Reveals the history of twentieth-century communist Europe told through its buildings. This is a book about power, and what power does in cities. It is a journey of discovery, plunging us into the maelstrom of socialist architecture.
'In the craven world of architectural criticism Hatherley is that rarest of things- a brave, incisive, elegant and erudite writer, whose books dissect the contemporary built environment to reveal the political fantasies and social realities it embodies' Will Self During the course of the twentieth century, communism took power in Eastern Europe and remade the city in its own image. Ransacking the urban planning of the grand imperial past, it set out to transform everyday life, its sweeping boulevards, epic high-rise and vast housing estates an emphatic declaration of a non-capitalist idea. Now, the regimes that built them are dead and long gone, but from Warsaw to Berlin, Moscow to post-Revolution Kiev, the buildings, their most obvious legacy, remain, populated by people whose lives were scattered and jeopardized by the collapse of communism and the introduction of capitalism. Landscapes of Communism is an intimate history of twentieth-century communist Europe told through its buildings; it is, too, a book about power, and what power does in cities. Most of all, Landscapes of Communism is a revelatory journey of discovery, plunging us into the maelstrom of socialist architecture. As we submerge into the metros, walk the massive, multi-lane magistrale and pause at milk bars in the microrayons, who knows what we might find?
Owen Hatherley is the author of the acclaimed Militant Modernism, a defense of the modernist movement, and A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain. He writes regularly on the political aesthetics of architecture, urbanism and popular culture for a variety of publications, including Building Design, Frieze, Guardian and New Statesman.
Hatherley is the most informed, opinionated and acerbic guide you could wish for. -- Hugh Pearman Sunday Times The latest heir to Ruskin. -- Boyd Tonkin Independent Can one talk yet of vintage Hatherley? Yes, one can. Here are all the properties that have made him one of the most distinctive writers in England - not just 'architectural writers', but writers full stop: acuity, contrariness, observational rigour, frankness and beautifully wrought prose. This is a tempered love letter to eastern Europe and a fullblown love letter to an eastern European woman. I can't think of anything remotely akin -- Jonathan Meades
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