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Lost Vanguard: Russian Modernist Architecture 1922-1932 Hardcover – May 10, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Architectural photographer Richard Pare has spent more than a decade documenting Soviet modernist architecture. He is the former curator of photographs at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the author of Tadao Ando: The Colors of Light, Egypt: Reflections on Continuity, and Court House: A Photographic Document.

Jean-Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University, has published widely on European modernism.

Phyllis Lambert, who wrote the book's foreword, is the founding director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (May 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580931855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580931854
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 1.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the West, we often forget the Modernist agenda was rapidly adopted throughout the World. Young architects in the Soviet Union were especially eager to embrace this radical break with tradition. From 1922-32, Soviet architects were on the leading edge of the Modern Movement. This experiment with Modernism came to end with the rise of Josef Stalin. The Iron Curtain soon cut off the Soviet Union from the rise and eventual decline of architectural Modernism in the West.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened new opportunities for Westerners to explore countries that had been cut off for nearly seven decades. In 1993, architectural photographer and curator Richard Pare first entered the former Soviet Union. Pare's goal was to find these "lost" early Modernist buildings and photograph them. "The Lost Vanguard" is a compilation of photographs of seventry three structures. Richard Pare is a first rate photographer and his images are impressive.

A wonderful companion work to "The Lost Vanguard" is "Havana Deco." While the Soviets were adopting the latest Modernist designs, Cuban architects were embracing Modernism's more sensual sibling, Art Deco. In both Cuba and the Soviet Union, these cutting edge buildings were allowed to fall into the worst kind of disrepair. Yet in Cuba, no matter how greatly neglected the bulding is, there are always sensual bones beneath the decaying exterior. In contrast, there is something nightmarish about the Soviet buildings. In looking at Pare's depressing photographs, I am reminded of the slum photos of the great Chilean American photographer, Camilo Jose Vergara. These early Modernist buildings are not long for this world and we are fortunate the Richard Pare got there in time to document them. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I see Pare's photographs of these buildings, some of which I've tried photographing myself in the past, I marvel at his ability to get such articulate shots that beautifully describe the subjects. The pictures show warts and all--many of these buildings have lapsed into serious disrepair--but they nonetheless manage to communicate the high-minded artistic idealism of the architects while showing the buildings in their real-life current state. Added to this, in many instances he gets access to the building interiors, something I never had luck with. Russian constructivist architecture is one of my great interests and I find wandering through this book, viewing these buildings as though almost there in person, to be a real treat.

Update Jan. 2016: Pare's book is cited in Owen Hatherley's "Militant Modernism". Hatherly describes it as "the most comprehensive documentation of the legacy of Constructivist architecture ever published in the English language, and has a good claim to be the most complete produced anywhere else."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Pare is one of the best architectural photographers in the world today. In more than ten years he has documented Soviet architecture from after the 1917 revolution (1922-32) and this book is a catalog of that work, some of which is on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (July-October 2007). It is a large (12" x 10.75") and heavy (most plates are in color) volume. An excellent source for those interested in this facet of modernism!
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By Piri Halasz on January 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful modern architecture, beautiful postmodernist photography -- a labor of love, worth the labor that went into it!
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