Ideal vs. Real

02.02.2012, 15:46
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The second stage of the research process (definition of what is already known) implies that the “Citizens as Customers” studio students are to read a series of lectures to each other. Nastya Sheveleva, for example, made a report on the correlation of the ideal concept of a socialist city declared by the mass media and the historically established reality.

The lecture consisted of four parts, each describing a specific set of examples that compared the ideal concepts with their real implementations.


1. Experimental spaces in the microrayons.

“No entry for Cars!”

One of the main ideas of the microrayon was to make a car-free space. All the infrastructure objects were to be in a pedestrian area, and underground parking lots were to be built for car owners. However, the concept was not implemented in full. A similar fate befell other interesting ideas, like constructing of two-floor apartments in panel houses.

2. Design strategies

“Like Twins!”

Following Khrushchev’s speech at the All-USSR Builder Conference and the decision “On the Wide Adoption of Industrial Methods, Quality Improvement and Building Cost Reduction”, new design strategies were developed. They were based mainly on standardization. Eventually, many architects criticized that unification. They pointed out that urban planning projects frequently conformed neither to the specifics of the district, nor to the landscape and climate patterns, and did not allow the usage of a number of construction materials. As a result, both builders and new tenants experienced a lot of considerable inconveniences.

3. Interior

“Beaty — Into Everyday Life!”

Following the death of Stalin, even the interiors of new apartments bore the mark of Khrushchev implementing his de-stalinization policy. With the help of mass media, books and all-nation exhibitions, the state cultivated good taste in Soviet people. Nothing Excessive!“New Furniture for New Apartments!” — these are the slogans of the period. However, the reality made its corrections: either new pieces of furniture were impossible to find or they were too expensive despite the efforts of the state to make them cheap and available.

4. Public Catering — “Obshchepit”.

“Whether You Want or Not — Take the Cocoa”.

The state planned to make eating out widespread, convenient and affordable to such an extent that it would mostly free people from cooking food themselves. According to this idea, the Khrushchev period saw the design of unbelievably small kitchens in the houses. Yet, these small kitchens are still present in our lives, while all the other attempts to implement the idea proved to be unsuccessful. The choice of meals in gastronomy shops and cafes was very limited, and lunches and dinners offered by family canteens never became affordable.