Any science grows in layers. First, a fundamental basis arises that explains and formulates the basic laws of the processes under study. Then research goes in breadth and depth. Capture new areas and at the same time deepen in particular. Ideally, after some time, a clear picture of the whole phenomenon appears, constantly being improved and refined, but based on repeatedly and cross-checked evidence base.
In this sense, the history of Soviet architecture as a single scientific whole does not yet exist. Over the 25 post-Soviet years, even the most general ideas about how and according to what laws the key processes in this area have proceeded have not developed. With a huge amount of local research, the most fundamental problems remain completely unexplored, without the solution of which all particular questions hang in the air.
Fundamental problems can be divided into several principal groups.
- Socio-political analysis of the existence of the architectural profession in different eras. Forms of organization of the architectural profession
- The role of government agencies in the regulation of architectural activities. Control and censorship. Legislation. Copyright. State policy in the field of construction, architecture, housing policy. The state as a customer.
- Public organizations in architecture. Their forms, conditions of existence, circumstances of occurrence and disappearance.
- History of the architectural press.
Evolution of Soviet architectural typology (public buildings, dwellings, service infrastructure).
The evolution of Soviet urban planning
- The history of the key architectural competitions that determined the turns in the history of Soviet architecture.
- The history of interconnections and mutual influences of Soviet and Western architecture.
White spots in the history of Soviet architecture can be enumerated endlessly.
Completely unexplored the processes of formation and evolution of the professional architectural hierarchy in the 20-30s. The reasons for the inclusion and exclusion of individual architects from it are incomprehensible and inexplicable. It is not known who, where and when worked; the mutual subordination and the circumstances of the career development of the leading Soviet architects are unknown; the nature of their cooperation with government agencies and their position in the domestic hierarchy; the relationship between the state career of leading architects and the position, role and activity of the architectural associations to which they belonged.
The history of design organizations in the USSR, private and state, has not been studied.
The history of architectural associations of the 1920s is very superficially known - MAO, OSA, ASNOVA, ARU, VOPRA, etc. It is not clear why some associations were registered, while others did not. The legal forms of their existence and methods of financing, their structures, goals, objectives are unknown; their relationship with the state; the hierarchical position of their leaders in state structures and the influence of this position on the fate of associations; reasons for changing names and organizational forms; the reasons and circumstances of their liquidation and self-liquidation.
Architectural competitions of 20-30-40s have not been studied. It is not known whether these were competitions in the professional sense, or just their formal imitations. It remains to be seen who, how and why organized them, on what legal and financial basis; how and by whom the refereeing was organized; what were the criteria for awarding the prizes; what role did the state play in organizing competitions, awarding prizes and implementing projects.
Not studied and history of creation and functioning of the Union of Soviet Architects of the USSR.
The mechanism of the state architecture management.
The history of the architectural press of the 20-40s has not been studied, the reasons for the emergence and liquidation of certain architectural newspapers and magazines are unknown
Finally, there are no serious complex research into the life and work of individual, even the most famous Soviet architects - Vesnin, Ginzburg, Melnikov, Chernikhov … The reason is obvious - the personal biographies of architects are tightly linked to general cultural and political processes, and the latter are still incomprehensible.
Exploring the biographies of architects should not leave blank spots and unresolved issues. It is imperative to analyze the entire evolution of creativity, explaining its reasons, to identify the personal views of the architect and to distinguish projects corresponding to them from those where the will of the customer or other circumstances affected.
For the Soviet conditions, in which the profession of an architect soon ceased to be free, and the author lost the opportunity to defend and demonstrate his views, a careful analysis of career and duty stations is required. Finding out who obeyed whom, who influenced artistic decisions and why.
Such (obligatory!) Methods of scientific research are used extremely rarely. More often it is considered correct to completely exclude from scientific consideration the social background, circumstances and reasons for the careers of the characters under study. Which drastically reduces the scientific level of research.
Below is an indicative and very short list of scientific topics for master's, master's and doctoral dissertations on key, unexplored issues of the history of Soviet architecture. Their development will allow, finally, to create an interconnected picture of the architectural and historical process of the Soviet era.
- Legal and organizational forms of design organizations of the 20-30s. Evolution of the design system.
- The mechanism of forming an intraprofessional hierarchy in Soviet architecture.
- Design organizations of the 1920s and 1930s and their interaction with the Soviet regime. System for receiving orders and approving projects.
- Formation of the market of architectural and construction firms in the first half - mid 20s. Organizational forms, typology of orders, completed objects.
- The state as a customer of architectural projects in the USSR in the 1920s. Typology of design, performers, nature of financing, construction methods.
- Private architectural activity in the USSR in the 20s. Forms of existence, regulation, interaction with the state, types of customers, causes and mechanism of liquidation.
- Formation and functioning of state censorship in the field of architecture.
- The history of creative groups of the 1920s: the emergence, composition, relationships with the authorities, sources of funding, the evolution of creative attitudes, circumstances of liquidations.
- Architectural and construction activities of the OGPU-NKVD-MGB in the 20-50s.
- Architectural, urban planning and housing legislation of the USSR in the 20s. The history of development.
- The history of competitive design in the USSR in the 20-40-50s. The legislative framework, the mechanism for holding competitions, the formation of the jury, the mechanism for making decisions and distributing orders.
- Copyright in Soviet architecture (as opposed to pre-revolutionary, transformation of content, forms of implementation, state guarantees).
- The history of the emergence, activity and liquidation of the journal "Contemporary Architecture" 1924-1930.
- The history of the emergence, activity and liquidation of the journal "Soviet Architecture" 1930-1934.
- The history of competitions for key and exemplary buildings for Soviet architecture: for the agricultural exhibition in 1923, for the Lenin mausoleum, for the building of the Tsentrosoyuz, for the Dnieper hydroelectric power station, for the Palace of Soviets, for the building of the library. Lenin, to the hotel Moscow, etc.
- The history of the preparation of the failed Moscow congress of SIAM, 1933.
- Activities of foreign architects in the USSR (1926-1932): reasons for invitations, nature of activities, specificity of methodology, role and significance.
- History of the Union of Soviet Architects of the USSR: reasons, circumstances and purpose of creation, functions, historical role.
- Comprehensive studies of the creativity of the largest Soviet architects.
- Evolution of the principles of Soviet urban planning in the 1920s-1950s.
This list can be extended endlessly, to which the author urges the readers.