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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for enthusiasts?, 13 Mar 2011
By 
E. P. Hughes "E Hughes" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Cosmic. Amazing photographs. Worth it!, 1 April 2011
This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly original book, uncovering an unknown world, 11 Jun 2011
By 
The O (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (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
5.0 out of 5 stars We were not so different, 16 May 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (Santander, SPAIN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One big book...., 27 Mar 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Buildings, Good Photos, Poor Page Layout, 16 Oct 2011
This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
This is a fantastic collection of photos of some really interesting buildings. The only disappointment is that some of the photos are laid out across double page spreads... which means you miss the detail down the fold, since the book is fairly large I would have been happier with them on a single page, smaller but visible in all their glory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh brave new world, 5 April 2014
By 
tallmanbaby (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
Ugly Russian Buildings

I must confess that I bought this expecting it to be good, a Russian twist on our current penchant for really ugly Brutalist buildings like Trellick Tower, with a dash of that decaying Detroit look. I was however really surprised by just how good these buildings actually are. Clearly they are not all entirely to Western tastes, but they are far far better than just po faced Stalinist monstrosities. It is to our shame that these buildings are not better known in the West, they are world class examples of great architecture, and it is our loss that we do not know them better.

In common with other reviewers, I will add that the book is incredible value, the photos are stunning, it is slightly irritating that some of the images are marred with being double page spreads, the text is functional and the book is a real must buy. Get it now or regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job, 15 May 2012
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
It's big and heavy book with lots of amazing pictures of Soviet non-standard architecture of buildings. Most of them are in Asia, which gives them the Asian flavor. The book is an excellent printing quality, but, unfortunately, some reversals do not look very good - the quality(resolution) of the photos could be better. In any case, the book will be a great gift for fans of unusual architecture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 16 April 2013
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
this book is essential for anyone interested in progressive buildings and the post-war USSR, the photographs are of good quality and virtually all are devoid of people, adding to the sense that you are looking at a fallen empire of an ideology that has passed into history. The economic crisis in capitalism seems to have spurned a vast range of books about communism, people are fascinated by this period of our very recent history, unfortunately most authors are biased either for or against communism but since this book if full of large pictures and a short intro text it is left to the viewer to decide if the architecture is an ugly remnant of totalitarianism or a vision of socialist human progress that was betrayed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book worth collecting, 15 Mar 2013
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This review is from: CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (Hardcover)
I have seen this book since it was published and never came across of buying it, after I bought it and flicked through the pages I believe it was money worth spent, the images inside is not just architectural, its combined with photography and elements of art, love the book and recommend buying for other architects!
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CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed
CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frederic Chaubin (Hardcover - 5 Feb 2011)
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