Soviet Modernism 1955–1991

Soviet Modernism 1955–1991

Unknown History

A unique account of hitherto largely disregarded modernist Soviet architecture. Based on a ground-breaking research project, this book presents a history of architecture in the fourteen non-Russian Soviet republics, illustrated with a wealth of previously unpublished photographs and plans.


  • Out of Print


Title Information

Edited by Architekturzentrum Wien Az W. Complied by Katharina Ritter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair, and Alexandra Wachter. Preface by Dietmar Steiner

1st edition

, 2012


360 pages, 634 color and 388 b/w illustrations

24.5 x 29 cm

ISBN 978-3-906027-14-2


While Constructivism and Stalinist architecture are familiar to a specialist audience, knowledge of postwar Soviet Modernism in architecture is very limited. Much of the former Eastern Bloc’s architecture is regarded as monotonous and uninteresting. Yet a closer look reveals that hardly any linear development of a formal architectural vocabulary can be ascertained.

In a ground-breaking research project undertaken by the Architekturzentrum Wien Az W the remarkable architecture in the fourteen non-Russian former Soviet republics between the 1950s and the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 has been explored. Soviet Modernism 1955–1991 presents this untold architectural history in four chapters: Baltic States, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Each country is covered with a factsheet including also a concise historical overview, a research and travel report and a scholarly essay. Additional essays investigate Soviet urban planning and large-scale housing programs and typologies of large Soviet cities. A catalogue raisonné of around 400 important buildings, richly illustrated with images and plans, and a bibliography complete the book.

With essays by Rasim Aliyev, Ruben Arevshatyan, Vladimir Belogolovsky, Elke Beyer, Gamal Bokonbaev, Boris Chukhovich, Marija Dremaite, Anatolie Gordeev, Mart Kalm, Andreas Kappeler, Philipp Meuser, Rusudan Mirzikashvili, Rustam Mukimov, Ruslan Muradov, Feliks Novikov, Vaidas Petrulis, Oleksiy Radynski, Katharina Ritter, Maija Rudovska, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair, Yuliya Sorokina, Iliana Veinberga, Alexandra Wachter, and Dimitij Zadorin.


Deutsche Ausgabe

Authors & Editors

Rasim Aliyev

Architekturzentrum Wien Az W

Ruben Arevshatyan

Vladimir Belogolovsky

Elke Beyer

Gamal Bokonbaev

Boris Chukhovich

Marija Dremaite

Anatolie Gordeev

Mart Kalm

Andreas Kappeler

Philipp Meuser

Rusudan Mirzikashvili

Rustam Mukimov

Ruslan Muradov

Feliks Novikov

Vaidas Petrulis

Olekskiy Radynski

Alexandra Ritter

Maija Rudovska

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair

Yuliya Sorokina

Dietmar Steiner

, (1951-2020), graduated in architecture from Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts. He worked with various architects and taught as a lecturer at the University of Applied Arts until 1989 and since as visiting professor at various international universities. He was director of Architekturzentrum Wien Az W 1993–2016 and also worked as an editor for Domus magazine 1995–99. In 2002 he was commissioner of the Austrian pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Illiana Veinberga

Alexandra Wachter

Dimitrij Zadorin


Listed among the Books of the Year 2013 in the Financial Times: "This book is a wonderful trip around the edges of the empire, from the Baltic and the Caucasus to the Central Asian states, documenting some buildings of real invention and faith in the future."


"On y découvre des réalisations étonnantes, une diversité créative pour le moins inattendue et de beaux exemples d`adaptation locale de la théorie officielle." office et culture, Juni 2013


"The people behind Soviet Modernism 19551991: Unknown History brought together several years’ worth of research into a book which delivers on its promise. […] Consequently, it is a wonderful and stimulating book, which also demonstrates how architecture can transcend politics." Mark Chalmers, RIAS Quarterly