Bronovitskaya A., Malinin N., Palmin Y. «Alma-Ata: A Guide to Soviet Modernist Architecture 1955-1991»

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Architectural historians Anna Bronovitskaya and Nikolay Malinin and photographer Yury Palmin review sixty buildings—from a circus and a market to palaces of culture and residential estates—that represent various substyles of the era that began with the Khrushchev reform and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Drawing on documentation and interviews with Alma-Ata architects, historians, former and current inhabitants, Bronovitskaya and Malinin discuss each building within wider cultural, social, and political contexts. Along with Yury Palmin’s photographs, produced for the publication and which explore the aesthetics of the buildings and their deterioration, the publication contains ample archival material including drawings, perspectives, and old photographs. A guide to the golden age of Kazakhstan’s former capital, Alma-Ata paints a portrait of an international and sophisticated city with a unique character that attracted talented architects and artists from across the Soviet Union.

Today, Alma-Ata could perhaps be called the capital of Soviet modernism. While its former architectural rivals Yerevan, Kiev, Tashkent, and Minsk lost much of their heritage of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s in the decades that followed, Alma-Ata avoided such losses as in 1997 it lost its status of the capital to Astana, which also took on the mission of representing the country architecturally. Alma-Ata has remained a living museum of Soviet modernism where still today you will find a glass library, the first Soviet postmodernist skyscraper, and a dam built by the biggest directed explosion in history.




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