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.
I've bought quite few truly brilliant architecture books from Amazon but this one is a revalation. The beauty and imagination of the buildings portrayed in this large format book are only matched by the high quality of the photos and the superb production standards employed by Taschen. I heartily recommend this book not only to fans of modern architecture but anyone with an eye for imagination and beauty 😺
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.
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.
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.
It's a TASCHEN book, do I need to go further? The central element of this book (cosmic communist constructions) is unexpected, but also a more than achieved goal. Besides that, it is shown to us on a big format and with great quality photographs, essential for feeling and studying architecture. If TASCHEN ever did a bad art book it was the opposite of this one, it's a must have, even for a science-fiction fanatic that hates architecture.
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.