Category Archives: Historic review

“Alone with stokers feeding the hellish fires of great ships”

[ aware ] of all the adverse, if i may, i want to show the fair of the accepted as the opposite by most. The beauty of audacity in men, of great ideas full of anger to succeed. Lifeful, will powered minds. Exited of work, creativity and struggle — “We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot. We will sing of the multi-colored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modem capitals, we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric motors, greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents, factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon: deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing: and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.” – Futurist Manifesto – “We will glorify war – the world’s only hygiene – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman”. This might be charged with the most ideologically messed up and hair-rising words, yet — so ALIVE. //Excuse me for the long citations, these words are just too invigorating to be left behind//

So let me briefly introduce you the 2oth century beginning Futurist movement. Having its origin in Italy by the very beginning of the 20th century, also captured its place in Russia (even forming its own concept, the RUSSIAN FUTURISM – less militarism, more literature) and in other places. Was shown almost in every medium format (yes, even gastronomy). The founder of the movement and the ‘activator’ of the above mentioned manifesto was F. T. Marinetti, for general knowledge, it happened on February 5, 1909.

No connection to the past they wanted. Erase or ignore. Burn the libraries. No looking back for we have the ever-present speed. It is easy for me to see the place it came from. Despised political and social past, passive white-collars, i wish especially full to the brim with greedy liberals and ‘moneyed elite’. Despised the cult of the mystic and the shady. Holding up both WW1 and WW2 periods, despite the fact that the main ideas were associated with the fascist regime, the Futurist movement included both fascists, socialists and anarchists and such as the Italian form of Fascism often wasn’t true to itself and in my opinion in a constant search for their political belonging. They wanted to be the young and the strong, proud nationalists, exalted speed, industry, exciting aggression and violence, taking very active position, trying to awake in their own way — “Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly!”

"Speed of a Motorcycle" by Giacomo Balla, 1913; Sant'Elia, Boccioni, and Marinetti, 1914; Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution, 1933; Mussolini by Renato Bertelli, 1933

The dynamism of the technology was broadly expressed in paintings. Although the painting style wasn’t developed straight away and borrowed some means of light and forms breakage from CUBISM. Then everything was furiously blended into motion by intense lines, dynamic diagonals, broken surfaces, colorful fusion and disassembled, frozen movement as in long exposure photography. For me, the painting, of all other mediums, shows that the movement representors were a mirror of the horrifying modern reality they had the need to confront with, throwing up their impressions and impressures. Lots of different urban scenes and surrounding reality appear. In particular, notwithstanding arguments against it, reminding me of the 19th century ROMANTICISM perception of life just expressed in a whole dissimilar out loud way.

Tullio Crali (1910-2000)

Futurists in music experimented with machinery sounds, acoustic noises, influenced electronic music and even some of our classics, such as Prokofiev and Stravinsky.

The 'Intonarumori' noise intoners machine by Luigi Russolo, 1913

In architecture, the allegation was to create an efficient and centralized ‘machine’, a ‘living city’, an urban planning of the whole city and not just individual buildings. The absurd was that the city wasn’t supposed lo last and each generation could build their own, of course no allusion of sustainability here. Some very aesthetically interesting projects were created after the end of WW2, unfortunately too consumeristic, leaving social and environmental issues untouched, moreover, approaching to our resources as to an abstract illimitable substance, but this is clearly a separate issue.

The most notable architect associated directly to the Modernist movement was Antonio Sant’Elia. He talked about “heroic industrial expressionism” in architecture, masses and planes organized into ‘Città Nuova’ (“New City”), kind of an organism created of monolithic building, connected with bridges and ‘sky streets’. //related to the “Manifesto of Futurist Architecture” by Antonio Sant’Elia.

Antonio Sant'Elia (from PLATFORMA ARQUITECTURA -

Another example of a Futurist architecture is shown by Vergilio Marchi. //related to the “Manifesto of Dynamic Instinctive Dramatic Futurist Architecture” by Virgilio Marchi.

"Fiat" Lingotto factory by Giacomo Matté-Trucco, built between years 1916-1923

In “Manifesto of Aerial Architecture” by Angiolo Mazzoni the above Lingotto factory was marked as the first futurist building. Having 5 floors, the upper one consisted of a test track for the manufactured cars and was the biggest car factory for that period of time. Definitely comprised a significant industrial sign for the era and influenced urban planning. Angiolo Mazzoni is related to the more functional side of the Futurist movement, in my opinion, accomplished very important and functionally exceptional projects (presenting the Futurist architecture in a very positive way, from this point of view), especially significant to the Fascist regime. Mostly known for his rail-way stations in Italy, he used flowing stream lines and continuous forms as to emphasize dynamics and speed of the Futurist principles. Used relatively modern materials, steel, glass and stone.

Angelio Mazzoni (1894–1979)

There is a wide continuation of the style itself, though the ideals went amiss. So beside the influence of the movement on architecture and in other fields, you can also discover reminders in nowadays transhumanism ideas, science fiction, japanese art works, cyberpunk and more. Thus even if the movement didn’t succeed to surpass the Roman Empire, as its exponents aimed, it surely did leave an imprint on our, as i like to term it, so called, continuous progression, history. In rare situations, the effort is worth the result. As for me, when one or a group ignores this fact — it is enheartening.



[ i feel the need ] to stand for one of the most aesthetically true, nevertheless the most criticized structures before they will be demolished as if they weren’t a part of our, so called continuing progression, history. /illustrations weren’t placed chronologically; in case interested, use them to search up the architects/

Habitat '67 housing complex, part of the Montreal Expo 1967, Canada

‘Beton brut’, fresh, rough and raw concrete slabs and often exposed steel beams turning into a part of the Modernist movement (50’s — 60’s) that shows functionality on its facades and runs ideology in its veins. Although it is to be mentioned that concrete is not the only material that was used, as it may appear from ‘BRUTALISM’ literal meaning. Also you will see: bricks, glass, steel and some stone types. All of these texturally and constructionally exposed while honestly revealing the functions of each space behind the exterior. Trying to find new ways of expression.

Velasca Tower by BBPR, 1954, Milan; Trellick Tower by Erno Goldfinger, London, 1972; Genex Tower by Mihajlo Mitrovic, Belgrade, Serbia, 1980

Challenging, complex yet hardcore clean, large-scale solutions were offered to create a new way of urban, housing, offices and public space planning. As for housing the idea was to raise large apartment complexes isolated in green areas, usually using pilotis. Simple and efficient plans were to combine with good living conditions according to one’s needs. Even if some of the design decisions were later pointed out by some as misestimated and the style had and still is suffering severe criticism, in my opinion it was very important step for positive architecture development. In the preceding sentence — it is me trying to maintain objectivity.

Government service center by Paul Rudolph, Boston USA, 1971; Third Church of Christ by Araldo Cossutta, D.C., 1971; Metro station, D.C.

The discussed introduces you to a reality of abstract urban figures, full of vigour forms, powerful, repetitive masses and shapes compositions. Resembling, but not as slick as the International style. And here i must commemorate Le Corbusier, that was a representative figure in the above mentioned but also made a great influence on Brutalists. Especially if we are talking about the ‘concrete-sculpture’ approach. I see these constructions poetic, unexpected and rhythmically assembled, each shape to another, into enormous and monumental substances. Check this out.

Saint Marie De La Tourette Monastery by Le Corbusier, near Lyon, France, 1960

De La Tourette details

Unite d'Habitation apartments building by Le Corbusier, Marseille, France, 1947-1952

Moreover, having the advantages of quick and economically convenient construction, the one is a true word in the post-WW2 world and in social awareness against capitalism. Originally rising up in England (A&P Smithsons architects), it was a dream to rebuild and to light up the society through architecture. Such as many of the pre and post-war Modernist visions and similarly to Russian CONSTRUCTIVISM in the earlier years — vast dreams, bright ideas. And even if denied romantic relevance by its pioneers words, i can’t think of something more romantic then that. Ask yourselves, why it didn’t work? At this point the inspired smile wears off my face.

Kagawa Prefecture Gynasium by Kenzo Tange, 1964; Dhaka National Assembly by Louis Kahn, Bangladesh, 1982; Geisel Library by William Pereira, San-Diego, California, 1970

As for the aging of these buildings, as usually considered uglifying, from my point of view is a part of its visual individuality. Concerning one of these ‘uglifying’ aspects, constructing buildings that will not allow graffiti is not the solution to the needs of the youth for its creation. It is not a true-to-life answer to the existing problem. Here it will be appropriate to mention that this issue hasn’t been resolved by the contemporary architecture also. In case, of course, one sees it as an issue instead of an urban art. Combination of naked concrete and reality as is — insufferable for the common self-blinded person.

"The Centipede" apartments building by Andrey Meerson, Moscow, 1973

[ you may call it “Cold and inhuman” — ] for sure these adjectives were and remain relevant for our social reality. So lets escape this frustrating fact by means of ‘eye candy trendy’ and super-modern architecture.

Former Transport Ministry by George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania, Tbilisi, Georgia, late 60's; "The Ship" apartments building by Vsevolod Voskresensky, Moscow, 1981