Owen Hatherley: The Tower has been Bolshevised

Owen Hatherley: The Tower has been Bolshevised

There are few exemplars of capitalist modernity more loaded with atavistic symbolism than the skyscraper. These Taylorised Towers of Babel have continued to mark the skylines of 21st century cities, often with the original functional, pecuniary or utilitarian justifications through zoning codes and land values disappearing, in the form of the deliberately wasteful likes of the Burj Khalifa. This paper looks at the various skyscraper proposals made by Soviet artists and architects as a way of implying that this capitalist dream-image had a neglected socialist underside, where from Tatlin onwards Marxists and/or Utopians attempted to reclaim these constructions for some kind of socialism.

May 15 – 10am @ CRA – RHB 312 Goldsmiths – all welcome

Reading material:
Vladimir Paperny – Architecture in the Age of Stalin – Culture Two
Rem Koolhaas – Delirious New York
Moisei Ginzburg – Style and Epoch
This blog:

Owen Hatherley is the author of the acclaimed Militant Modernism, a defense of the modernist movement, and A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain. He writes regularly on the political aesthetics of architecture, urbanism and popular culture for a variety of publications, including Building Design, Frieze, the Guardian and the New Statesman. He blogs on political aesthetics at

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 12:47 am
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