The beauty of Soviet brutalism

French photographer Frédéric Chaubin made a record of 90 weird and wonderful buildings from the last decades of the USSR.

In his Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed book published by TASCHEN Frédéric Chaubin reveals 90 buildings sited in fourteen former Soviet Republics which express what he considers to be the fourth age of Soviet architecture. His poetic pictures reveal an unexpected rebirth of imagination, an unknown burgeoning that took place from 1970 until 1990. Contrary to the 1920s and 1950s, no “school” or main trend emerges here. These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announced the end of the Soviet Union.

Taking advantage of the collapsing monolithic structure, the holes in the widening net, architects went far beyond modernism, going back to the roots or freely innovating. This puzzle of styles testifies to all the ideological dreams of the period, from the obsession with the cosmos to the rebirth of identity. It also outlines the geography of the USSR, showing how local influences made their exotic twists before the country was brought to its end.

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed was elected best book on architecture of the year by the International Artbook and Film Festival in Perpignan/France (Festival International du Livre d'Art & du Film Perpignan) in 2010.



Frédéric Chaubin has been, for the last fifteen years, editor-in-chief of the French lifestyle magazine Citizen K. Since 2000 he has regularly featured works combining text and photography. The CCCP collection research was carried out from 2003 to 2010, through an intuitive and creative travel process. This project has been shown throughout the world, from Japan to the United States.

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