Frédéric Chaubin: Soviet Architecture. 1970-1990

Fascinated by the massive scale of Leonid Brezhnev era architecture, french magazine editor Frédéric Chaubin toured the former USSR for seven years (between 2003 and 2010), during which he stumbled upon 90 soviet buildings scattered across 14 former USSR republics, bearing the identifiers of what he calls ‘cosmic communist constructions’. His documentation is an important contribution to architectural history, especially of an era, of which not much is comprehensively known. Architectural Brutalism is somewhat evident in these structures that reveal a surprising freedom from the top-down directives of 1920s Constructivism and thereafter. These striking buildings, constructed on a huge scale usually from reinforced concrete, are anti-picturesque, their outlandish gravity-defying forms pitted against the landscape. Chaubin maintains that architecture reflects and expresses ideology and philosophy of that era. Take a look.

The Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics in St Petersburg

Soviet embassy in Havana

Ceramic pool designed by Zurab Tsereteli at a children’s health resort in Adler, Russia

The House of Soviets in Kaliningrad

The Ninth Fort is a stronghold in Kaunas, Lithuania

The Kiev crematorium. Unmistakable lunar capsule inspirations.

The Georgian Ministry of Highways

The Palace of Ceremonies in Tblisi, Georgia

Druzhba health spa in the Ukrainian resort of Yalta

Ukrainian Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and Development in Kiev

The architecture faculty at the Polytechnic Institute of Minsk

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9 Comments on "Frédéric Chaubin: Soviet Architecture. 1970-1990"

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gail C

wowie some of these are so grand…

Violeta Batiz

Building first evolved out of the dynamics between needs (shelter, security, worship, etc.) and means (available building materials and attendant skills). As human cultures developed and knowledge began to be formalized through oral traditions and practices, building became a craft, and “architecture” is the name given to the most highly formalized and respected versions of that craft…Respect :)


Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.


Well, we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.


I’m writing an essay on the religious importance of architecture and am happy to have seen these. Although not religious, I can see that they are monumental and have a cathedral-like presence


will be probably an overpriced book.


i wonder how these guys get funding for projects like this. I have lot of ideas for studying little known Indian architecture,,but funds are not there.


the Star Wars galactic visions must be quite impressive to behold in real life, massive structures soaring to the skies. Amazing

Dana G

I am a student of history of architecture in Norway. Thank you for this.