Category: Ex Soviet States

Modernist architecture in Tbilisi

Some photographs from Tbilisi – September 2013. Legendary modernist architecture.

The former Ministry of Highways building – now the headquarters of the Bank of Georgia (since 2011). If only I could have got there a couple of years before I would have seen it derelict. Have a look here for an excellent post on the improbable frontiers blog. This was an absolute nightmare to find and the taxi driver dropped me to the front of the building where I was quizzed by security staff. They ended up letting me take a few shots but only after some negotiation and even then only from outside of the perimeter (unfortunately a motorway).

Bank of Georgia HQ - Tbilisi

The Palace of Weddings

Palace of Weddings - Tbilisi

This was built by the Soviets for ceremonies, but then bought and used as a private mansion by reclusive oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili until his death in 2008. While this was a pain to find, you can get right up to it. I did want to scale that fence and have a proper look but my nerves got the better of me.

Palace of Weddings - Tbilisi


1) For an excellent survey of Soviet Modernist buildings in the former Soviet Union I would recommend Ritter, K. et al (2012) Soviet Modernism 1955-1991: Unknown History. Zurich: Park Books
2) See also Warsza, J. (2013) Ministry of Highways: A guide to the performative architecture of Tbilisi. Berlin: Sternberg Press

Ukraine – March 2012 (1) – Kiev

Photographs from a trip to the Ukraine in March 2012.

Candid taken coming up from a subway
Kiev Subway

Soviet monument – the domed building at the back of the shot was a circus
Soviet Monument, Kiev

Kiev train station. I had to go there for a ticket for Kharkov. Best to go to Hall 1, Booth 8. They speak English there.
Kiev rail station window

Most of the people milling about outside where taxi drivers. Over the course of my trip I got ripped off by most of them, despite my strategy of picking the crappiest looking cars.
Main rail station, Kiev, Ukraine

Soviet interior
Kiev train station

More to follow.

Tallinn TV Tower

From a trip there in 2004. Designed by architects David Baziladze and Juri Sinis, and built for telecommunications for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It was closed to the public from 2007 and then re-opened in 2012, but I am guessing the soviet style interior decor has gone. You can have a look here

Tallinn TV Tower

Scanned from B&W film – Ilford Delta 400 – and taken on and old Manual Fuji SLR.

Ukranian Institute for Scientific Technical and Economic Information

A beautiful piece of Soviet modernism¬†in Kiev, from a trip there in March. This was featured in Chaubin’s ‘Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed’ which you have to own if you are into this sort of thing. I had to hire a driver to find it but well worth the effort.

Architect: Florian Yuriev

Ukranian Institute for Scientific Technical and Economic Information

Building the revolution and the photography of Richard Pare

I went to ‘Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935’ at the Royal Academy of Arts last week. The photographs were taken by Richard Pare. Prior to this, Pare exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art with ‘The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture 1922-1932’.

Shabolovka Radio Tower, photographed by Richard Pare, 1998. Source:
Shabolovka Radio Tower, photographed by Richard Pare, 1998. Source:


I went mainly due to an interest in Soviet and modernist architecture. The exhibition was set out around prints of buildings in the constructivist style, which Pare had tracked down (e.g. Gosprom building- Kharkov, Ukraine). These were often presented alongside technical drawings and blueprints for the original buildings. There were also some sketches there, for example, of designs for propaganda kiosks.

I think I’m right in saying that the project took about ten years for Pare to complete, given complications with gaining access to some of the buildings. In some instances, this involved Pare befriending residents of buildings. In others, for example, gaining access to the Lenin mausoleum, more formal painstaking requests were needed through contacts and the relevant authorities.



  1. Royal Academy РBuilding the revolution
  2. Interview with Richard Pare with BOMB magazine
  3. Pare, Richard, 2007, The Lost Vanguard, Russian Modernist Architecture 1922-1932, New York, The Monacelli Press.
  4. Cohen, Jean-Louis, and Lodder, Christina, Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935, London, Royal Academy of Arts.