Gestaltung, aber vor allem durch seine Bildauswahl expressivster, selten gesehener Architekturfotografien, Modelldarstellungen oder Zeitdokumente dieser frühen sowjetischen Bauakademie.» Johann Michael Möller, Rotary

 

«Ein schönes, ein liebevoll gestaltetes, ein in jeder Hinsicht gewichtiges Buch!» Johann Michael Möller, karenina.de

 

«Anna Bokov hat ein Kompendium, eigentlich: eine Schatztruhe in Buchform vorgelegt. Wohl zum ersten Mal in dieser Breite und Tiefe scheinen alle, wirklich alle Facetten der Wchutemas-Schule ausleuchtet.» Christian Welzbacher, KunstbuchAnzeiger.de

 

«Il volume di Anna Bokov contribuisce a svelare l’eccezionalità del Vkhutemas, oscurata – complici le barriere linguistiche e ideologiche – dalla fama del Bauhaus, la scuola tedesca divenuta sinonimo di sperimentazione e libertà. Come sottolinea Kenneth Frampton nella prefazione, parte degli insegnamenti di design e architettura del Bauhaus vedono le loro origini a Mosca. Nel 1927 Alfred H. Barr jr., primo direttore del MoMA di New York, commentava: ‹apparentemente non c’è posto in cui il talento di tipo artistico o letterario sia coltivato con tanta cura come a Mosca. Preferiremmo essere qui piuttosto che in qualsiasi altro posto sulla Terra›. Tuttavia, nel 1936 tralasciò il contributo del Vkhutemas nella mostra su Cubismo e Arte astratta: un’omissione ancora da colmare » Gabriele Neri, Il Sole 24 Ore. Domenica

 

«Bokov’s comprehensive and richly illustrated account of Vkhutemas demonstrates that much of the teaching methodology associated with the Bauhaus was, in fact, first developed at this Soviet institution.» Paul Mumford, Architectural Record

 

 

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Cover

View of the studio exhibition of student exercises for the Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, c. 1927 © MARKhI Museum, Moscow | Muzey istorii moskovskoy arkhitekturnoy shkoly pri MARKhI (Museum of the History of Moscow Architectural School at the Moscow Architectural Institute)

Mikhail Korzhev. Abstract exercise on the Articulation of Mass and Weight in a Parallelepiped. Space course, Nikolay Ladovsky’s studio (Obmas) at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1921. © The State Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow | Gosudarstvennyy nauchno-issledovatel'skiy muzey arkhitektury imeni A. V. Shchuseva (MUAR)

Faik Tagirov. Cover of the school pamphlet Vkhutein: Vysshiy gosudarstvennyy Khudozhestvenno-Tekhnicheskiy Institut v Moskve (Vkhutein: Higher State Artistic and Technical Institute in Moscow). Moscow, 1929. © Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Exercise on the Articulation of Volumetric (cubic) Form (based on relation of mass and space). Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1920s. Two views of the same exercise. © Richard Saltoun Collection, London, UK

Exercise on the Organization of Space in a Cube. Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1920s. © Richard Saltoun Collection, London, UK

Exercise on the Articulation of Volumetric Form (based on the relation between mass and support, using rotation). Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1920s. © Richard Saltoun Collection, London, UK

Exercise on the Articulation of Deep Space (organization of space on a rectangular plane). Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1920s. © Richard Saltoun Collection, London, UK

Students with models produced for an exercise on Vertical Rhythm, developed by Nikolay Ladovsky in 1923-24. Space course at Vkhutemas. Moscow, c.1927.

Nadezhda Kolpakova. Student exercise Color Solution for Architectural Volume for the second-year Color course taught by Gustav Klutsis at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1928–29. © MARKhI Museum, Moscow | Muzey istorii moskovskoy arkhitekturnoy shkoly pri MARKhI (Museum of the History of Moscow Architectural School at the Moscow Architectural Institute)

Nikolay Sokolov. Production exercise on the Articulation of Mass and Weight. Exhibition pavilion (exhibition hall organized as a spiral ramp). Space course at the Architecture Department at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1927. © Alex Lachmann Collection, Cologne, Germany

Natalya Ganina. Student project for “agit-textile,” designed for the Textile Department at Vkhutemas and produced at Pervaya sittsenabivnaya fabrika (First cotton-printing factory). Moscow, 1920s. © The State Museum of Vladimir Mayakovsky, Moscow | Gosudarstvennyy muzey V.V. Mayakovskogo

Furniture models for an exhibition. Alexander Rodchenko’s studio at the Metalworking Department at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1922–23. © Rodchenko-Stepanova Archive, Moscow | Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova Archive, Moscow

El Lissitzky. Cover of the school pamphlet Arkhitektura: Raboty arkhitekturnogo fakulteta Vkhutemasa, 1920–1927 (Architecture: Works of the Architecture Department of Vkhutemas, 1920-1927). Moscow: Vkhutemas, 1927. © Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Alexander Silchenkov. House of Industry and Trade. Diploma project for Nikolay Ladovsky’s studio at the Architecture Department at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1928. © MARKhI Museum, Moscow | Muzey istorii moskovskoy arkhitekturnoy shkoly pri MARKhI (Museum of the History of Moscow Architectural School at the Moscow Architectural Institute)

Georgy Krutikov. New City (Flying City). Diploma project for Nikolay Ladovsky’s studio at the Architecture Department at Vkhutemas. Moscow, 1927-28. Perspective view of the residential colony of the Flying City. © The State Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow | Gosudarstvennyy nauchno-issledovatel'skiy muzey arkhitektury imeni A. V. Shchuseva (MUAR)

 

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