CCCP Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed
Photographer Frederic Chaubin reveals 90 buildings sited in fourteen former Soviet Republics which express what could be considered as the fourth age of Soviet architecture. They reveal an unexpected rebirth of imagination, an unknown burgeoning that took place from 1970 until 1990. Contrary to the twenties and thirties, no "school" or main trend emerges here. These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announces the end of Soviet Union. Taking advantage of the collapsing monolithic structure, the holes of the widening net, architects revisited all the chronological periods and styles, going back to the roots or freely innovating. Some of the daring ones completed projects that the Constructivists would have dreamt of (Druzhba sanatorium), others expressed their imagination in an expressionist way (Tbilisi wedding palace). A summer camp, inspired by sketches of a prototype lunar base, lays claim to its suprematist influence (Promethee). Then comes the speaking architecture widespread in the last years of the USSR: a crematorium adorned with concrete flames (Kiev crematorium), a technological institute with a flying saucer crashed on the roof (Kiev institute), a political center watching you like a Big Brother (Kaliningrad House of Soviet). This puzzle of styles testifies to all the ideological dreams of the period, from the obsession with the cosmos to the rebirth of privacy and it also outlines the geography of the USSR, showing how local influences made their exotic twists before bringing the country to its end.
"...an eye-opening experience for those who assumed that Soviet architecture died with the rise of Stalin." -The New York Times."
Frederic Chaubin was born in Phnom Penh in 1959. For the last fifteen years, he has been editor-in-chief of the French lifestyle magazine Citizen K. Since 2000 he has regularly featured his photographic works combining architecture and travel. The CCCP collection research was carried out from 2003 to 2010 in an intuitive process.