In his genre-defining photo book published by Taschen, Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, French photographer Frédéric Chaubin has deep-dived into a post-Sputnik era, documenting a period of design largely ignored by academia and mainstream architecture.
Over seven years, Chaubin traveled to USSR countries from the edge of the former empire, his lens focused on the innovative design of what he calls the fourth age of Soviet architecture. The project began by chance; a series of fortuitous encounters with architecture and architects from the former Soviet states led Chaubin to begin something of a ‘game’ in 2003: “Its rules were simple”, he explains, “to locate the diverse manifestations of this very different style of architecture.”
Built between 1970 and 1990, these dramatic structures illustrate the myriad unlikely ways that architecture blossomed after Stalin’s suppression of the avant garde in the ’30s. While their concrete, totalitarian forms were the brick and mortar embodiment of a political ideology, what CCCP illustrates is that there was no dominant school that characterized this final age of Soviet architecture. Defined by their lack of theme, this unexpected rebirth of imagination can be seen as an architectural response to the Soviet Union’s slow demise.
You can purchase the book online from Taschen here.
All images © Frédéric Chaubin