02.11.2012, 08:35
posted in

Between 31 October and 4 November, the Strelka Institute is presenting its publications at the Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair. This year marks the sixth occasion on which Russia’s leading regional literature fair has been held. The Fair has shown itself to be a good means of promoting Moscow-based publications and new reading formats in Russia’s provincial regions.

Photographing Sao Paulo from the car (look at them on your iPad)

31.08.2012, 19:13
posted in

Photographer Thelma Vilas Boas and Justin McGuirk, author of Edge City, met by chance in São Paulo, and so Thelma ended up shooting from the car that Roberto Somlo and Justin drove around the city.

Here’s a selection of her photos from the drive, just in time for the launch of Strelka Press on colourful iPad screens (if you had a problem with Amazon’s death-grip on book retailers, now you can read us through friendly, non-monopolistic Apple Inc.)

Dzerzhinskaya over the years

29.08.2012, 02:10
posted in

Kharkiv’s largest plaza was designed by Viktor Trotsenko and constructed between 1929-1934. Renamed Freedom plaza (Ploshchad Svobody) in 1996, it is one of the giant squares visited by Owen Hatherley in Across the plaza:

“Gosprom – its typically Bolshevik acronym is a contraction of ‘House of State Industry’ –was the result of a competition proposed by Polish Soviet Commissar and former head of the Cheka, Felix Dzherzhinsky, to give the city a governmental complex befitting the capital of Ukraine. For this is what Kharkov was at the time – as an industrial, loyally Bolshevik city, it had gained preferment over untrustworthy, nationalist Kiev. Since Kharkov lacked the buildings to serve as a capital of any kind, this square’s inception was designed to beef up this provincial town, to make it into a modern, Soviet and bureaucratic centre. Gosprom had of necessity, then, to look like the central building of a capital city, the sort of centrifugal Stadtkrone that dreamers such as Bruno Taut had speculated about, and to incarnate some sort of specifically Soviet and socialist value system, as opposed to Kiev’s eclecticism and neoclassicism. The chosen site was an area of unused land – a tabula rasa – around Kharkov University. The outline plan for the square, which had Dzherzhinsky’s support, was designed in 1925 by the young architect Viktor Trotsenko, and combined the axial symmetries expected of a prominent government building with something more avant-garde.”

Ring-roads of the world 1.1

06.08.2012, 20:54
posted in

In 2009, Thumb graphic design made a poster for the Rice School of Architecture showing how the world’s ring-roads compare in scale.

São Paulo, the subject of Justin McGuirk’s book Edge City, was missing. But no more.

Briefly obsessed with a Chinese bar

18.07.2012, 16:30
posted in

Julia Lovell has a nice image at the beginning of her book on power and architecture in China; she describes western journalists’ endless nights waiting in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club bar for the China Central Television towers to meet.

«That November, the city was buzzing with rumours that any day now the towers – two black, diamond-patterned chopsticks tilting unsteadily towards each other through the smog – would be joined. Enhancing the mysticism of the event, the project’s engineers (the high-priests of this architectural cult) had decreed that the connection had to be made at dawn, to ensure the equal temperature of both sides. Obsessed bloggers and amateur photographers stalked the building in both the virtual and real worlds; journalists eked out their nights at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club bar, listening for tip-offs that the dawn to come would be the dawn.»

I wanted to find out more about this FCC bar. It sounds like a good time.

Press review

14.07.2012, 16:28
posted in

We launched in Moscow one month ago and in London two weeks later, and since then several publications have run pieces about Strelka Press. Here’s a quick round up.

Alexandra Lange published an in-depth interview in Design Observer and admits that part of the appeal of publishing with us was proving she could write more than 1,200 words. Dezeen posted a video interview of Justin and there were interviews on Russia Today and Monocle radio, too, but they don’t seem to be online.

It’s Nice That, Wallpaper, Dan Hill, Sam Jacob, Owen Hatherley (in what may have been his last blog post, stay tuned), Wanderlust, and Creative Inspiration reported the launch. And Creative Review included it in their piece on OK-RMs rebanding of Strelka Institute.

Translating Urbanism into Russian

22.06.2012, 16:23
posted in ,

Some hasty notes from a conversation between Sergei Sitar, Kirill Asse, Anastassia Smirnova, and Kuba Snopek at the Moscow International Open Book Fair, inside Alexander Brodsky’s pavilion for Strelka. The topic was the challenge of translating ideas and terms conceived in an English-speaking context into Russian.

Sergei: The cultural context is very important. You have to transplant a text into a new culture and fertilize it. And though architectural discourse in Russia is almost in its childhood, it isn’t fair to consider the situation a one-way importation of Western ideas. We don’t know our history very well, like there’s a tendency to historical amnesia. For example, you can often find “new” terms in historical Russian sources.

Anastassia: But there are many important books that are known internationally only in their English version, regardless of the quality of the translation.

Keller Eastering, Sam Jacob, and Justin McGuirk

19.06.2012, 16:23
posted in

Two authors of Strelka Press’s inaugural crop of titles, Sam Jacob and Keller Easterling, spoke with director Justin McGuirk in Moscow about ebooks and what it’s like writing for new formats. The following are a few highlights from the conversation.


It began with a discussion of how Keller saw the Strelka project as an opportunity that she doesn’t get with her academic writing. Her essay (The Action Is the Form. Victor Hugo’s TED Talk) parodies TED talks and New Yorker articles and the devices they use to hook an audience – and there’s a tension between her wanting to lampoon those and wanting to emulate them.

Strelka’s First Books

14.06.2012, 16:22
posted in

Strelka Press launched this week inside Alexander Brodsky’s pavilion at the Moscow International Open Book Fair with a talk by publishing director Justin McGuirk. Next, it launches in London.


Strelka Institute at Open Book Festival. Conversations about Moscow

12.06.2012, 16:22
posted in

What lies at the core of a city that is rich and comfortable for its residents and visitors is not only a variety of functions, but also a variety of meanings, and a low level of this kind of variety presents an insurmountable obstacle for urban development. How do we view the city? As pedestrians or as drivers? As Muscovites or visitors? To what extent is our perception of Moscow predetermined by our professions, education, interests and the habitual travel routes we follow? On the fourth fay (June 12) of Strelka Institute’s programme at the Open Moscow Book Festival, we’ll have a series of “kitchen table” conversations about Moscow – we’ll try to get a handle on how Muscovites, Petersburgers, designers and poets perceive it.

12 pm. Conversations about Moscow: Muscovites. Discussion with Evgeny Pischikov, Alena Solntseva, Aleksei Levinson and Alexander Mozhaev.