This course considered the phenomenon of the Soviet Architectural Avant-Garde as part of a broader cultural history. The response of architectural thought to the machine, as well as the intersection of political and social propaganda, literature, art and cinematography were examined. Special attention was paid to the present problems of preserving the fading heritage of experimental architectural practice, whether paper architecture, oral history and ephemeral constructions for International Exhibitions, stage design and the projects for National Soviet Competitions or buildings now in a critical condition. Such focus of preserving Soviet Avant-Garde architecture has attracted a variety of Ph.D. and Masters students including those from the CCCP, Architecture Ph.D., Art History Ph.D. and Historic Preservation programs. This mix of scholastic backgrounds provided an opportunity for intense interdisciplinary discourse, opening new perspectives on the phenomenon of the Soviet Avant-Garde’s history and the material built expressions of the movement’s theories.
In addition, GSAPP organized a seven-day trip to Moscow that allowed the students not only to experience the actual buildings studied in class, but also photograph and survey them, collect material samples and brainstorm about the feasibility of their preservation.