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CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed Hardcover – 5 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Benedikt Taschen Verlag; Mul edition (5 Feb 2011)
  • Language: French, English, German
  • ISBN-10: 3836525194
  • ISBN-13: 978-3836525190
  • Product Dimensions: 26.7 x 2.8 x 34.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"...an eye-opening experience for those who assumed that Soviet architecture died with the rise of Stalin." -The New York Times." --The New York Times

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By E. P. Hughes on 13 Mar 2011
Format: Hardcover
A fine effort, painstakingly compiled from the author's photos. He has travelled all over the ex-Soviet Union to capture these crumbling gems of another era. The book is fabulously large, fabulously glossy and fabulously interesting. In the usual Taschen style, it is lavish in its pictures but minimalist in its text, save for an introductory chapter.

It's easy for Brits to be reviled by the reinforced concrete school of architecture - the brutalist style doesn't fit with the typical cramped British town centre. But in the Soviet Union, which was far from crowded, buildings and their surroundings were often planned together and so the monumental truly looks monumental. And with a surprising amount of creativity thrown in.

To add to the atmosphere, many of the buildings in the book are in the usual dismal state of repair which goes hand in hand with the ex-Soviet Union; many seem to be vacant, at least from the indoor shots; and some had already been demolished by the time of publication.

You don't have to be an architecture enthusiast to enjoy this book, nor necessarily a Cold War fan. It depicts the products of a past era; a different system of planning; an economy which lavished money on building showpieces, but never put anything aside to maintain them. In short, I think its appeal is that you will never see the like on a British High Street.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Samsonlcy on 1 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic images. Was highly anticipated when I found this through blogs. Shocked when it arrived and I found that it was such a huge book in terms of size. Cant be a bad thing when the every detail can be seen.

The images are stunning and worth it especially when some of the images have been torn down. There are enough interior views of the buildings and spaces and they give a good experience of the atmosphere. These buildings have long been abandoned but the photography still manages to capture the glory of the soviet era in full. As an architecture student, it will be amazig to have found the plans and sections of the buildings. However, some of these are remote enough as they are so its understandable they did not try do a half hearted job with the more technical drawings.

The book is split into functions and not chronological or geographical. Personally, I prefer this especially when the introduction has brought you throught the architecture chronologically. The graphics that accompanies the photo also tie the whole C.C.C.P theme really well. Downside if that a heavy book like this one, the spine does not open as much as you would like it to and the double spread images get distorted.

Very well thought out book and well worth it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not an architect, but I like history of art and this book caught my attention.

The book, as other reviewers point out, is a great showcase of the later soviet architecture. A whole range of buildings, from camps for the reeducation of young offenders (built by themselves) to scientific institutes or to "wedding palaces".

The constructions are not so different from the "futuristic" or "op art" constructions of the western countries in Europe or South America: vast concrete expanses, curving or polyedrical façades and roofs, concrete sculptures and abstract decorative motives... Adaptating or merging with the surrounding landscape was not an issue. It was an era of experimentation for "new forms". Some of them are naïve and useless, some of them are truly good solutions and even extraordinary technical solutions. Quite familiar with the booming architecture of the Spanish dictatorship in those years.

One usually imagines the architecture of the soviet era as a uniform mass, oppresive, grey, poor quality, but this book discovers that USSR architects had their own progressive views, they tried to build original structures. Probably this was an attempt to "lightening" the political opression, or the feeble trials at making communism more palatable to the population, showing that the soviet system could match the experimentation and mores to be found elsewere in the world.

The photos are numerous and large, but have an eerie quality of decay, neglect, abandon that clutches your heart. It is a pity that so many buildings have been despised and abandoned.

The book is well docummented and has a lot of written information.The only (minor) drawback is that the photos have a "coarse grain" look, much like those to be found in a 70's book, that sometimes make difficult to appreciate details.

A good buy for the curious and the professional.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The O on 11 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover
Unbelievable buildings, balancing on the edge of kitsch and brilliance, from the undiscovered former USSR countries. Probably the book of the year!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Mar 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spotted this slab of hardback in my local Waterstones, quite by accident, whilst looking for bargains. Sealed in shrink-wrap and with no price visible, I was really intrigued but as it was just after Christmas, I had a budget to stick to. Twenty pounds, I told myself. After queuing for ten minutes and my arms elongated under the weight, on scanning, it came up at £35. I might as well have offended both the assistant and queue personally by muttering that it was too much and promptly put it back.

Appetite wetted, Amazon, then, came to the rescue, nearly matching my price but delivered for free, too.

As others have said, there's little text but enough. The photographs themselves are mostly impressive and convey the grey concrete monuments to USSR Communism well. As a photographer myself, I felt that a few were uninspired in their taking but generally it's a solid body of work and not knowing the conditions and pressures (permission, secrecy etc) the photographer faced, it's petty to criticise. Considering also their geographical spread, it's fascinating, as one would expect for all the buildings to be in Moscow or other big cities, but a good many weren't.

The book has now been lent to several families who have had sons, daughters, people of all ages, from far and wide, coming home and who've found the whole topic fascinating. The size of the pages themselves almost demand respect, as if an old manuscript is being lovingly studied.

I won't be thinking of buying another book on Russian brutalist architecture again. "CCCP" covers the subject amply and superbly and its interest may be more universal than you might initially think and others will want a peek. Recommended.
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